Whitney Wiseman is a Fearless Mom, and she is also the Director of Spiritual Development at Lake Hills Church. She works with church members to foster personal spiritual growth by facilitating community connections, developing curriculum, offering opportunities for continued discipleship, and equipping leaders within our church. Here are her words about following God’s calling to ministry and motherhood in her life:
Have you ever thought about what the world would be like if everyone actually became what they wanted to be when they “grew up”? There would be quite a ton of astronauts, presidents, firefighters, and professional athletes. Probably not so many pastors or missionaries… well, there would be at least one. Yes, that’s right, in Mrs. McKenzie’s third-grade class at Story Elementary in Allen, TX, yours truly went with a Bible in hand as a missionary to “Career Day.”
Despite life inherently being a cycle of changing seasons, one thing has been constant for me: the tug on my heart to serve God. From an early age, I sensed that ministry would play a role in my life. l leaned into that call as I grew up and took advantage of every opportunity to participate in various kinds of ministries. I have continued to pursue my calling into vocational ministry. It has not been a result of my theological prowess, proficiency in prayer, or grasp of grace, but rather, because I am confident in the One who has called me.
The other calling I confidently followed was the call into motherhood. As any Mom knows, motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Julie Richard has accurately described “Mother” as a verb (and all the mommas said AMEN). We nurture and care, we equip and prepare, and we direct and guide. We also occasionally go to the grocery store, serve as chauffeur, coach soccer teams, make paper-mâché solar system mobiles, give driving lessons, change diapers, and make dinner. Yet, motherhood is more than a list of responsibilities; motherhood is a MINISTRY. We serve our kids, we pray for them, we show them what it looks like to be committed followers of Christ, and we help shape their hearts to obey and love God. Motherhood is a high calling unto itself.
When I was pregnant with our first child, Byron, someone asked me if this new addition to our family would change my calling into ministry. I emphatically and naively answered that it would not change, pause, nor negate my calling into ministry. I envisioned that this new role of motherhood would only add to or enhance my calling.
On one hand, I was right. The birth of our son and, most recently, our daughter, Lucy, has not changed the desire of my heart to reach people with the transformative hope of Jesus. In fact, shepherding those two little lives has made me more keenly aware of the brokenness of this world and the urgent need for the restoration that is only possible through Jesus.
On the other hand, gosh was I wrong. If you are reading this, (first of all, how did you manage to find five uninterrupted minutes!?) you know that motherhood is anything but simple. Incorporating a new role into your life, a new person into your family, a change in your schedule, and striving for a healthy marriage and a thriving career is complicated, to say the least.
I have not always navigated this gracefully. I feel tension daily. Am I working hard enough at the office? Am I showing up for my family? What’s for dinner, and more importantly, who’s cooking?!? I have strived for the mythical work-life balance only to constantly feel like I was missing the mark. But then I hear God asking me, “Whose mark?”
It is when I get bogged down in these existential questions and fears, that I am most grateful for the reminder of God’s truths and the community in our local church, especially through Fearless Mom. This community has helped my husband, Justin, and I determine God’s vision for our family and helped forge direction as parents; our direction is shalom.
Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace, harmony, wholeness, welfare, and tranquility. We are all called to be peace-makers. The kind of peace that is intentional. This work starts in our hearts, spills over into our homes, and hopefully continues to flow out into this world.
I have two jobs now: two God-given callings in my life. So how do I move toward shalom in the midst of a chaotic schedule and ever-growing to-do list in this broken world? Here are a few things that have helped me find harmony:
- Make sure to answer God’s calling on MY life. I am beyond grateful for the Fearless Mom reminder that comparison is the enemy of forward progress. Julie Richard says it best, “Give honor and grace, and run your own race.” What is great for other Moms may not be what is great for me. What God has called other Moms to do is not necessarily what God is calling me to do. Each of us are unique reflections of God’s image, and I find myself most at peace when I am running in my own lane and answering God’s call on MY life.
- Keep God first. Confidence in my calling is built when I am spending regular time with God. Keeping God’s truth close to heart and spending time in prayer serve as continual reminders of why I answer God’s call on my life. It helps me fight the temptation to compare and gives me an eternal perspective. I have adopted Julie’s prayer into my daily (sometimes hourly) prayer routine, “God, help me to see things as they really are.” Time with God helps me remember that: my feelings are real, but not always reliable. I am not a victim of my callings. My calling as a Mom is a gift. My job in ministry is a gift.
- Participation in a diverse, Christ-centered community complements all of our callings. Being around other Moms brings the gift of perspective. Moms of kids with all abilities, Moms with older kids, Moms with younger kids, Moms who work in their homes, Moms who travel around the globe for work ~ they ALL support me and remind me of God’s truth as I run my own race. There is no one way to be a mom. I am thankful for that reminder and the fact that I do not have to do this alone.
- Make the most of the time wherever you are, whenever you can. Dividing your time is never an easy task. Focusing on what is in front of me promotes a productive rhythm and helps me avoid anxiety about all the things I’m not doing. I have the same 24 hours as everyone else, and it is my responsibility to steward those hours wisely. If I am at home with my family, I try really hard to be present there. If building the tallest block tower is important to my son, then by golly we are going to build the tallest tower as if our lives depended on it. Likewise, at the office, I focus my attention on the work that needs to be done. Wherever you are, be all there.
- Do you ever feel like you’re competing for some mythical trophy for most effortlessly spinning the most plates in the air? Let me remind you ~ that trophy doesn’t exist. Identify what things are most important to you and your family. Evaluate where your time goes. Clarify your priorities. Give grace. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, do less. It’s ok to say no, or not now. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to choose God’s best for your life and your family. It’s ok to give yourself and others grace.
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” Ephesians 4:1 (NLT)
For those of you who are blessed to be a Mom, I encourage you to lean into your God-given calling! You’ve got this! And… God’s got you!