[Editor’s note: click here for the first part]
Now many years down the road of this earthly life, with a husband and 3 amazing children, I often reflect and feel as though I should be doing more. “I should be reaching out more, working for the Lord more. Where I would fit ‘the more’ part in…..I am not sure.” Bret McCasland with “Key to the Kingdom” came to speak at our congregation a couple of months ago. Afterwards, I remember saying to him how much I enjoyed hearing him speak of his work; and how I still hunger to get back out in the ‘mission field.’ He spoke that afternoon about, “Our Mission Field is Right Here.” Afterwards, holding back my tears, I commented about how I felt like I should be out in the foreign mission field; even though I know that this is my “mission field.” Bret smiled at me, and reminded me that my children are the most important job that God has given me. I know… they are. I know that, but somewhere deep down I still feel like I’m lacking something. Yes I still do many of the things that I did pre-children, but the feeling that I need to be doing more still lingers.
Christ did so much in the short time that he lived upon this earth. He was around the same age as I am now when he began training his disciples to be the leaders of His church. He tirelessly worked. With more study of the gospels, we see Christ as a mentor, teacher, healer, prophet, leader, servant, son, friend, accused convict, savior, human, and deity. As a teacher He became a mentor. As a deity He was a healer and prophet. As a servant He became a leader. As a human He became a son and a friend, and as an accused convict He became our savior. I believe one of the most important jobs He had while upon this earth was training his disciples to continue in his footsteps and teachings. It is at this stage in my life that I need to make application… Is this not what God wants of us as parents, to guide and train-up our children to be faithful unto Him? He taught by discipline, example, love, prayer, meditation, study, and with complete devotion and focus. For three years Jesus trained His disciples; and it was his relationship with God that kept Him rejuvenated, focused, and driven. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). This same concept holds true for us. It is our relationship and service to the Lord that will keep us rejuvenated, focused, and driven as we serve the Lord with our children right beside us.
That brings me to Erynn’s article on “A Dozen And One Ways To Be a Barnabas”; which was posted on this website Come Fill Your Cup. As I was reading through, I also begin to think about a lady named Carmen Puente. She was a missionary’s wife in Quito. She had three young children just as I do. And she amazed me then– and even more so now– by her unceasing ability to balance mother, wife, and missionary. She did all those things that I did as an AIMer, but with the added responsibility of a family to take care of (might I add AIMers to take care of). She was always working and serving while her children were right there beside her. I loved the way she would greet members just before Sunday morning services, and the beautiful, enthusiastic, contagious smile she greeted everyone with. If she was ever weary of the work, I would have never known. I used to look at her and think to myself, “when I have children someday I want to be just like that.” I recently wrote to Carmen and asked her if she had advice for young mothers who still want to serve that Lord as they did pre-children. She gave me much advice, but here are a just few things that she suggests:
-“Do what you can ministry-wise but keep your priorities straight. My priorities were and are ordered as such: God, my husband, my kids, my home and the church. It is important to keep them in this order because after my children grow up and move away, my God always and my husband will still be there…”
-“Teaching them to do their chores, age-appropriate of course, was a big help in maintaining a neat home. When my kids were younger and not in school, I would take them with me to visit a family or help at whatever ministry was being done at the church building. I didn’t commit to doing anything that I could not do without the kids along.”
-“Don’t forget a phone call is very encouraging as well as a card that is personalized by little hands. Baking cookies is fun and can be taken to visits as gifts but still give you good children time. They just beam when you say, the kids helped make these cookies or cards. They are taught to serve by seeing you do what you can.”
-“Clearly, there is a lot of teaching you and Wesley will need to do while they are still young. Ministry will still be there later but your children will not always be as teachable as they are when they are young.”
Carmen and her Husband Arthur Puente are now living in Lubbock, TX. Arthur is currently working as the Dean of Ministry Training – PanAmerica, for Sunset Bible Schools. Carmen is working at Lubbock Christian University in the Bible office as the office manager. Their three small children are now grown and are still faithful to the Lord.
Lessons I learned and saw in others as a young woman on the mission field are constant reminders, guides, and goals that I have in my life as a Christian-mother -sister -servant. These are not only great memories, but they are moments that guide my present. May we all strive to hold true to the examples and commands that Christ and His disciples have left for us. This life is a journey, with sharp turns and gradual curves, slippery downs and treacherous ups. We must keep ourselves on the road that leads us to Him. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The Christian life doesn’t ensure us that the road will be easy, but it does assure us that we will have the Lord to strengthen us as we trudge on-ward. I want to finish this part of my journey in life, as a young, Christian mother, the same as I finished my AIM time: no regrets, complete fulfillment. As Paul recalls the sincere faith that was displayed in Timothy, which first lived in his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice in 1Timothy 1:5; I hope my own children will be able to look back on my life someday as an example worth emulating. More than that, I pray that they will live Christ-centered lives, holding true to His Word. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).
- Take some time this week to remember those you have traveled beside as life has passed by. What are the qualities that you have learned, or could learn from their good examples? Is there anything that you could apply to your service for the Lord?
- First and foremost; take some time to read through one of the gospels, and focus in on Jesus as a servant. See how he tirelessly, fulfilled his mission upon this earth. Focus in on the transition passages such as : After this…, When Jesus finished saying all of this…, The next day…., etc…. Also notice all the places that Jesus’ ministry took him and his disciples. I suggest you schedule yourself enough chunks of time to read without having to stop much. Also, keep a log of what you are reading and observing. The reading log will help you to refocus when you come back to your study.
“…Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple” (Luke 21:37).
By Alexandria Roach
Alexandria and her husband, Wesley, work with the church in Farwell, TX where Wesley serves as the pulpit minister. Alexandria is a high school Spanish teacher who loves to run and care for her three young children.