Have you ever watched someone else living your dream, the thing you really, really wanted for your life?
As I cut the crusts off my kids’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I listened to my young, single friend talk passionately about her upcoming trip back to Cambodia. Before her furlough she’d worked with children in an orphanage and discipled teenage girls. Now, she’ll use her nursing degree in a medical clinic, building relationships, and sharing about Jesus.
As I dropped the carefully cut sandwich triangles in front of my boys, I thought back to when I had dreamed of living overseas for the gospel. Young, ambitious, and filled with hope, I was going to give my life to whatever far away place God put in front of me. “Anywhere, Lord!” I loaded up on evangelism classes, and earned a minor in missions. I was even engaged to a man aimed at the world, a missions major. Together, we couldn’t wait to follow Christ to the ends of the earth.
Ten years later, the missions-major and I are happily married, but we’re not overseas. The Lord hasn’t opened those doors, at least not yet. Instead, we’re making disciples in the suburbs of Houston with our four young children, living out God’s mission in a much different way. Thankful and happy as I am to be a wife and a mother (and I am!), I still feel an enormous burden for the peoples living in darkness, waiting to hear the good news of a Savior. Aside from cutting sandwiches in the shapes of African nations, I’ve had to ask again and again how this missionary heart for the world can keep beating and acting inside this suburban mommy life.
Stay-at-Home With the World
Picking up the mantle of stay-at-home mom or wife doesn’t demand laying down my desire to see the world surrender to God in worship. I really believe we can have both. I can serve as a wife and mother and keep my eyes fixed on missions — all from the relative comfort of my very own home.
Isaiah tells us the Lord wants his “sons from afar” and his “daughters from the ends of the earth.” And that, “everyone who is called by my name whom I created for my glory" (Isaiah 43:6–7). There’s work to be done! God desires for all to hear and he has children who’ve yet to hear his voice.
God’s heart is to redeem the world, to gather his people from every nation. One day, he will be worshiped by people from every tribe and tongue. Until that day comes, we should set our lives to making his name known among all those peoples. Our hearts should grow and grow for God’s glory across the globe, because he cares about his glory among every people, in every place.
So What Can This Busy Mom Do?
Even if we have no plans to physically move and live in a foreign land, if we’re among those who’ve heard and received the gospel and been grafted into God’s people, our hearts should have felt a seismic shift — from our little, personal perspective to God’s grand, global perspective. And when that shift happens in our hearts, and in our home, there are lots of little things we can do that, by God’s power, may have an impact around the world.
1. We Can Listen and Learn
Branch out and learn about the unique people and nations God created — every one of them in his image. See how similar you are in regards to sin and neediness. We have one massive thing — our desperation for forgiveness — in common with every person in every place on the planet. Instead of ignoring people you can’t see in Houston, we can come to know and love them through resources like Joshua Project. Love moves toward need, but not when it doesn’t see the needs.
2. We Can Teach Our Kids
As you listen and learn, bring your kids along for the journey. Show them what God shows you about the world, and help them understand it’s all a part of the world our God created. Teach them the insufficiencies of other religions and the sufficiency of Christ. Teach them cultural awareness and give them a firm grasp of the truth as a foundation and lens through which to see it all. Ask God to soften their hearts for lost people all over the world.
3. We Can Pray
Pray for unreached people groups, for God’s word to go out, and for people to repent and come to faith. Pray for God to send workers into the fields. And pray that the Holy Spirit would open eyes and hearts so that God’s chosen children would find their real, lasting family.
4. We Can Give
Identify ways that you can give your time, money, and resources to supporting what God is doing across the world. Help fund those who are going or volunteer to pray for their specific needs and work. Partner with them sacrificially and joyfully, knowing the worthiness of God’s word going out to all peoples.
5. We Can Go
Even if you can’t live there long-term, go and see God’s big world for yourself. See all kinds of people who are really, really different from you. Connect with them so you’ll have a greater passion to pray for them when you come home. Put faces on the gospel poverty and pain we read about. And witness the good things God is doing through the church, even in the hard places.
Let’s reflect God’s desire for a global family in our families. We can’t settle for the American dream, when we’ve known something better, more worthy, and far more global — God’s eternal kingdom. Let’s live with a heart that beats and pleads for God’s glory and global missions, whether it’s in our kitchen in Houston or on the mission field in the Middle East.
Where you and your children lay your head at night doesn’t keep you from serving God for the sake of the nations. This is your mission — local and global — to see God’s name glorified throughout the earth until the day when every knee everywhere will bow.