When the Father called our family to full-time overseas service, we weren’t actually even a family yet. We were merely two college students moving towards an engagement and marriage and starting to process what the future would look like.
When the Father said to go serve in East Asia, specifically among Muslim peoples, we were married and knee-deep in graduate school, trying to get to the finish line of those degrees that we believed would help us serve well on the field.
Fast forward several years, and you will find us living in a small East Asian city where the majority of people around us are minorities, including Hui, DongXiang, Bao An, and Salar (among others). We have small children and are nearing the end of another pregnancy that will grow our family even more.
Since transparency is important in this type of work, I can honestly say that the college student with big starry eyes of many years ago would likely be somewhat shell-shocked to see the life we live now. A doer by nature, I had big dreams to change the world. And while motherhood was always something I knew would be a part of my life, I really didn’t know how the Father would combine my dreams of serving Muslim people and serving my family at the same time.
In this line of work, there are often reports to be filled out and quotas to be met—while not completely hard and fast, they do exist and sometimes loom overhead. As a mom, that can be quite daunting. My heart desires to share not on the Gospel, but life in general with the Muslim friends around me. Yet, there are literally days when I do not set foot outside my apartment. There are toddlers to be potty-trained, preschoolers to be taught, mouths to be filled, naps to be taken, meals to be prepared, and sanity to be maintained. There have been many days that I looked at the clock and wondered where my day went, feeling a deep guilt that I hadn’t spoken to a person outside my family, much less shared the Gospel with anyone that day.
In moments like these, the Father is abundantly gracious to remind me that He called me to this place, knowing exactly who I would be and what my life would look like. He gave me an amazing husband who can care for our kids so that I can go volunteer at the local hospital a few hours a week and love on hordes of Muslim ladies who come seeking medical attention. He gives me snippets of conversations with other moms as we’re out and about running errands or letting the kids burn off energy. He allowed me to make good friends (all Muslim ladies) simply through the many facets of life that pregnancy affects- one friend helps me get sonograms, another helps me get bloodwork, and yet another offers advice of what I should eat.
These relationships aren’t often matured over long meals or steaming cups of tea. Instead, they are usually passing comments as I chase my kids. However, the Father uses every single one of these opportunities to teach me to take advantage of every single moment to honor him with my life.
It’s no coincidence that there are hundreds of Muslim moms inside my apartment complex alone. It’s no coincidence that He leads me into conversation with these mamas. It’s no coincidence that the hospital worker who chose to help me out was a Muslim mom. They were each handpicked by the Father to cross my path that day. It’s merely my responsibility to love these ladies well, seek to serve their families in the moments that He provides, and share the Gospel at every opportunity.
While there are days that I long for a break from the chaos and for the opportunity to leave my apartment without wondering what to do with my kids, I trust that this phase of life is special. There will come a day when I won’t be telling that other mom how to sleep train her kids. Instead, I’ll be encouraging her through the moody teenage years or the sad empty nest phase.
The Father calls women to serve him in all phases of our lives- single, married, motherhood, empty-nesting, and possibly even as widows. We’d be remiss to forget that there are also Muslim women around us in these very stages as well whose hearts are yearning for more.
So, if we constantly wait for the right moment to begin serving and sharing well, we will never do it. Live in the phase you are in now and let every breath, be it exhausted, exasperated, or fully refreshed, praise Him.