I don’t know about you, but this month
has just flown by. For those of you with school age children
I can’t believe we are half way through the year.
One of the things I have noticed about how quickly time
flies by is that we have to be intentional to spend time
with our children. Spend time just goofing off and enjoying
their hobbies and activities.
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about all the different opportunities through CWM check
On the archives page you will find previous issues of CWM
Need Your Help
Each month we profile a different CWM and
have her share her life as a CWM. These interviews are often
encouraging to each of us and help us realize we are not
alone. I need more CWMs who are willing to be interviewed.
If you are willing to be interviewed, send an email to Kimberly@kimberlychastain.com
and put interview in the subject heading. I will send you
the questions by email, it is practically painless. So,
please help and let us learn more about one another.
This month we have a special treat. Helen
Lee has just written a book called Missional
Mom. She will share with us about her life as a CWM
and about her book. Let’s get started.
So tell us a little about yourself? I’m
41 years old and live in the United States. I have been
married for 15 years and have 3 boys ages 8, 5, and 3.
You have written a book called The Missional
Mom. Just exactly what is a missional Mom?
A missional mom is a mother who continually
asks God how he wants for her to use gifts, talents, passions,
experiences, and education to live out the Great Commandments
and the Great Commission. In other words, a missional mom
is attuned to the world around her and sensitive to how
God would want her to make an impact in that world. And
“world” could mean a mom’s neighborhood,
her kids’ schools, her workplace, her ministry opportunities,
as well as locations around the world. It all depends on
how and where God is seeking to use you.
One of the things you discuss in your book
is it is more important to be “with” God than
“doing” things for God. Can you elaborate on
that some and what does that look like in day to day life?
I think moms sometimes feel great guilt about
not being able to fit in regular devotionals--it’s
hard to find that quiet time in the morning as a mother,
isn’t it? So I want to encourage moms to embrace the
idea that you can be prayerful and listening to His voice
throughout the day, in and around the various activities
of your life. You can have the Bible on your mobile device
and spend a time reading His word while you’re waiting
to pick up your kids or you can be listening to Christian
radio while you’re driving around town. There are
numerous ways you can be filling yourself with His presence,
even if it’s hard to spend dedicated quiet time at
home alone doing so. Sometimes we get so caught up in doing
things for God--whether it’s serving our family, working,
or doing ministry--we forget the importance of staying connected
to God, to keep us filled with his love and Holy Spirit.
Additionally, in all of our mother-related activities, we
can be doing those in a posture of worship to God, so that
they are not just actions, but expressions of praise. For
me, that often means treating those activities that often
are my least favorite--such as laundry!--and recognizing
that as I do that activity to serve my family, I am also
serving the Lord. So we can be very much “with”
God in the midst of anything we do in our mothering life.
When I remind myself that my doing a load of laundry is
not just something to do with a grumble, but a sacrifice
of time and energy that pleases the Lord especially if I
can do it with a cheerful heart, that is a moment I can
be “with” God that makes a difference in my
own spiritual development.
Often, CWMs feel left out at church. In your
book you encourage Moms to be engaged in their church and
community. Any advice you have for the Moms that feel left
I think if you are feeling that your church is not understanding
and recognizing the situation of CWMs in particular, you
need to be willing to communicate that; sometimes it is
not an intentional omission, but just a lack of understanding.
CWMs may have to take the first step to meet with their
church leaders and let them know that it doesn’t help,
for example, to schedule women’s ministry meetings
during the weekdays, or encourage leaders to highlight the
stories and contributions that CWMs make in their workplaces
or in their ministry contributions. Communication is important
in the church, and we can’t assume that the church
always understands the particular context of the CWM.
I think it’s also important for CWMs
to find support with one another. No one understands the
challenges of being CWM than other CWMs! If you don’t
know other CWMs well in your church, take the initiative
and get to know them. You could be starting a friendship
that will provide you with support you can’t get elsewhere.
It doesn’t take many relationships for you to feel
valued and connected in a church--one good friendship with
someone who understands you can make all the difference
in the world!
One of the things you share in the book is
our homes can be missional outposts. What does that mean
and how do we begin to be outposts?
What I mean creating our homes to be “missional
outposts” is that we think of each person in our house
as a missionary--parents and children both--and we support
each person when they have opportunities to love and serve
those outside the home in some way. That means we encourage
our children to find opportunities to love and serve others
in their own contexts, such as in school, or in the neighborhood,
or however and wherever God touches their heart. Similarly,
it means that parents also experience support from one another
and their children when God gives them the opportunity to
be missional. It also means that the whole family strives
to live out God’s mission as a family, which could
be serving together in some way, or intentionally demonstrating
hospitality towards others, or reaching out to other families
in the neighborhood. In all these ways, you are thinking
of your home as the base from which you and your family
members reach out to others as opposed to being the place
where you bunker down and shut out the world. Of course,
we all need times where our home are our havens, but we
can’t just remain in retreat mode from the world;
God calls us to be living out his mission to love Him and
love others, and we cannot ignore that mission.
You homeschool your children, you are a writer,
and active in your church. So how do you balance all the
balls you have in the air?
I’ve learned that every woman is in
her own unique context, and so it is hard to compare one
person’s context to another person’s. But that
having been said, here is how we make it work in our family.
I am married to a professor, so we have some flexibility
with our schedule and our calendar that I take advantage
of when I can! I did the bulk of the writing for my book
in the summertime, when my husband was off from school;
I did the research during the course of the year. My husband
works late two days a week so that he can be home on Fridays,
during which time I also schedule work-related activities.
Four days a week (Mon.-Thurs), I homeschool during the days.
I spend time preparing on the evenings before those four
days. What time I have left goes towards a combination of
work and church ministry. It’s a full life! But the
activities I’m involved with, such as my writing and
my serving in our church’s mercy & justice ministry,
are critical for me--I am called to be involved in those
areas of my life, and it’s important for my kids to
understand that God comes first--even before them! Of course
this doesn’t mean I shirk on my responsibilities at
home. I’m still the one managing the household, for
the most part. But the other “balls in the air”
help give my life balance and purpose alongside the home-related
activities. I wouldn’t want my life any other way!
Any advice you have for stressed out CWMs
who just don’t feel there is enough of her to go around?
There often isn’t enough of a mom to
go around! And that’s just the reality of life, because
children often want more of you than you have to give. Sometimes
my kids are crabby when I have to ask them to give me space
and time to do a work-related or ministry-related task.
But then I gently remind them that I am doing what I am
doing because I am called by God to do so. And when God
calls, we must respond! They learn the important lesson
that as important as they are in my life--and they know
how much I love them and how much I value them--they cannot
take the place of God in my life. And vice versa--I cannot
take the place of God in their life. Ultimately, they will
grow up and have to embrace the idea that no one person
or people can fulfill all of their needs: only God can do
that. Do I feel guilty about having to say no to my kids
at times? Honestly, I don’t. I spend a good amount
of my life already with them, and although they would take
every minute of my day if I could give it to them, that
would not be healthy for any of us!
Anything else you would like to share?
I just want to encourage your readers, that
God values you and knows what your particular life situation
is. And although the church has not always been affirming
of CWMs, I believe that God has absolutely called women
to a variety of vocational paths, and that if they are seeking
his will in their life, they should be affirmed for following
their calling. I hope we can see more conversation in the
church about calling and vocation for women in particular,
and I would even challenge your readers to be willing to
initiate some of those conversations in their own faith
communities. Women who are in the workplace have incredible
missional potential! It’s time we celebrated that
fact and supported those women much more than we do now.
You can also find out more by visiting Helen’s
website at www.themissionalmom.com
I appreciate Helen’s willingness to share with us
and be honest about her own struggles. One of the things
we have done at CWM is having virtual prayer partners. These
women agree to pray for one another and their needs. We
can encourage and support one another. Also, I have often
heard from women they feel they are the one of the few women
who work outside the home in their church. Often, there
is more women who work, but no one has time to organize
events to support one another. So, I encourage you to take
some time and find out who the other CWMs are in your local
church. Thanks Helen for taking time to share with us today.
Children often learn best by watching us do
things. What small ways could your family become a missional
outpost and serve together to meet other’s needs?
I would love to hear how your family serves in your church
or community. Visit www.christianworkingmomsblogspot.com
and post your answers.
Till next time,
Kimberly M. Chastain
Kimberly M. Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian
Working Mom Coach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
She is the author of The Voices of Christian Working Moms,
2 ebooks and an online Bible study. To find out how to receive
coaching tips by email daily, go to http://www.kimberlychastain.com/cwmtips.htm.
To find out more about her books go to www.christianworkingmom.com.
For a free, initial coaching session send an email to email@example.com.