Our refrigerator is peppered with photos of children we may never meet. We have a basket full of letters and cards. A scrapbook waiting to be filled with drawings from far off places.
And when I am so focused on myself. What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I know I mother. I’m utterly in love with my role as mom. But the Enemy has been swooping in. “You should be doing more.”
And he’s wrong. Of course. But then I also feel the tug, that there’s more than laundry piles and cleaning the same diapers three times a week. And I’m right. Because that loving tug to be God’s hands and feet. That’s the good stuff. That’s worth listening to.
Our newest sponsored child is in an Indian community just starting down the sponsorship path. Everything is brand new to him.
Today, he thanked us for the clean water they are now drinking. And a mosquito net. And a trip to the doctor. And for getting to walk to school. And for soap and toothpaste. And for a birthday kiss from his mom.
And this isn’t a bragtable moment. Please don’t ever think that. We just have money taken from our account every month and we send letters and stickers and drawings and photos. The team in India is working round the clock to bring education and resources to impoverished children and their communities. So I pull them up to the table and beg you to pray for them. And for our children’s teams in Ghana, Malawi, and Burkina Faso.
But I opened the envelope in my air conditioned van. In my clean clothes. And the Holy Spirit whispered, “See. You are doing it. You don’t always get to see it. When you shop yard sales, and buy marked down protein, and use what you have when you could go buy new…you’re mothering well. And it frees up my resources to help other mothers. They give their children birthday kisses and are thankful for another year.”
This Monday is different. I’m washing the pee sheets again. Still wondering where all my dreams fit in. But I have this realization that God is using me beyond these small walls.
Yes, I raise my children to follow after Him. I plant seeds. Row after row. But He never called me to focus all of me on these three blessings. He doesn’t call me to put on blinders and spend eighteen years just on the ones I physically tuck into bed.
As we pray each night for our friends just waking up, my children learn that they aren’t the Sun. And my children need to learn that they are my treasures. But treasures in clay pots. From dirt. With the breath of God breathed into magnificently designed bodies. Their hands and feet called to be His. Alive for a reason.
I love them. These three little Ballews. But I can’t let them grow up thinking they are my all in all and my focus every waking moment and that I live to wash their socks. They need to grow up knowing that I want more for them than believing the American lie that they are entitled to everything they see. Including a mom who spends all her minutes fawning over them and teaching them what she has learned in her slightly longer life.
So the answer to my question is complicated. My purpose is pointing these children to Jesus and loving them well. But that doesn’t mean I stop doing. Dreaming, creating, following the stirrings in my spirit. Those butterfly moments.
And because he gets clean water, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing now. Still questioning which turns to take, but knowing that all of it is fitting into this mommy’s life puzzle. The bottle-washing pieces joining with the goat-buying pieces. Perfectly snapping together. And showing my kids that they fit into my life’s purpose, but are complemented by pieces of my story we only see in snapshots.