I looked in the mirror…the reflection took me by surprise. I smiled, I wasn’t going to allow myself to get discouraged. I knew this was what I was supposed to do, but I had never gone to church like this before. Barry was already waiting by the door for me…I could hear his keys jingle as he fidgeted. We were newlyweds and he was still adjusting to how long it took me to get ready in the mornings. With a knot in my stomach I grabbed my laundry basket and headed to the car…this was no ordinary Sunday.
Barry and I spent many years on staff with Master’s Commission (a church based Bible School and discipleship program). This particular Sunday, the staff and students of Master’s Commission were asked to come to church wearing something that represented their calling. Something that could reflect what God had placed in their hearts during the school year. There was a buzz of excitement when the challenge was presented. Each person longing to show what they felt God was leading them to do with their lives. I knew so many students who felt a call to missions, others to the business world and some to the medical field. I was thrilled thinking about my love for other nations and my hope that one day I could make an impact in foreign countries. Missions was my love, it stirred something deep in my heart…but for some reason I knew that was not the ministerial avenue I was supposed to represent. God had done so much in my life during my years as a student and then as a staff member. But more than any calling, more than any role, I knew in my heart that serving God, my husband and my family would forever be a priority. Despite where God would take Barry and I in our life and ministry together, I could never lose a heart to serve.
As I stood in the middle of the sanctuary… I felt a little insecure. People around me were dressed in their Sunday best. I on the other hand had on one of my favorite dresses, but it was covered by a stained apron. I could see the puzzled look on the faces of those sitting in the pews. I slowly knelt down and began folding the pile of laundry at my feet. One towel and one t-shirt at a time. I felt so out of place, but I knew this simple act of obedience was changing something in me; helping me to understand an aspect of ministry that is often hidden. A ministry from the heart, that reaches to the heart. The ministry of servanthood. As I looked around the sanctuary my heart lifted. I saw dreams of so many represented in the students. The church members were looking around, soaking in the view as we made our way down the aisles. And then I saw other wives and mother’s seated in the pews wiping away tears as they watched me, carrying that laundry basket, wearing a stained apron. They understood me, they knew how I felt. The day to day activities of a wife and mother often go unnoticed, they are not glamorous and they very rarely get praised or rewarded publically. But, they are necessary and vital and even more than the action itself is the heart behind it. A heart that loves and serves where needed.
One of the key things that I learned during those years was that nothing is above or beneath me. No dream is too big for God and no act of service is too small for me. A heart that remains humble, and ready to serve is valuable in ministry. As women I think that we face this more than our husbands, we are often the ones at home with the kiddos, cleaning bottles, and washing clothes. It’s easy to feel that our role is not as important, or that we can so easily be forgotten, sometimes fading into the background. But as we serve and love and give, we are becoming great in the eyes of the One who matters most and we are making a difference in the lives which matter most to Him.