This post is part of a series called “Motherhood Mantras.” To read more about the series, and the full list of writers, click here.
“Our daily tasks, whether we perceive them as drudgery or essential, life-supporting work, do not define who we are as women or as human beings. But they have a considerable spiritual import, and their significance for Christian theology, the way they come together in the fabric of faith, is not often appreciated. But it is daily tasks, daily acts of love and worship that serve to remind us that the religion is not strictly an intellectual pursuit, and these days it is easy to lose sight of that…”
-The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and “Women’s Work” by Kathleen Norris
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a mother. I knew the vocation to which I was called, but certainly didn’t think that part of my calling was to motherhood.
In fact, my husband and I approached “baby-making” rather flippantly. We decided to “just see what happens”, and one month later we found ourselves staring and laughing (perhaps with a bit of disbelief like Sarah’s news of Isaac’s impending arrival) at the word “Pregnant” emblazoned across that plastic stick.
With excitement and bewilderment we approached pregnancy and childbirth. I didn’t know what to expect of either- I had never taken the time to imagine myself in that season of life. And yet there I was- in between ministry jobs, rushing toward the unknown world of motherhood with an incredible amount of fear and naiveté and questions. What in the world was I supposed to do with this little person? What if I was a horrible mother? What if I hated it? I’m a minister, not a mom. Aren’t those mutually exclusive callings?
And yet, through lots of trial and error, lots of joy and tears, I have discovered something really beautiful. I have discovered that while I am called to ministry, motherhood too is my calling.
I am called to teach:
I am called to teach my son to be a good friend.
I am called to teach my son to treat our earth and its resources well and thoughtfully.
I am called to show my son the world that God loves.
I am called to equip my son with an understanding of the equality and value of all God’s people.
I am called to teach my son to respect and support women.
I am called to guide my son to be a good spouse should he choose to be in a lifelong partnership.
I am called to give my son the independence he needs to make his own decisions and one day contribute significantly to that which is bigger than himself.
I am called to raise my son to be someone who exudes the grace and love of God to all people.
I am called to relish:
I am called to find value in the small things…the first time he slept through the night, the first teeth popping through, the first steps, the first words, the first time he was kind to a friend
I am called to find joy in my family unit…to enjoy quiet days or exciting adventures together, to show my son how in love his parents are with one another, to grow through playing and learning and worshipping together
I am called to find God’s blessing in the quotidian aspects of every day life…teaching my child manners, doing the laundry, preparing meals- it is there that I am reminded of what a blessing each small moment of the day can be if I only see it as such.
It’s easy to lose this sense of calling to motherhood. When I get bogged down by the mundane, or by the unrealistic expectations, or simply by the tantrums and mess and the sheer exhaustion. And on the days when I feel like I’m losing myself- when I wonder if I’ve wandered away from my calling to vocational ministry, God gently reminds me that this too is my calling.
Courtney Mills Jones Willis is an ordained Baptist minister and does contract work for Passport, Inc. while also staying home with her son full-time. She is a prolific writer on Life These Days, and also blogs about her beautiful son and about her favorite recipes.