As the mom to a four-year-old and a two-year-old, there are times when life feels limited. Whether deciding against hiking a particular trail because it would be too far for the kids to walk, or not going to an event because there isn’t childcare provided, or simply selecting kid-friendly restaurants because there are times when they simply won’t sit politely at the table and eat all of their veggies. Life becomes messy and while children are a tremendous blessing, there are times when it feels like you are giving up opportunities.
As an analytical person, I tend to evaluate situations prior to stepping into them. That means that prior to saying, “yes,” I determine whether or not I have to have my girls with me or if there will be childcare, if they are with me, will they be a distraction? Is it safe for my kids to be around this particular environment? I find myself using my children as excuses as to why I can’t serve.
Of course, there are always exceptions, but how often have I turned down an opportunity to serve because I didn’t think they were old enough or there was a potential danger of some sort? How many times have I missed an opportunity to share Jesus, not only to the individual I would be serving, but to my children as they experienced what it looks like to love like Jesus loved?
It is all to easy to see my children as an excuse of why I can’t. Please understand that I adore my girls. I want to spend time with them and to raise them with wisdom and discernment. I chose to stay home with them and know that I will never regret making that decision.
But I have seen someone on the side of the road, wondered their story, but chose to not get out of the car and start a conversation because I had my girls with me and I wasn’t sure if it would be “safe.” I have seen opportunities to go on a mission trip but didn’t because I thought that if I had my girls with me, they would be a distraction for the other people and it would end up being pointless.
I want my girls to grow up thinking that occasionally paying for the car behind them in a drive-thru is a normal thing to do. I want them to be bold enough to not just offer a homeless woman lunch, but offer to sit and have lunch with her so that they can hear her story and tell her about Jesus. I want my girls to see how Kyle and I serve others so that it will become a natural and instinctive way for them to live their own lives.
I will continue to use discernment in when to say yes and how to serve, but I will not make that decision solely based on the fact that I have young children. I want to have adventures by serving and I want to have those adventures with my entire family–no matter what their age.