Blog/CYM Blog

Fitting Ministry Into Motherhood

As I type this, I am just days away from celebrating my oldest child’s birthday. I remember that day, three years ago so well. One of the first people I called after my son’s birth was the priest at my parish. He, along with our parish staff, the youth I serve, and their families journeyed with me as I anxiously awaited my entry into motherhood. Throughout the nine months of my pregnancy, I felt so much love and support from our parish community. One of the best baby showers I had was the one at my parish. It was kind of like a Social Life Night with food, games and more that ended with our priest prayed a blessing over me, my husband, and my unborn baby.

Once I became a mom, there was a definite shift in how I approached ministry. Any mother will tell you that having your first child changes your whole world, and, if you work as a minister it will also change how you serve. Ministry can be an inspiring, chaotic, beautiful, and humbling vocation; and so can parenthood. It took me awhile to find my groove as a Youth Minister and a parent. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned as I merge these two vocations together.

Find Your Simons

Motherhood in my opinion is a total balancing act, and so is ministry. I was a youth minister for five years before starting my family. Before I took on the title of “mama” I was “Kristin, the Youth Minister.” I was at church all day and sometimes all night. I led every mission trip and retreat. I was responsible for setting up the Life Night environment and getting the supplies. I did it all! After all, it was MY job right? Once I was a mother, I realized I couldn’t do it all and, more importantly, I didn’t have to.

A typical piece of “new parenting advice” is to ask for help. When people say, “What can I do to help you?” tell them what you need! Have them fold that load of laundry that has been sitting in the basket for two days. Let them bring you lunch or take your dog for a walk. The same holds true for ministry.

Once I reached out and asked for help with our youth ministry program things changed for the better. There were tons of amazing adults in our parish who had gifts to share with our young people. I realized that my job was not to be the person who led everything, but to find adults called to work with youth.

What a beautiful thing to witness! We are not meant to carry the load by ourselves. Even Christ reached out to Simon to help him carry His cross. Find those Simons in your parish that can help you lead your teens closer to Christ.

Relate to Parents

Before I became a mom, the parents of the teens I worked with could be both a blessing and a challenge. After I become a mother, I found there was a lot I could learn from them. Parents often ask how my little ones are doing, and I’ll share some crazy antidote about potty training or not sleeping at night. Their response is usually something like, “Awwww! I remember those days! Hold on to them, they grow up too fast.”

I know what I deal with as a mom of two seems like a big deal right now, but the parents of my teens have experienced the real challenges that lie ahead. I take their advice to heart and have learned to cherish every moment with my kids, even the challenging ones.

And the light shines on!

Some mornings it seems so easy to get ready and out of the house with two little ones. On good days I wake up before they do; get in some quality prayer time, a cup of coffee and a shower. I leave the house and load up the minivan feeling like super mom!

Other mornings both kids wake up before me, leaving me with barely enough time to brush my teeth, let alone shower. My three-year-old is sobbing hysterically because his favorite cup is in the dishwasher and just as we are heading out the door I realize my one-year-old needs not only a diaper change but a full on wardrobe change!

Ministry can be like that too. Sometimes you have the perfect Edge or Life Night. All the teens love the Gather activity; they are attentive during the Proclaim, you hear some great discussions going on during the Break, and you can tell they took the message to heart during the Send. Other nights are pure chaos! The audio-visual equipment fails, some Core members call in sick, teens’ eyes glaze over during the Proclaim, and in the end you wonder what happened.

But then a glimmer of light! You receive an affirming email from a parent or have a great one-on-one conversation with a teen as they wait for their ride home.

Parenthood and ministry are tough. There are some days we feel in the dark, but we must look to those little things to shine the light on our purpose. No matter how crazy parenthood gets, we know that God has entrusted these little blessings to us to love us like no other human can. Even if we think an Edge or Life Night is a total bomb we must believe something we or a Core member did or said reached at least one of our teen’s hearts. We may never know the impact we have on these young lives, but we must continually strive to show Christ’s love for them.

Whether you’re new to this parenthood/ministry thing or a seasoned pro, know one thing for sure – God has called you to these vocations. There’s a reason that these two roles work so harmoniously together; they have a lot in common! And when you feel the weight of responsibility on you, know you are not alone. Lean into Christ, and remember there are plenty of mothers (and fathers) working in ministry that know exactly what you are experiencing.

 

Image via Flickr, CC 2.0, Logo added

About the Author

Kristin is a mid-west native born, bred, and raised in a small town located on Mississippi River. Her heart belongs to her husband Brian and her two little ones Hunter (3) and Everly (1). Her greatest desires in life are to show young people how much God loves them and to be a mom. She feels blessed to be able to do both! When she is not playing with her kids or hanging out at Church you can find her out for a run or enjoying a rare moment of quite with a book and a cup of coffee.