Motherhood has its joys. The first time your newborn smiles at you. The moment she finally reads her favorite storybook to you, after you’ve recited it time after time to get her to fall asleep at night. The drawing you proudly hang on the fridge for all to enjoy. What about the difficulties?

These are the moments that we as mothers try to forget. We don’t particularly enjoy talking about them. We smile and say that everything is wonderful when asked. For the most part, it is. But still, the trials as there.

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Matthew 25:40

When the doors are closed and the co-ops and extra curricular activities are over, it is then that we are faced with the questions. The wondering. Have I made the right choice? Should I have sacrificed my degree or career to home educate my children? Are my kids missing out? Is our family doing the right thing?

Right before I got married I was on the mission field. I taught and served in a third world environment. The very best of the food available was still not enough to keep me healthy. I began losing an unhealthy amount of weight, and hair. The heat was unbearable. The children I stayed with and taught used animal manure to “clean” the paths they walked on in their bare feet. Even so, there were many, MANY joys associated with that experience! The hunger that the children had, to learn about the things of the Lord, was priceless. The smiles on their faces were always welcoming. Their thankfulness for any small gesture bestowed upon them was incredible. The moments of joy throughout that experience genuinely outweighed the hardships and difficulties!

Why is it that so many of us are willing to sacrifice our lives on the mission field, in our music ministry, for our church or for the cause of a particular ministry? I believe our intentions are valid. We truly care about the needs of the people we are ministering to. We know that caring for the poor and needy is commanded by the Lord and find great joy in surrendering ourselves to do so, even when it is a difficult sacrifice.

If you have chosen to be a stay at home mom, and an educator then know this. You have a ministry! The word “ministry” comes from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning “to serve” or douleuo, meaning “to serve as a slave.” You have chosen to serve. This means putting those whom you are serving before your own personal needs. Yes, at times you might even feel as though you are a slave! When the difficulties arise and the questions come flooding in, you might wonder how you got to the place you are at.

Be encouraged, mom, what you are doing is worth it! Your children are precious in the sight of the Lord and are worth it! You might not have a title as a mighty missionary. You might not be labeled a praise and worship leader. You might not be the pastor of a church or the head of a powerful ministry. Honestly though, why do those titles and positions sound glamorous? They are difficult, hard work, just like motherhood! We need to stop feeling as though we need to be recognized by our church, peers or family. We need to forget about titles, recognition or validation. Ministry is about serving others. It is not about a monthly newsletter, website our powerpoint presentation that we can share. It is about self-sacrifice. It is about serving the Lord. When we serve our children, the least of these, we are in fact serving the Lord! Seek joy in the difficult times. Press though and know that you are not alone!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10