I came across a story recently that I passed along to my wife, so I thought I’d share it with all of you to encourage the stay-at-home moms of our church.
“My friend Jaime is a mom in our church who loves Jesus radically and has five of the most adorable kids I’ve ever met. She says she used to feel guilty when she heard this parable [Matthew 25:34-40]: she spent so much time caring for her children she didn’t feel there was time left to do the things she thought Jesus was talking about, like feeding the homeless at a soup kitchen.
She was afraid her family was a distraction from God’s calling to care for the vulnerable.
Then one day, Jaime had the realization: her kids came bouncing into the kitchen saying, “Mom, we’re hungry! Can you make us something to eat?” She suddenly heard the voice of Jesus, crying out to her through her kids; if she didn’t feed them, who would? Who else would clothe them from the cold or comfort them in their loneliness?
They were the vulnerable ones in her life; Jesus looked up to her through their faces.
She began to experience the presence of Jesus while caring for her children. She heard Him in their voices, asking, “When I’m hungry, will you feed me? When I’m thirsty, will you give me something to drink? When I’m cold, will you clothe me? When I’m sick, will you take care of me? When I’m lonely, will you comfort me?”
As a stay-at-home mom, my wife struggles similarly in that many days the boys can be pretty tiring. They are the joy of her life, but when Owen asks “But why” for the 87th time that day, and Max dumps the dogs’ water dish on the floor so he can jump in the puddle like Peppa Pig, the phone call to me for sympathy is not always the most cheerful. Add that to the exhaustiveness of pregnancy, and there’s not much else she can do throughout the day, other than care for our kids. Her heart longs to do more, to be at more church functions, to serve the needy in the community, but there’s little left in the tank for these things (nor would I push her to do more).
My encouragement to her, and to others like her, is that God has her right where He wants her. There’s no one else in the world who can care for our children like she can, and doing her job well means honoring and serving Jesus. Our children are so young and vulnerable, that their very lives depend on the loving care of my wife.
There is a caveat to this though; just because this is the season that she lives in now, this doesn’t give her a free pass later in life when she has more time to care for the vulnerable in our church and in society. In Matthew 25, I don’t think Jesus was talking about a specific number of tasks that we check off to be in the “sheep” category. I believe He was sharing a lifestyle that overflows from a Spirit-filled heart in which a person continually seeks out and cares for the vulnerable within the church and outside of it.
That being said, care and love for children and those with similar needs may be the most undervalued role in society. I believe it deserves great respect, and I’m thankful to my wife for her heart in faithfully caring for the least of these in my family.