I clung to her words and I never forgot them.
11 years ago, when I was a mother of three children under the age of six, I remember life being hard. Stephen traveled heavily leaving me to be a single parent, and while he was making his way around the world, I was wiping noses, bottoms and tears. I never had time to read a book, I failed in my devotional life, I often felt lonely, and I wanted to feel significant.
I would go through seasons where I would over commit myself to compensate for my feelings of insignificance. I had this desire to do ministry, and so I would commit myself to various events. I played on the worship team, I volunteered in children’s ministry, we led a small group in our home, and I helped lead our women’s ministry program. As I would over commit my time, I would burn out and have to pull back. Then I would go through seasons of depression feeling like I was failing. It was a constant battle in my life trying to figure out the balance of motherhood, work, and ministry.
But I remembered something that my friend Stacy said to me during this time of my life…..and this helped.
Stacy is 6 years older and a mother of three children. She had flown down from Bellingham to Portland to speak at our women’s retreat for our church. As we were driving from the airport to the retreat center, I was sharing with Stacy all my feelings, frustrations and dreams. She said to me:
“Patricia, there is a season for everything. While you might not see it now, God has a plan for your life, and you just need to trust Him. You are very talented and he will use your talents. What you are doing as a mom is significant. Your significance is not what you do, but who you are to God. You just need to focus on your young children and eventually you will have more freedom to do more things.”
I never forgot those words. Often on my worst days, my loneliest days, I clung to what Stacy said.
11 years later, from the Amazon to Africa, I have scattered my heart across the world, but now I get to settle in the comforts of my home. I get to sit by the fire and read a book, relax, cook, play games with my kids, and enjoy the greatest place on earth. Home.
I thought about Stacy today and what she told me years ago. I am thankful for her words and how she reminded me as a young mom that what I was doing was significant to God.
Now that I can do more, I am still reminded that the greatest ministry I have and the most significant work in my life is right where I am at today. Home. I am grateful.
Be blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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I am so glad you were encouraged with the post and you sent me this comment! The stage of motherhood you are in is definitely challenging and it can be exhausting just trying to keep up. I will be thinking and praying for you and for your baby! I pray you can get the rest you need to continue and that God fills you with His strength and joy. Bless those little babies and bless you as you persevere through these days!
Patricia, I found this post from Amanda Jones and it spoke to me so much. I’ve recently move from a wonderful place, the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my life (4.5 years) with 4 children, 6 years old and younger. I loved being involved in my old church to a degree I know I couldn’t maintain with this new baby. And now, I’ve added homeschooling to the mix here in Southern California. I’m so overwhelmed and all over the emotional map.
I’ve come back to read this post a few times since you wrote it, finding incredible encouragement to just.hang.on…especially with a sick, teething baby who’s nearly impossible to console unless I’m holding him. I think you understand. 🙂 Anyway, thank you for “Titus 2”-ing from a distance. This tired mama is so grateful. And I’ve linked to you in hopes that my friends will read and be refreshed and affirmed as well!!
Thank you Karyn for your comment. The answer to your question is this. I left my oldest home when she was one years old for my first trip overseas. My husband had started work with Compassion and he begged me to go with him to Haiti. I struggled leaving, cried, went through a lot of anxiety, but left my daughter in the hands of her grandparents. I have no regrets. My trip to Haiti changed my life and the relationship my daughter had with her grandparents was significant. I did not travel much after that for several years, but was thankful to have grandparents who were always willing to help.
Thank you for sharing your heart and validating the role a mother has to her young children. I am wondering what God would have me do in this season of life but I think I know the answer I need to physically stay home but be open to travel wherever he may lead in the years to come when my children are older. But as for now my babies need me.
If you don’t mind you you tell me how older your children where when you went on your first mission trip without them?
Thank you for sharing your heart.
you jumped into my head.
thank you for sharing the words that i know but that i need to really hear and take to heart.