I was looking around at other women, looking to see what they were doing–and it put me at odds with my life. They were at women’s retreats and Bible studies and community groups and part of service opportunities. I was at home–a substantial commute away from church that would require my husband to take on my responsibilities after he came home from (crazy long hours of) work, two young kids at home, and (at the time) I was homeschooling one of them. There didn’t seem to be a fit for someone like me. I struggled with wanting what I had and wanting what other women had. I struggled with feeling like I was less a part of God’s plan because my calendar was not filled with church things.
In Numbers, God tells Moses how the Levites will assist Aaron, these Levites like first-born sons.
11 And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me, 13 for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the Lord.” Numbers 3:11-13 NLT.
I made a list of this tribe, and their duties. They had a role to play, and the roles didn’t cross over but were specific to the Gershonites, Kohathites and Merarite clans.
The other day, I sat across from a mom at her kitchen table and we talked about gifting, purpose and service. I understood that in those early years as a mom of littles, I was still able to serve God and that it didn’t have to look like what everyone else was doing. I found community and Bible study here, online through 66 Books. I was able to assist a church hospitality ministry by handling scheduling and emailing from my home at my convenience. And my service opportunities looked more like play dates and coffee dates, cultivating friendships with other moms where we supported and encouraged each other.
My kids are growing. My responsibilities look different today than they did six years ago. We even moved. Those years of hosting and hospitality were the training ground for other opportunities, preparing the way for what I’d encounter today:
One woman let her guard down and asked for prayer for a serious health problem. Another one doesn’t know her purpose. And still one admits to a lifetime at church, but now, late in life, isn’t sure she ever really believed. I saw the vulnerability of their hearts when I stopped looking at what other women were doing, and started looking at what God was doing. This happened over play dates, dinners, and doing the things God wired me to do.
24 “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. 25 Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” Mark 3:24-25 NLT
I imagine how relationships would be strengthened and blossom under the encouragement of other women, cheering the other on–instead of secretly coveting or criticizing another’s life and opportunity. (A good listen about comparison with Andy Stanley over here.) It tears relationships apart. Note to self: don’t do this.
34 Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. 35 Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:34-35 NLT.
Lord, thank you for putting a desire to serve you in my heart, and for calling me to look to you for opportunities to grow close to you and serve others. Thank you for so many examples in the family of faith whom you’ve equipped and prepared to run amazing races for you–and for telling me that you’ve got a plan just for me. Thank you for loving me, and making me part of your family.