When you grow up in a religious home everything revolves around the church. Your whole life is centered around whatever activities the church has going on. In our home the church activities were superior over school functions. If they called for a PTA Meeting at the school on Mid-Week Bible Study Night, the school would miss my parents. If there was school basketball game at the same time of a church event we missed the basketball game. Needless to say, we grew up closer to our church friends than our school friends. That actually wasn’t a bad thing, though.
In church, the most common ministries are the Ministers, the Choir, Youth Overseers, Deacons and Deaconesses. If you couldn’t sing, dance, or play an instrument many times you didn’t get a chance to participate in ministry opportunities. They were the most visible forms of ministry and in most churches it left many people to become ‘bench members’. A ministry is simply your way of participating in building God’s Kingdom.
My mother is literally the best mother in the world. Don’t argue with me! lol Seriously though… I noticed something about my mom growing up. She didn’t last long in the choir. She spent the whole time fussing at us from the choir stand. She couldn’t be an usher either. She couldn’t balance her concern with others with the ultimate concern she had for her own kids. After searching for her role in the church she found decorating the building for different holidays a more appropriate role for her interests and later became the church secretary. However, what she was really good at was Parenting.
Churches do not take Parenting as seriously as they should. Parenting is not just a life role. It’s actually a Ministry.
My father was a great provider but my mother was indeed a nurturer. A man learns compassion by the compassion he gets from his mother. He’ll learn to care about others by witnessing his mother’s care for her children. He’ll learn the power of words by hearing the encouragement spoken to him by his mother. He’ll learn to respect a woman because of the respect he has for his mother. He’ll learn the power of prayer by seeing the example in his mother’s Faith.
If you ever get a chance to see poor parenting then you’ll appreciate good parenting. I’ve had friends who were literally raising themselves. I know mothers who are so lonely that their sons are constantly having to take sides between his mother and his wife. Raising a child without a father involved is not easy. It can be tedious, overwhelming, and very expensive. The weight usually forces a son to accept more responsibility than normal and the kid grows up with the idea that he’s supposed to ‘take care of his mother’. A child is only supposed to take care of his mother if she is not physically able to take care of herself. It’s an honor to parent and an even greater honor to raise a child who can successfully take care of himself.
A great mother can be a cheerleader for her son’s efforts without overstepping her boundaries. No matter how handsome you think your son is, he is not your boyfriend. A mother can’t be so close to her son that he has no space in his life for a real intimate relationship with a person he adamantly admires. She shouldn’t be so needy that he can’t make personal plans without having to constantly take from himself to please her. The Ministry of Parenting is God’s way of ensuring a mother raises her boy to be a good man. She shouldn’t be training him to be her man.
My mother never viewed Parenting as job. She always saw it as an honor. She had no problem putting her goals to aside for the sake of us. She had no problem eating less so we could eat well. She was never saddened that she was missing the excitement of her youthful years to be a mother. She thought Mothering was the best thing in the world. She took pride in watching us grow up and develop. It was joy to stitch a whole in a pair of pants we put a hole in. It was delightful to see clean plates after she mastered a good family dinner. It was probably incredible to know we trusted her with our secrets and we were never ashamed to tell her anything going on in our lives.
Meeting our girlfriends and eventually our wives gave her honor. Even though she wasn’t the best singer, pianist, or preacher. She had found her calling. She would raise good men who would one day become good fathers and would one day bring her grandchildren so she could help do it all over again.
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.