Have you ever been antsy? (I believe the official medical term is “ants in the pants”.) It’s that feeling where there must be something more. Something more you should be doing, maybe something really important. Something that makes a lasting impact on God’s Kingdom. Surely God didn’t mean for you to use your talents changing diapers and wiping runny noses. Or did He?
Enter The Ministry of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson. Ms. Clarkson does a wonderful job of gently walking you down the path of discovering what it is God has really called you to as a mother. She has developed a systematic way of examining the idea of mothers as ministers. Not a paid minister in a church, but as possibly the most important minister your children will ever have.
The set-up of the book is not only well organized, but lends itself easily to either personal or group studies. After presenting her case for the idea of viewing motherhood as your most important ministry, she organizes the rest of the material into the five areas she sees in the ministry. To help moms remember the areas, Clarkson uses the acronym G.I.F.T.S., representing the gifts we give our children by ministering to them. Grace, inspiration, faith, training and service are her focus as the primary areas of a mother’s ministry.
Each area begins with a retelling of a familiar Bible story in a relaxed (but accurate) fashion. She often follows with personal stories from her own lively family life. Every section covers several practical things you can do to make sure you are ministering to your child effectively. The five sections also have study questions and assignments which can help you clarify your own thoughts or could be used for a group discussion.
The thing I enjoyed most about this book is her gentle, relaxed style. Often parenting books can leave you feeling more frantic than when you began reading them. Sally Clarkson made me feel as if she were an old friend and we were curled up in comfy chairs by the fire, sipping hot cocoa and talking. I never felt guilty, only encouraged. Not only encouraged, but no longer antsy for something “bigger”.
Clarkson understands where you are in your Christian journey and empowers you to be the minister to your children God called you to be. Her gentle reminders (“Only then, once the wells of their need are filled with the grace of being loved, will my words to them about God’s grace finally make sense.”) call me to a higher purpose in my mothering, but make the process seem like something I could really do with my child.
If you are feeling “antsy” in your role as mother or just want some gentle, quiet, guided reflection on the concept of motherhood as your ministry, I would highly recommend reading this book. Your children are only in your house for a few short years (I say as the mother of a high school junior.) and I hope we can embrace the idea of ministering to our children as perhaps the most important ministry God will ever call us to fulfill. After all, if our children join us for an eternity in heaven, won’t that be the greatest blessing a mother could be given?
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I am painfully honest though, and would tell you if I didn’t like it. I am keeping it on my reference shelf of parenting books in my library!