At 24 weeks pregnant, the doctor put me on strict bed rest. I couldn’t go to the grocery store or cook with what we already had. I couldn’t pick up my little girl when she cried. I couldn’t walk to the mailbox. I couldn’t sweep up spilled Cheerios. I couldn’t make the bed. I couldn’t help my family in the ways I was used to.
On bed rest, I couldn’t do anything—except care for one thing. I could care for the baby in my womb. That was it. To get anything else done meant others had to do it for me. To protect the baby meant the same. I didn’t want to ask. I didn’t want to lay around. But the life of our family’s newest addition relied on it. Either I asked them to help me with necessary things, which was basically everything, or I put my baby at risk.
Serving the Church
Most of us look at our church and ask how we can physically serve. We want to be involved. We want to do meaningful work. But sometimes moms need to receive service too. Perhaps we aren’t capable to serve—or not in the same capacity of our fellow members. We may have a disability or a child with one. Maybe we recently came home with a newborn baby or we’re on bed rest. For many reasons, serving the body, in an ever-present and physical way, becomes less frequent. Receiving the service, however, becomes more recurring. We become one of the ones who needs help.
The truth is, we can serve in other meaningful ways. We can labor in prayer, write letters, or send a carryout meal for those in need. We do this for the ones who need encouragement and assistance in whatever way we can. In the same way members receive our service, we must willingly receive theirs.
Certain seasons or life circumstances require members to serve us. Galatians 5:14 says, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Paul, who is talking to a group of legalists, encourages humility. If they want to fulfill the law, then they should love and serve their brothers and sisters! When we allow fellow members to love us by bearing our burdens, we help fulfill the law of Christ.
Letting Others Bear Our Burdens
Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” God didn’t purpose us to bear our burdens alone. We can’t look at the church and say, “I have no need of you.” It’s true that having Christ, the all-sufficient one, proves enough for us. He makes our life complete. Yet God designed Christian community in the context of the local church. He links arms and feet and eyes—individual members who need each other to make up the whole body.
Our culture celebrates self-sufficiency—the belief we don’t need anyone to make it in this life. But as Christians, we know we do. God sent his Son to rescue us from our inability to obey him fully. We put our faith in Christ, knowing we couldn’t make it on our own, knowing we couldn’t save ourselves. We trust him to bear our burdens. Likewise, we lean on other members when we need help. And if the sin of pride in wanting to be self-reliant remains in us, may we let our spirit-filled brother or sister restore us. In doing so, we glorify God by displaying his gospel to the world. By our love and service for one another, we show God’s sacrificial and loving relationship with his children.
Making Much of God in Our Weaknesses
As Christian moms, we understand our weaknesses. Yet God doesn’t guarantee an end to our weaknesses on earth. He didn’t end Paul’s thorn in the flesh, even when Paul pleaded with him three times.
God wills our weaknesses and strengthens us through Christ. Like Paul experienced, this doesn’t always mean he gives us our physical health back or changes our circumstances, but it does mean he strengthens our souls and continues to work in and through us.
When we need others to serve us, we see the strength of Christ working in and through the ones who faithfully do it. When we accept help, it allows others to serve God, by serving us, and exemplify Christ who willingly laid down his life for his brethren.
Looking to Our Future Hope
Our current circumstance may inhibit us from serving the church in all the ways we desire. We may find it hard to see past the endless cycle of bed rest and labor and all that accompanies raising our precious children, but one day God will put an end to our difficulties. He will glorify us with his Son and cause us to worship him with pure hearts and new bodies. Let us serve and be served by the church, for Galatians 6:9-10 says, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Jennifer Brogdon is a stay at home wife and mom who currently works as an intern for The Gospel Coalition's TGC Courses. She enjoys reading, writing, running, and traveling the world. Jennifer writes for publications such as Desiring God, Unlocking The Bible, and her personal blog. She and her husband Shane attend Grace Community Church in Jackson, MS.