Service Where You Are: A Mother’s Perspective
By Jessie Andry
I was walking through a store the other day and I came across a mug with an interesting saying on it. In swirly gold lettering it read, “You have the same 24 hours a day as Beyonce.”
Whoa. That stopped me dead in my tracks. Sheesh–talk about pressure! My thoughts immediately went to the dark side. I’m not even kidding you when I say that I thought of about 10 other people whose names I could put in that same spot. The thought, “What am I even doing with my life?” easily took over in my mind. I walked away from that mug discovery amused- it is a great little inspirational quote- but pretty much beating myself up and thinking about how much I don’t do.
The topic of service hits me pretty much the same way But, if I really listen to what God is telling me, I’m so so wrong about being insignificant.
When I think about serving God, my first thought goes to the days when I got to actually GO. I’ve done a couple of mission trips and I’m no stranger to travel. The thought of packing up, grabbing that passport, and heading out for a week of service and mission work makes me so excited. Nothing makes you feel more like being the hands and feet of Christ than going somewhere people don’t know about Jesus, or know very little about Him, and loving on them. Just showing them that your Jesus is big and wonderful and merciful and loves them exactly the way they are- it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world to communicate that to someone. I had the fortunate experience to be able to do that in my early 20s, and for that I’m extremely grateful.
Today, my life of service looks very different. I’m not traveling out of the country anymore–shoot, a trip to Target by myself feels like a getaway.
A little over 4 years ago I became a mom for the first time. Since then I’ve had another baby, 17 months apart from his sister, and you could say that my life has been nothing short of beautiful chaos.
Now, when opportunities are brought up about service projects and mission trips, I barely blink an eye, because of course I can’t go. Logistically it doesn’t work well with our family. My kids are in a very dependent stage, and I literally can’t be away from them for long periods of time. Honestly, if you asked me on any given day, I’d tell you it feels like I’m in survival mode rather than service mode.
You know what, though? Parenting is hard. (Who knew?!) Somehow hospitals hand you these fresh little babies and give them to you without a thought. “Good luck! Try not to do too much damage!” they seem to say as they wheel you downstairs to exit the building.
But here’s what I’m finding out. This stage of life I’m in–this messy, exhausting, parenting littles stage–is supposed to be hard. God has given me two precious children who bear His image and should be cared for the way He needs them to be- loved on, sung to, read to, and talked to. They are to be shown who Jesus is from an early age, to grow up knowing that they are loved not only by their father and me, but by their Heavenly Father.
So what does service actually look like for me these days? I’m not getting to go to every volunteer work project or every mission trip. I don’t always get to make it to every event that’s offered at church. But I am serving my family. And the attitude of service is where I get a heart-check every time.
Am I just trying to survive the evening hours until bedtime, or am I being intentional with my kids? Am I glued to my phone, or am I getting off the couch and playing? Am I grumbling about what to make for dinner, or having a thankful heart that I can be home to prepare one for my family? Constant adjustments of my heart are needed, but when I think about it, I am doing the service that God is calling me to right now.
I firmly believe God calls all of us to different types of service and at different times in our lives. Sometimes your service is at your job. Doing it well and doing it right–those are God-honoring missions. Sometimes your service is to your church building or neighborhood. And sometimes, your service to God is wiping grimy hands and faces, kissing little cheeks, and singing lullabies.
That’s my service right now, and I’ll listen for God’s guidance and direction as my kids and family grow. Together, we’ll do our best to serve in the capacities He gives us. But for now, I may not be jet-setting to another country or doing anything that would be perceived as a dynamic mission any time soon. But I am changing hearts and lives right in my own living room. And in a way, it kind of makes me feel like Beyonce.
About the Author
Jessie is mom to Norah (4) and Graham (2), and she and her husband Cameron have attended Commonway since 2007. She and Cam are from southern Indiana but have called Muncie home since their college days at Ball State. Jessie is an English teacher at Southside Middle School in Muncie and loves laughing with her family, eating good food with friends, and sneaking away for solo Target runs.