“I want to ‘go,’ but I’m afraid the farthest I can ‘go’ these days is to the baby’s crib and back,” one brand new mom told me with a sigh.
We were having a conversation about her passion for culture-crossing missions, and she confessed that she felt her zeal was flattened and hindered by her present circumstances. This sister was in need of some encouragement! Among the things we discussed that day, we talked about the sobering reality that close proximity to unreached or least-reached people does not necessarily equate with a life on mission (ie. It is possible to live among people who have never heard of Jesus and yet not speak to them about Jesus). We talked about how zeal for God's glory among the nations is not something we can conjure up on our own, but we need to have our mind renewed through his Word. Through God's Word we can have our affections for Jesus stirred, our vision for his glory among the nations renewed, and our understanding of the desperate plight of the lost to be refocused. All these things we apprehend in the light of Christ's claims of unparalleled exclusivity: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
We talked about how the kind of encouragement that cross-cultural missionaries need to stay the course and do the work of an evangelist is the same kind of encouragement that moms need as they shepherd their children. Though your season of life may not allow you to go and cross cultures to share the good news, God's Word contains specific encouragement for you as you cross the living room and share good news with your closest and littlest neighbors.
In 2 Corinthians 4 we find several notes of encouragement that can fuel a mother's "missional" purpose in the lives of her children. I've written about some of them here on the Desiring God blog. For another encouraging look at the same big picture from a different angle, please read my friend Lindsey Carlson's important piece on "Stay At Home Moms With Missionary Hearts."