I used to feel guilty about not doing my part in sharing God’s love with those around me. When my kids were babies, I felt as if all of my time was consumed with doing the laundry, changing dirty diapers, and keeping the house clean. If I didn’t even have time to take a shower, how was I going to have the time to share God’s love with those around me?
I grew up in the church and was taught that reaching the unchurched was the number one thing we as Christians were supposed to do. As an introverted kid, I felt embarrassed just thinking about walking up to strangers in the grocery store and sharing the love of Jesus with them. As a teenager, I overcompensated for this by being loud and boisterous about God’s love—but only with the new kids who would occasionally visit our youth group. As a young adult and a new mom, I resorted to silence, thinking this was something I was just not good at. I justified my silence by believing that there were other things I could do for God—things I was better equipped to do.
At church they would preach about doing our part to fulfill the great commission. This only magnified the guilt I felt because I wasn’t contributing. I didn’t have the time to walk the city streets during our church’s outreach events. I couldn’t afford a sitter to stay at home with my kids long enough for me to volunteer for any of the church activities. How was I supposed to help the church fulfill the great commission if I could hardly leave my house?
Pushing the guilt aside, I decided that the least I could do was love those God puts in my path and teach my children to love others well.
I began to take note of the other moms God put in my path—some from church, some from the gym, even one neighbor who took a chance on knocking on my door to invite my kids to her local Vacation Bible School. I thought that if I couldn’t go away on a mission trip right now, I could make my backyard my mission field. I started being purposeful in my community of moms who sought me out for friendship, encouragement, guidance, and just some plain old comradery that most of us moms need.
By the time our second born was in school, I had begun to build relationships with the other moms whose kids went to school with my kids. The acquaintances I made during those early morning drop-offs and afternoon soccer practices turned into friendships, and I finally felt like I had a community in which I could serve a purpose.
One day out of the blue, one of the moms shared that she was looking for a church in the area. I couldn’t believe it because none of our previous conversations had touched on the topic. I remember feeling some of that childhood hesitancy rise inside me, but soon felt safe in our circle of friendship. As I began to share about our church, I recognized that God had placed me in this community for a reason, and I was fulfilling my purpose.
I learned that I can be a part of the great commission in the community that God has placed me in. Sure, I would love to go on mission trips and volunteer at the local soup kitchen, but for right now and in this season, God has placed me in a community with other moms to offer them support and encouragement and to simply show them the love of Jesus. Some may decline my invitation and never see the inside of a church, while others may accept it and find God. I am at peace knowing I am right where God wants me to be—loving on those he’s placed around me and being purposeful in my community.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)