Today I was listening to a song by Bethany Dillon called “You’re the Best Song”. Every time I hear this song, it stirs within me this deep longing to be apart of nurturing a child and helping them to grow up to follow Christ. I included the lyrics at the end of this post, and a link to the song. I encourage you to listen to it because it truly is so so precious.
Anyways, so basically the fact that I even acknowledged this stirring within me is a big thing for me because for a loooong time I told myself I didn’t want kids and that I didn’t really like kids. This came about because I was living with the fear that I would never be able to have any of my own. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS (which is a hormonal condition), and everything I read told me that it would be difficult if not impossible to have children. The despair and deep sadness in my heart was so great that I began to repress my desire to be a mom. My mind did this unconscious repression so well that I really believed that I didn’t want to be a mom and that I wasn’t great with kids (BOGUS!).
By the grace of God, I have been healed of that condition, but before I was healed God restored my faith and told me that I would still be a mother. Not only would I be a mother to my own biological children, but also to many who are not my own by blood. Over the past few months, I have begun to understand more of what God might have meant when He told me those words.
First, I have seen that this desire began long before I even really understood what it meant to be a mother. When I was in first grade, I was a sheltered lil homeschool kid and I have a clear memory of learning about the life of a missionary named Amy Carmichael.
I was so so inspired by the story of this woman who left behind her life in Ireland and went to live among the people of India. When she was there she noticed something peculiar–Families were selling their little girls to the temple priests to be wives to the gods. Her heart broke for the plight of these young, innocent children, so she found a way to purchase these children from their families, and she opened an orphanage for girls called Dohnavur Fellowship that still stands there today.
Carmichael saw the plight of these young children and she took them in, cared for them, loved them, and shared Christ with them. How beautiful is that? Little children are so precious and important to God, so they should be important to us.
After learning her story, I spent my fourth-grade year teaching my class all about her life and work, and even delved deeper into her life when I created a project on her for a history fair that year. Her story has followed me as I have grown deeper in my relationship with God, and as He has continually shaped the calling He has put on my life.
Amy Carmichael was called Amma by all the children she cared for.
Amma means “mother”.
This is what stands out to me in her story—she became a mother to those who were not her own.
And part of me has always desired to be like her.
Second, I have a wonderful mom. Seriously! My mom has been fervently praying for me since before I was born. She has spoken life into me, encouraged me, comforted me, provided for me, and loved me deeper than most anyone in my life. She was a part of raising me up to be a follower of Christ (along with my wonderful dad, of course), and I am deeply grateful for the way she has soaked my life in so much truth and spent hours upon hours covering me in prayer. Her faith has covered my life in grace and favor.
She has also always “adopted” all my friends as I have grown up, welcoming them into our home and lives in deeper ways. In high school, my best friend Darby slept over every weekend so she could go to church with us. Most parents would not want other kids sleeping over their house every weekend. But mine were different, and they’re a part of the reason why Darby knows the Lord and is walking so strong in her faith today. I would be blessed to be half the woman of God that my mom is. Her life has inspired me to live in a similar way, with arms wide open to those in need of love and a home.
Third, since I was four years old I have been telling people that I want to be a missionary. This calling looks very different for me now then it did several years ago (but that’s a story for another time). The summer after my senior year of high school, I went on my first ever mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I remember feeling a lot of pressure going on this trip because to me this would confirm or deny whether I was really supposed to be a missionary. I had just graduated several days before leaving, so I felt rushed, like I hadn’t had time to really prepare mentally for this trip. While we were there, there were so many stressful and unexpected things that happened. I felt weary, disappointed, and overly shy, yet God moved and used me and spoke to me as I desperately searched for answers.
It was there in that place that God spoke words to me that I had forgotten until just recently. Our group was surrounded by many children, we had just done a Bible skit for them, and we were just hanging out with them. In this moment God spoke. It was less of words, and more of an impression on my heart— He said, “this is what I have made you for–to love the little children”. Those are words that I have forgotten over the years.
And I know that I have forgotten these words over the past few years, because of the other ministries I have tried to pursue (ex. Church planting).
This idea of forgetting what God has called us to has been a recurring theme in my life lately. It is SO EASY to get stuck in the mundane-ness of everyday life, so that what was once a mission field in your life, becomes a place that drains you, and this happens especially when the focus shifts from the people you’re called to love to instead being on yourself.
I am a kindergarten afterschool teacher right now and have been for the past several years. AND GOOD GOSH, I LOVE what I do! So much! When I first got hired my boss shared with me how she needed people to see this as not a job but a place of ministry. So many of these kids come from broken families, and even though they attend a Christian school, many of their families are not believers. I was immediately on board with her vision. She wanted me to love these kids CHECK. She wanted me to share Christ with them CHECK.
In the beginning what I did was lonely. I was the only teacher who played with or talked to the kids. I was the only one who helped them maturely work through conflict and was patient enough to listen to each child’s predicaments. I loved that the kids knew that I really loved and cared for them, and that I wasn’t just there to babysit them and get a paycheck. I wanted to impact their lives by showing them who God is through love and deep kindness. Last school year, I spent the whole year reading Bible stories to my children and talking about grace, redemption, sin, and the character of God. These kids blew me away with the wisdom that they had at such a young age! Kids have the ability to understand deep truths about God. It’s astounding! (and I learn so much from them!)
Since the start of this job, God has been so good in transforming this ministry to a place filled with many teachers who are there because they love the kids (praise God!!!)
But I have a confession. Somehow, along the way, this just became a job for me. I got frustrated with kids doing the same bad things every day. I got impatient with their questions. I didn’t feel like running around and playing with them all the time. I got lazy. I lost my passion. And I forgot why God brought me there in the first place. To love the little children!
I had to repent for my attitude and lack of desire to serve well in the places in which God has put me, and I also had to apologize to the teacher who served alongside me every day. As God has been so kind to convict me, my heart has been reignited to spend my days not for myself just trying to get through the hours at work, but instead to use that time to invest into the lives of children. I don’t know what their lives are like outside the time I have with them, but in the time that I do have with them, I want them to feel loved, seen, heard, cared for, and safe.
This passion has developed slowly into a deep desire to be a foster mom. I wish I could take in all the kids who need a home. Gosh, could you imagine if every child in the world had a place where they could be secure and loved like God intended for humanity? I don’t know when I will have my own kids, but a deep part of me is satisfied in getting to love whatever kids happen to be in my life.
I love kids because they have a freedom about them. Even if they have experienced some sort of trauma that has taken away some of their innocence, they still live so openly.
They are fully alive. They do not hide their desire to be known and loved, like we so often do. With kids, what you see is what you get. Layers and layers of life haven’t piled onto them. It’s refreshing to see.
Kids are lifegiving. They are a beautiful image of God.
I hope to never forget how God has made children a gift in my life, and how he has created me to be apart of the lives of many children. This is why I am going to be more intentional about writing down the vision or calls that God has put on my heart for particular places or people so that I won’t forget and fall back into mundaneness.
This was a lot of words to just say that I want to be a mom. A mom to many. A mom to those who have no mom. I don’t know that any of these words are really for other people, but I will share them the nonetheless because maybe my story and musings with encourage you in ways that I couldn’t foresee.
And don’t repress your desire to be a mom like I did if you find yourself in difficult circumstances. Give those desires to God and watch what He’ll do with them. He is transformative and oh so kind.
You and the sun are up before I’m ready
But ready or not, you need me
So here I am
I’m learning that in the long hard days
There is beauty
Do you know my favorite place to see it
It’s when I look at you
And though I’m tired now
You’re worth every sleepless night
You’re worth it all, cause I know
You’re the best song I’ll ever write
And we’re humming and dancing through the years together
You’re the best song I’ll ever write
And I pray you’ll hear Jesus in it when you’re older
I remember when you were just a heartbeat that I heard
and now our eyes meet
Forever is not enough to love you
Every prayer for you is like a seed in the ground
Every tear I cry is like rain
And in its due season
I pray a harvest will be found
Your heart and mouth confessing Jesus’ name
Your heart and mouth confessing Jesus’ name