09 Feb 2014

When you wonder if you’re qualified for ministry

Don’t tell me you don’t make a difference. Don’t tell me that your life is small; that the sun sets and rises on the same day in and day out and that you don’t make a difference.

I don’t want to hear that.

Don’t tell me that Pulpits are only found in churches and speeches only come from stages. Don’t tell me that microphones are necessary to be heard.

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Don’t for a second succumb to the bald-faced lie whispered sneaky sneaky sometimes only inside of our own heads that ministry begins and ends with serious theology instead of Cheerios-encrusted carpets.

Don’t tell me that Cheerios, diapers, laundry, and dishes aren’t serious theology.

Don’t tell me that Gospel doesn’t sound like a working mother who rises while it is still dark to provide for her family.

I don’t believe that we are playing make-believe when we dress-up our daughters in all the courage and conviction to last a lifetime of love stories found first, middle, and last in the pages of the only good book that ever mattered.

Don’t tell me that all the hours sown into sons between soccer practice and football matches, between trouble-makers and nay-sayers, doubters, pouters and bullies isn’t wild obedience; heartbreaking missions.

Don’t tell me that you aren’t in ministry.

Don’t for a single second think it somehow takes a passport to save lives.

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Don’t tell me that holy dirt beneath the fingernails doesn’t look like blog posts, carpool, science projects, teaching Sunday school. Don’t put a box around my calling, my audience, my seven days a week of holy Sundays breaking the bread and spilling the bloody sweat of serving out the determination to like my kids and not just love them right there in the discount aisle of my local grocery store.

To mother them and not just to maintain them.

To offer my life, my foolishness, my lessons learned and failed –so many broken bits and pieces of sustenance for my sisters who do this daily holy collecting of manna waking up every Monday to ask God all over again what is it?

What is it that makes sense of my sleepless nights and my long days?

What is it that keeps me getting up again and again and again for that one last glass of water that never ends over and over year and year in and out again?

What is it that makes me think I can make it through another baby, another round of awkward questions from strangers, another daycare drop off, another night of feeling like I left half of the day undone?

Don’t tell me I need a platform to be seen when there are three sets of eyes looking back at me.

Don’t measure my meaning in stats; don’t count my contribution with your calculator.

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Because God has already credited our faith as righteousness. Me in the bathrobe at midnight with the undone dishes and raging fiery passion to encourage mothers who are too often, too terribly, too embarrassedly convinced that they don’t count.

You with the patience and the paste that keeps gluing your family back together again.

Don’t tell me we can’t leave the back door open for that misunderstood word, “ministry,” to come quietly in.

Along with the neighbor’s kids.

All the dirt in the back yard.

And Jesus.

 

Comments

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  1. 1

    YES! This is why I love the way you champion for truth and grace and beauty in all the ways God’s made and equipped us for glory.

  2. 2

    You are making a difference. Thank you!! Please keep writing! Praise God for your ministry!! (And mine. :) )

  3. 3

    So glad I checked in on twitter real quick before shutting down my computer and my weary eyes. Just typed a long blog post for the morning…and then see this. Perfectly said. Love your heart and your words. Thanks for pouring into other mothers what pours out of you. Jesus. As I believe He would be talking to me if here. Now. xoxo- Meredith

  4. 4

    Um. Thank you!

    This: “Don’t tell me I can’t leave the back door open for that misunderstood word, “ministry,” to come quietly in.” This is where revival happens, or at least where it begins.

    Thanks. My heart needed this tonight. xoxox

  5. 5

    Lisa-Jo, I feel sure God gave you this sentence for me to read today.

    “Don’t for a single second think it somehow takes a passport to save lives.”

    I am re-listening to Jen Hatmaker’s talk from last night right now. Through a series of God workings, it was through her that I found out about the IF:Gathering. I love her words and her heart. But last night I had to sit down and write to clear my head because Satan was trying to use her beautiful words to tell me that my burden is not important. That she is doing real kingdom work. That I can’t lead the next generation of women to serve if I have never left the country or adopted Ethiopians children. As Satan was shouting at me last night I missed some of the really important words she said. I missed her telling us that our burden will not look like hers, that we each must play our own note. I’m listening to it again with clear ears and a heart that knows the truth.

    Thank you for saying exactly the words I needed to hear tonight.

  6. 6

    Thank you for writing the truth out loud! I’m mama to 3 under 3- two, one & five-months. Today was hard. My teammate & I were not on the same page, the babe is teething painfully & my strong willed girls turned a few more of my roots white :) i needed this encouragement to brave another week & to continue some encouraging of my own! Hugs, sweet Mama!

  7. 7

    Several years ago Inwas at a women’s retreat. We were praying to hear God’s call for us. ‘Ministry’ is the only answer I heard, no matter how hard I prayed. Or how many times I answered back ‘No!’
    I understood ministry very literally, in the mission field or or from the pulpit
    No way God, that’s not me. I can’t do that, I think you’ve picked the wrong person.
    I struggled with it for several weeks and then talked to my friend Dan about the struggle I was having with what I thought God was calling me to do.
    Dan laughed, and then told me I was already answering God’s calling. Leading Youth Group- that’s ministry
    Volunteering at the soup kitchen- that’s ministry
    Helping others- ministry
    Loving others- ministry
    Raising my children in the church- ministry
    It totally changed my view of ministry, and how I carry it out in my every day life.

  8. 8

    Whoa! This is going in my “greatest prose of all time “cabinet in my mind.

    Incredible post.

  9. 9

    You nailed it, Lisa Jo. This is a ministry, this constant mothering and endeavoring to love our children the way Christ loves us, dirty dishes and all. Thank you for championing it with the words we need!

  10. 10

    You make the best cheerleader. Thank you, Lisa Jo. Today, these words make a huge difference and my heart is softened yet again toward my microscopic mission field.

  11. 11

    Sweet manna for my fractured heart…Thank you Lisa-Jo.
    How you bless me.

  12. 12

    Oh yes! YES!! YES!!! YES!!!! Just stood up and cheered in my office. Christ in me, means my life is my ministry.

  13. 13

    Yes, yes, yes, yes!!! Incredibly, this is what poured from my soul as I left the IF:Gathering on Saturday. As Jen would definitely say, “Nailed. It.” :)

  14. 14

    I have read this three times since midnight. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My heart aches to be apart of God’s big plan. Time and time again he shows me that I am already entrenched. I truly believe I have a calling, but I have yet to understand it. Thank you for these words: “Don’t put a box around my calling, my audience, my seven days a week of holy Sundays breaking the bread and spilling the bloody sweat of serving out the determination to like my kids and not just love them right there in the discount aisle of my local grocery store. To mother them and not just to maintain them.”

  15. 15

    Thank you. I needed that. Today, I will minister to my kids. Thank you.

  16. 16

    Coming off a weekend of listening to a livestream of the IF Gathering, you just ministered to my own wild heart with this one line: “Don’t for a single second think it somehow takes a passport to save lives.”.

    Thank you Lisa-Jo.

  17. 17

    I love you. I love the consistent, loving, encouraging, amazing, shining-so-brightly, overcoming, championing, keepin’-it-real, Mama/Wife/Daughter/Sister/friend you. (and that is all.)

  18. 18

    Needed post this was for me, especially after “IF”. I have always struggled with feelings of smallness in my calling as a wife/mom/homeschooler. I have always longed for something “GREAT” in God’s Kingdom, some place of signficance, as defined by wordly standards. That stage, microphone, an audience other than my 3 children. But then, what am I communicating about the value of their souls when I feel this way?

    Thank you for your faithfulness to encourage other mommas like me, who was actually up at midnight last night in her robe with a 100.8 fever making sure her sick girlie laying in bed beside her was staying hydrated.

  19. 19

    Yes! What we do matters. Our sweet children are the future blessings to God. It only takes one generation – just one! Every.single.mom pouring out and serving is a beautiful megaphone for GOD!

  20. 20

    Yes!!! lady, I love this. I love it because I think it’s truth, desperately needed truth. THANK YOU. it was a great joy to see you! Love you much!

  21. 21

    :) thanks for this.

  22. 22

    So true! I find that in my “official” role of women’s ministry coordinator, the crazy mom stories and the faithful wife stories and the kind sister in Christ stories are the ones I use to minister. Do the work ladies!

  23. 23
    AineMistig says:

    A-MEN.

    A friend of mine had a situation she encountered over the weekend, and I was really struck by it, and this piece is making me think of her.
    She was at her local, small mall and ordered lunch at a privately owned business. When she was done, she grabbed a rather large stack of napkins for her and her toddler. On her way to a table, the owner called out to her, began belittling and swearing at her (in front of her toddler) for taking too many napkins. She’s never been the mousy type, and along with “giving him more than a piece of her mind,” she demanded her money back. And he gave it to her. Maybe that was because of the spectacle he started, but I wonder how many people in the mall — along with her son — got to see how easy it truly is to stand up to a bully that day. I know it was a stressful situation, but just for standing up for what was right, regardless of how gracefully or ungracefully done, I know she encouraged a lot of people that day.

    You’re absolutely right. Motherhood should come with a cape!

  24. 24

    Thank you – from the bottom of my tired, worn-out soul, thank you. I needed this desperately today.

  25. 25

    Oh, but this sings beautifully, Lisa-Jo. It is your tailor-made mama encouragement at its finest. And when I read this phrase here – “To mother them and not just to maintain them” – I get down on my knees and make this my prayer.

    Beautiful post, friend. I just love you. xo

  26. 26
    Sarah Whitworth says:

    Yes and yes and yes! As I stand at the almost end of this ministry with a high school daughter and a college son, yes is all I can say. This morning I received an email from the college student with new and fresh insights he is gaining. And so I want to encourage those in the middle of juice boxes and preschool pick-up lines to minister on! It is so worth your mothering that is beyond maintaining! Thank you so much for sharing this ministry job description. This. is. it!!

  27. 27

    This… This I just love it! You put words for exactly how I feel and I am so grateful for it! Thanks love it especially coming off the heals of IF (which I loved, and love to see this voice) Thanks!

  28. 28

    I’ve recently discovered your blog through Rachel at Hands Free Mama. Thank you Lisa-Jo for your amazing encouragement. A friend of mine has just joint published a book all about your subject here… ‘Ordinary Mum, Extraordinary Mission’. It’s brilliant!

  29. 29

    Dear Lisa:

    Thank you for your words of encouragement. Your words reasonate with me, even though I am not a stay at home mom. I am a stay at home wife, married to a missionary, and looking for ministry. I recognized it is in everything we do, and live. Sometimes I just need to hear words of encouragement. Thanks for blessing me today.
    Connie
    sanctuaryholyhill@blogspot.com

  30. 30

    Love this! Thanks for the encouragement tonight! :)

  31. 31

    I didn’t read this until just now, but it’s been in my mind for a couple of weeks now. Thanks for your passion!
    http://compassiontea.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/napkins/

Trackbacks

  1. […] that your routine of Cheerios and dishes, car pool, cubicles, commuter traffic and laundry distance you from ministry. From being a change maker. A loud speaker hailer. A faith trail […]

  2. […] When you wonder if you’re qualified for ministry by Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  3. […] When you wonder if you’re qualified for ministry: Don’t tell me that holy dirt beneath the fingernails doesn’t look like blog posts, carpool, science projects, teaching Sunday school. Don’t put a box around my calling, my audience, my seven days a week of holy Sundays breaking the bread and spilling the bloody sweat of serving out the determination to like my kids and not just love them right there in the discount aisle of my local grocery store. (Lisa-Jo Baker) […]

  4. […] When you wonder if you're qualified for ministry @ Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  5. […] Don’t tell me that you’re not in ministry. […]

  6. […] is beauty in the diligent life lived fully present right in your own neighborhood. There is ministry that sneaks in the back door along with the neighbor’s kids and all the mud in the […]

  7. […] When You Wonder If You’re Qualified For Ministry –> Lisa-Jo Baker […]

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