This is the second in a series about leadership in motherhood. We’re shaping a generation with our words, our actions, and our love. When we adopt this identity, we can step into grace and authority. We can truly lead our children in the Way. They deserve a leader who sees them as Jesus sees them. I don’t believe there’s anyone more qualified than Mama.
Today’s post is on the topic of the early years. I’m a little past the early years, but these are the sweetest, most grueling years of a woman’s life. You are so NEEDED and LOVED. You also feel the biggest feelings and the most displaced. But this doesn’t last forever. And you learn so much about yourself and what you’re made of. Let’s take a look at what it takes to be a diaper-changing leader.
The Holy Call to Leadership
Is it possible to be a leader for Christ even when you stay home and change diapers all day?
Your call as a disciple is to influence others for the Kingdom of Heaven. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (NIV)
In other words, you’re supposed to be a mom and you have three directives:
- Make disciples.
- Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.
- Remember, “I AM” is with you to the end of the age.
In other words, you’re asked by Christ – the leader of the Church to transform the world through your influence of His love. But He’s with you every.step.of.the.Way.
Now, For the Reality Check
Sounds like a great job description – until you get down to business. You have to build this influence over the course of 18-20 years. And those little people have NEEDS and OPINIONS and THEY TAKE SO LONG TO GROW UP.
But wait, there’s more.
You have to change their diapers, feed them from your own body or a bottle for nearly a year (or more), hold them, dress them, calm them, watch them, read to them, talk to them, educate them, bathe them, shop with them (maybe the worst part of the job), help them learn their manners and letters.
You are involved in just about every detail of their lives so they can someday be functioning, self-supported adults.
And when you have some extra time, you need to influence them to change the world.
Umm…I Can’t Even Take a Whole Shower…
When that first baby comes home, you don’t realize how hard it is to just take a shower or eat a hot meal. You lose all sense of yourself in the transition from newborn to toddler. I don’t think anything prepares you for that transition. It isn’t real until it’s you and a baby and 8-10 hours before another soul will walk through the door.
You learn a lot about yourself in those first 8-10 hours alone with a baby. You realize you can’t do it all. You realize you aren’t the most important person in your world. You may feel angry, sad, happy, helpless, hopeless, and flat worn-out all in the space of a day. That’s right where Jesus wants you, my friend.
Having that little replica of yourself puts you at the end of yourself. And it’s right there that He steps in.
Right Where He Wants You
He wants you to know that all of this struggle, frustration, and frenzy is worth it and a testimony to your faith.
It takes faith to keep showing up when you haven’t had more than an hour of connected sleep in three days.
But here’s the biggest truth I want you mamas of littles to hear and digest:
You have a purpose beyond making it from day to day.
In Galatians 6:9-10, Paul is giving instructions to leaders. He’s telling us that the road will be long and hard and we will want to quit, but it’s not an option.
He writes, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those of you who are of the household of faith” (NIV).
Your identity is to be a leader for Christ – even if it’s in your own household of faith.
Yes, You Can Be a Leader and Change Diapers All Day
So, is it really possible to change diapers all day and be a leader for Christ?
First of all, you’re not called to be a leader in your own right. We were designed to be vessels of His glory. And when we declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” we can do anything (Philippians 4:13 NIV).
I can be a vessel of light to my kids or I can be empty and short and “over it” all the time.I can own this identity or I can try to run from it, but someone is going to lead my children somewhere – to Christ or away from Him. I have a God-given responsibility to fight the good fight for them.
Now, this job is not easy. Jesus tells us it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible with Him. Philippians 4:13 gives us a promise of God’s provision. And that provision is His strength.
A Leadership Assignment
When you’re hands aren’t full for a few minutes, I want you to take out a journal (or a scrap of paper) and write down a few things:
- What are my priorities for my faith and my family? Make it a statment. My personal statement reads like this, “I’m here to serve the Lord by serving my family. I’m here to sit at His feet and to fill my soul up so that I can fill their souls up. It’s my job to teach my kids who God is, what He says about them, what He wants for them, and how to trust Him. I’m here to pray for them, listen to them, and know that my work has eternal rewards.”
- What is the reality of my life and my people? The reality is that Im a sinner. You’re a sinner. Our kids are sinners. We can’t help that. We can help them know what to do with sin, how to avoid sin, and how to seek forgiveness for sin. We can also help our kids develop a keen awareness that they do not have to live under the weight of sin. They can live with the weight of glory, but that requires the giving up of self. The hard news? They may not do this for quite some time. Trust Him. He will take care of it.
- What is my assignment as a wife and a mother? My assignment is to show up. But there’s a secret here. I have to make a daily dedication to look at my children and my husband as a gift and an assignment for God. He made them. He asked me to love them and guide them. But it’s hard! I often want everyone to be quiet and still and to leave me alone. If I get that wish, they don’t get the chance to see me wear my uniform of grace. I need to show up with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Remember this truth. God wants us to stand by our people. He wants us to stand behind them. He wants us to stand for them. And sometimes in their way.
Are you up for this assignment? This little declaration of leadership will help you refocus when life gets tough. Keep it in your Bible and keep your Bible close. It will help you through all of these tough situations and frustrations.
What is your biggest leadership struggle? I’m going to use these in a future part of this series. Drop a comment below or send me an email to amanda at aworkofgod dot com.
Praying you for you my sisters in Christ.