Seasons come and go with time. At the beginning of the year I enjoy wearing scarves and cuddling under a blanket with a warm mug of hot cocoa. After that I embrace flowers and spring cleaning. Then comes the Mississippi summer heat where I treat myself to an icy Sonic drink almost daily. At last comes the picturesque trees and pumpkin (everything) lattes. With contentment, I often celebrate the present season and enjoy its uniqueness, while also anticipating the gifts of the next season.
Life also comes in seasons. At one time I was an infant. For a long time I was a student. I was born again in God’s time (by his grace). I was a college athlete for too short a time. I was a part time teacher for a few hours a day and a researcher for many hours in a week. I was single for what seemed too long at the time, and I married after meeting the love of my life at just the right time. At this point in time, I am a mother wrestling with how to be a church member.
Before I gave birth to my daughter, I served in the church, anticipated weekly gatherings, fellowshipped with other members often and loved every minute of it. That season of ministry took place mainly outside of the home. Today, as a mother, I love every minute of baby giggles, swirly airplane spoons, and midnight cuddles. I attribute, however, the hardest part of motherhood (so far) to learning my role as a church member and a mom.
Instead of eagerly waiting to leave for Sunday worship, I anxiously wonder if I’ve gotten everything done to properly prepare us for a family worship with no distractions. No longer do I calmly prepare my heart for the church service, but now I scatter frantically to and fro trying to get us out the door, like a squirrel trying not to get hit by a car. No longer do I fill up the calendar with door to door evangelism or daily fellowship with other members. This season’s ministry happens most of the time in the home. Although it’s hard for moms to be faithful members of the church in terms of service, it’s a good thing to desire to hear God’s Word alongside God’s people each week. As with the seasons of the year, we should be patient enough to cherish the season we are in, because we know it’ll soon pass and another good one will come.
I fantasize church membership a certain way—a role of constant service and restful corporate worship. According to my fantasy, I fail now that I’m a mom. I want the church to be a place where I run myself dry, where I find comfort away from the chaos, quiet away from the noise, or peace away from the busyness. When I go, I don’t find that. Thus, I find it easier to stay home to prevent crushed hopes, while believing the lie that it’s better for my soul. After all, I can’t serve when my hands are full, and I can’t listen well when I’m shushing a baby.
But, through Christ, I can serve my church in prayer and with hospitality by helping my husband and teaching my children (Phil.4:13). I can, with the power of the Holy Spirit, find comfort in the chaos of full hands, quietness in my soul in the middle of baby noises, and peace in tuning my ears to hear God’s Word, while caring for my child (Ps. 131:2, Phil. 4:7). God gives us the grace to serve and the privilege to feast on him however possible, and however able, as a church member and a mom.
Something I realize as a new mom is this may be the season I ask for help more than I offer help–or at least in the way I used to serve.