Being a mommy in ministry is not for the faint of heart! For the last seven years I’ve been at church before 8:00 am every Sunday morning. Having a 6 and 8 year old currently, that means that I have bundled up babies and toddlers for the majority of those years to come with me at the crack of dawn.
- I will admit to pre-dressing my kids the night before in an attempt to make Sundays a bit easier.
- I’ll also admit to stealing potato chips from the youth snack stash in order to feed my kids breakfast on occasion.
- I’ve brushed their hair and teeth in the church bathroom on mornings when they just couldn’t handle it any earlier.
- Once when Delaney had a fever, I brought a bean bag and let her sleep it off in the back room where nobody could bother her.
- My kids have both attended TIny Town in their pajamas.
The best thing about my life is that I’m not alone. There are MANY women in our church that I have rubbed shoulders with for years who have faithfully shaken their kids awake way too early to serve at God’s house. By the time you see these moms, they are well dressed, makeup on, kids in order, and doing polished ministry. I get to see the other side of their lives when they are doing their makeup after worship practice and putting on their kids clothes just before the front doors open for church. Some of our musicians have admitted to having their child’s bodily fluids on their clothes, hidden discreetly behind their instruments. We laugh together at the reality of moms in ministry and sometimes lament our difficult tasks.
But there’s another interesting facet that I am watching from the gift of longevity….these kids that have literally been drug into our church before the sun comes up are simply amazing. We are about to have our first graduate from our group of church planter’s kids and we have every age of child from 18 on down…and the depth of their character is inspiring.
- They competently manage and lead from a very young age.
- The older kids help to take care of the younger as if they are siblings…and the young ones look up to the older ones with awe.
- These kids know worship songs to the core of their being because they have been running and dancing through worship practice for years.
- They LOVE ministry and are good at it. It’s in their second nature to minister and to serve.
- They are not afraid of risk and challenge. They have lived lives of faith as long as they can remember.
- They are not bitter about coming to church (although they all wish it started later!).
It is for all of these reasons and more that I don’t feel bad when I see a nursing mommy, with arms loaded, making her way into church early on a Sunday morning. I just simply smile with understanding and make sure there’s a cup of coffee to put in her hands. I also grab one of her kids and put them to work somewhere. After all, I know that she’s not there for her own glory, but because she believes that God will use her example to mold and shape her child.
So, here’s to the Secret Tribe of Mommies in Ministry. I have seen your tired eyes, disheveled hair, and rumpled clothes. I’ve watched you balance too much and feel the stress of commitment. I know you think you’re nuts sometimes for trying to do ministry with a toddler by your side. But always remember, there’s a tribe of mommies on your side, too.