I have a friend who hopes to start a ministry. She’s equipped to do it, and her life story is pointing that way, but currently she’s in a season where she is waiting for God to reveal His plan and provide more direction.
She’s a great mom – to her kids and other people’s kids, too. My children adore her and look up to her. She’s also a terrific friend, the kind who you will drop everything to help you.
Here’s an example: Once when I had an unexpected doctor’s visit, I called to see if she’d pick up my child from Mother’s Day Out. I spoke quickly because my cell phone was dying. She said she’d pick up Camille and bring me a phone charger to the doctor’s office because I didn’t need to be there with a dead phone.
I never thought to ask for that favor, and the fact that she did speaks volumes about her nature.
Recently, she and I talked about the ministry she hopes to start. I could tell she felt restless in this period of waiting, and I could relate to that. As I left I told her, “What you’re doing right now, being really available for your family and friends, is just as important as what you hope to be doing two years from now. I want you to remember that.”
She smiled shyly and shook her head, as if her current contributions aren’t that big a deal. But they are, and the truth is, what she’s doing now is far more important than what she hopes to be doing in two years.
Because what she’s doing now is loving her people WELL. She’s avoiding the mistake that too many of us make, the mistake of spreading ourselves too thin and not leaving enough white space in our calendars for the people we love most.
It’s interesting now that I’m in ministry, because I have a fresh perspective of what this world needs. I can look back with new eyes on the days when I was in my friends’ shoes, waiting for more clarity from God and fighting the restlessness to do more than raise a family and be a good wife and friend.
I never planned to go into ministry, but somehow it happened when my passion for writing collided with my passion for God, and I wrote a book that led to speaking engagements and other events. It’s been an awesome journey, and I’m grateful for every opportunity to connect with moms and teen girls.
At the same time, I’ve grown more keenly aware of how valuable my work was before this work started. Back when I was “just” a stay-at-home mom, and all I could do was love my people well because caring for four little ones left limited time for outside interests, I gave myself too little credit.
While I loved being with my girls and felt grateful to have the option, I often felt like I should do more. I couldn’t recognize how I was already fulfilling my greatest call. I was doing work far more important than what I hoped to do in the next season of motherhood.
Mother Teresa once said, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” This message deserves more attention, because in our world, we’re constantly pushed to do more and think bigger. We’re encouraged to reach the masses and spread goodness far and wide.
While I’m certainly on board with this mission, I also want to point out how we can get so caught up in having a wide influence that we fail to have a deep influence. We can spend so much time growing an audience around the world that we miss the best opportunity of all with the small audience inside and around our home.
Because as much as the world needs us, our families and loved ones need us more. What my work has taught me is the importance of striking a balance. My work life should complement my personal life, not take away from it. My soul should be fed, not depleted. Finding balance is tricky, and sometimes it require saying No when I want to say Yes or letting a great opportunity pass when the timing isn’t right for our family.
What this world needs most has become clear to me through the emails I receive, feedback I hear, and people I meet. All around us, people are really struggling with something. They want advice on how to find it. When I’m asked to speak, it’s the most commonly requested topic. It’s particularly important to females, because deep in our hearts, we hunger for this. We crave it on a level that is genuine and real.
What is it? FRIENDSHIP. Good, solid, and loyal relationships. In an age where we’re highly connected online, people are lonely in real life. They’re surrounded by faces, yet still feel invisible. In many ways, friendship is becoming a lost art. Women and girls who make others feel seen, loved, and valued are rare.
So rather than feel like failures when we can’t act globally, let’s focus on loving better locally. Let’s value quiet acts of service – like picking up our friend’s child from school, or taking a cell phone charger to her doctor’s visit – that don’t get posted on social media or draw impressive fanfare, but that express love to someone in a deep, meaningful way.
And if you’re in a season where all you can do is love your people well, or if that’s your primary life goal as a working mom or stay-at-home mom, please know that YOU ARE A GEM. Don’t think you’re letting God down as you wait for more important work, because this work is more important than any purpose. What our world needs MOST are people who understand real love, real connection, and real community.
A woman who loves her people well is loved well in return. Her relationships stand the test of time. Those who know her adore her, and those who don’t are missing out, because what a joy it is to be loved by an unsung hero who treasures her relationships and makes everyone around her feel seen, loved, and valued.
On Aug. 18, my new book Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter releases. It’s gaining fantastic early buzz, and by pre-ordering now, you’ll receive amazing incentives like downloadable prints and prayers. Simply redeem your receipt here. Pre-order through Amazon, and you’re guaranteed the lowest price between now and Aug. 18.
I’ve also written books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked, used widely across the U.S. for small group studies. To keep up with future posts, subscribe to this blog or join me on Facebook, Instagram, and the Girl Mom podcast
Posted by Kari on June 14, 2015