When I was young, I had big plans. I was going to be the next Jane Pauly. Yes, I’m showing my age. I even entered an essay contest through Sassy magazine explaining my career goals. I was going to get my hands dirty as a reporter. I was going to work my way up. I wanted to eventually anchor a national newscast. I didn’t really care if it was morning or night. I just knew that I would work my way up through the system taking on the men one by one. When I was thinking about those things, I wasn’t thinking about church. I wasn’t thinking about what I could do for God’s kingdom. My only thought was what I would do for me, maybe I would bring someone to justice along the way, earthly justice that is. I also thought I would live in New York City, single, with no children, forever.
How things change. I started college with a journalism major. By the time I walked graduated my major had changed. I was a double major in Criminal Justice and Public Relations. The biggest change is that I was married. Goals shift. Things change. I had new goals. I still don’t think one goal involved anything about what I was supposed to do for God.
Now I have children. I am the mother to three daughters. They are stubborn. They are strong. They are opinionated. I know that as parents, it’s our job to shape them. It’s our job to instill their faith. This is too important to trust a youth minister with or a Sunday school class. It’s daunting and scary and fun and rewarding. My goals are very different from the goals I had 19 years ago when I was graduating high school.
I remember as a teenager thinking that the husband being the spiritual leader for the family was stupid. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t submit to anyone. I wouldn’t be held under anyone’s thumb. It’s true what they say, hindsight is 20/20. I didn’t understand the power of my position. I didn’t understand how important my role is. I had no idea how much I would love the life that is described. No one told me.
Jeremiah 29:11 speaks to me now. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope…” Looking back I don’t think I understood that there was a hope. I want my girls to know that. I think it’s something I need to start teaching them now, before they are jaded teenagers, before they are away from the influence of a wonderful youth group, before they are out of my grasp.
I’m praying for my girls right now. I am afraid of them becoming the girl that think she’s knows better. The girl that no longer believes in God because he wouldn’t give her what she sees as her rightful place. The girl that turns her back on her faith because God blessed her enough to make her a woman.
As their mother, this is what I plan to tell my daughters. Jesus said that the greatest command is love. As women, we demonstrate our love outwardly. It’s evident. We are a huge example. Yes, call calls different people to do different things. Most of the time he calls people who are the most talented, the most educated or the most equipped for a task. He did call each of us to the great commission. We have a huge role to play.
I think God’s perfect plan works. I’ve never been one who wants to stand back and watch others do everything. As women, we are the first line of defense. I spend more time with my children than anyone else. I have to try and be the light of Jesus for them every second of every day. I am their first example. I am driving their friends around, inviting them over, taking them places. I have been given the perfect opportunity to influence a multitude of people. We all need to spread God’s word, we were given the opportunity to spread it to the children who can take it home to their parents. As a woman, I’m the first pitcher on the mound while the boys are still trying to warm up in the bull pen. If I do my job, they can close out the game.
In my old age, I don’t need to serve the Lord’s supper to feel important or be part of a family. I have no need to stand in a pulpit and preach. I am far too busy getting in the world and talking to people to have to concentrate on that. When my girls ask me why can’t they lead singing, I won’t say it’s okay you can once a year on Ladies’ Day. I will tell them instead to concentrate on worshiping God with their voices whenever they want. If someone else hears that, it will touch them in more ways than leading a worship service. If my girls ask me why they can’t preach, I’ll tell them they don’t need to. They can lead by example and study. They can go out in the mission field and take care of people who have no idea who God is.
I plan to tell my girls to find something they love to do and figure out how they can do it for God. Arleigh wants to be a teacher. I told her that is a great way to live out the great commission. I told her to think about how each of her teachers showed her Jesus and how great it will be for her to do that for other children.
After all that, I pray. I know the answers aren’t mine, their God’s. I pray that he moves in their hearts to make them motivated for Him and not the world. I pray that he gives me the words and the encouragement to grow workers for Him.