Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Young Mom's Plea: I Can't Do it All, All of the Time

Recently, a number of people have said to me that they don’t want to work with kids at church or a Bible study because 1) they don’t have children, so why should they have to watch someone else’s kids, or 2) their children are grown and they’ve already paid their dues.
This irks me to no end.  I am a mom of young children, in the middle of the busiest time of my life.  Before I had kids, I worked with children all the time.  I figured I was giving some busy mom a much needed break so she could fellowship with others.  I also figured, that when my time came for having kids, I would be able to have the same courtesy of someone else watching them for a few hours so I could be refreshed through Bible study and worship.
However, I’ve come to find, it’s not like that at all.  I was appalled the first time a lady told me she didn’t want to spend a few hours in the kids’ ministry because “My kids are grown, I’ve already paid my dues.  Why would I want to go back to that?”  I wondered if she even remembered what it was like to be in the trenches of life with little kids.  Don’t you remember how exhausted you were?  Wouldn’t you have loved for someone to watch your kids for a few hours so you could spend time with other women?  Didn’t you need a break every now and again?

Since that discussion, two other women have said as much to me.  Here’s what I have to say to you:
I am constantly with my children or other people’s children.  I work in the children’s ministry at church because no one else will.  I have sat in the sanctuary two times in three months; when I wasn’t back with the children, I was at home with my sick kids.  Before I had kids, I worked in the children’s ministry to pay it forward.  When my kids are older, I plan on working in the children’s ministry to pay it back.  I wish I could work less in the children’s ministry now so that I can concentrate on raising my children.  It is tiring, exhausting, emotionally draining work to be with my kids constantly, much less ten additional kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids, and I love working with them…just right now, it is too much.  Right now, I need help.
Sometimes, we go to where God calls us, but other times, we are called to where God places us.  
I was placed in the children’s ministry at my church.  I really do love working with the kids.  These children are going to be the face of the world in a few years.  They need older role models who are mature and loving Christians.  You who have already raised your children, do you think you did a horrible job?  Or do you think you could impart some of that wisdom you learned in raising your own children to my kids for a few hours a week?  I am still in the trenches, I need leadership from someone who has “retired from the war”, so to speak.  If you aren’t willing to do it, who will?
If you don’t want to be in the children’s ministry, fine.  But please don’t give me some flippant remark about having already paid your dues.  When you say that, you make me feel totally abandoned and worthless.  Like my kids aren’t worth your time.  That you couldn’t care less about my weariness.  Undervalued and alone.  I feel like you are attacking who I am to the core and blaming me for wanting a small break to get some adult fellowship.
As Christians, we are called to serve one another, to do good to all, especially to those of the household of faith.  Next time someone asks if you are willing to work with the children for a few hours, instead of giving some smart-aleck remark, be gracious and say you’ll think and pray about it.  Then think and pray about it.  You never know where the Lord will lead you.  If you feel that children’s ministry is not the place for you, say so, honestly.  And then find another place to serve the body of Christ.