I was told, before I was a mother, that to be a mother, was to spend your life on your children. That life revolves around them, through them, for them. That being a mum is a ministry of the highest form. That when you have kids your job, ministry, life and all becomes about raising them.
My experience of being a mum is more varied, more emotional, more painful, and more brilliant than I expected. My girls are two of are the funniest, wittiest, creative, beautiful people I know. They make me laugh more than anyone else and they make me cry more than any other anyone else. I love being a mum.
But I have struggled with the idea that my primary and majority role/identity/meaning for life, is as ‘mum’. In one of my lectures this weekend the lecturer talked about the idea that not only is it possible, but even Biblical, to find a healthy balance between raising children and being involved with a ministry. While I had seen this modelled, I had never heard anyone teach this specifically, particularly in reference to being a woman.
This taps into so many issues: women in leadership, identity, priorities, social and personal expectations.
There is a lot to think about.
This concept did two things for me: it whispered freedom and shouted confusion.
The idea that I can be a mum, a good mum, and also find a way to respond to the things in my heart that I believe God has birthed and grown, is startling and revolutionary. To a large degree I had resigned myself to being on the periphery at my most involved. But what if there was more?
For so long my identity was tied up in ministry and what I did in under the banner of ‘serving the church’. And I have spent a long time and travelled a lengthy distance to discover who I am apart from what I ‘do’. And now all of this needs to be addressed in light of the idea that pursuing the ‘God things’ in balance with the stage of life I find myself in (ie. being a mum) is possible and ok.
This, I am sure, is going to be an ongoing dialogue…. (and now back to listening to my lecturer…!)