January 2011 CWM Interview
Welcome
Need Your Help
Interview
Final Thoughts
Welcome

 

 

The Voices of Christian Working Moms

Newly Released Book
written by
Author Kimberly Chastain

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.
Welcome to all our new CWM subscribers. To find out more about all the different opportunities through CWM check out www.christianworkingmom.com. On the archives page you will find previous issues of CWM newsletters.

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.

Interview

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 out?
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.

Final Thoughts

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 free@kimberlychastain.com.