But since showers are such a great opportunity for fellowship, I usually go.
This week there was a baby shower for a couple of fellow missionary wives who are expecting. I certainly was willing to endure my gift-giving stress and possible humiliation of giving the worst gifts ever just for the opportunity to fellowship with these women. The fellowship was sweet. I was very glad I went.
We played a couple of games, ate snacks and cake, talked, got through the dreaded gift giving insecurity panic attack... I sure hope my gifts were useful! And then we had an activity that totally caught me off guard.
The organizer of the shower said, "If you have words of advice or encouragement for these moms who are already moms, let's share it with them."
My life literally flashed before my eyes. I had mere moments to come up with something to tell these two precious ladies. They were already moms, so they knew about feeding and labor and diaper changes and sleepless nights...
But then I thought about what I would want someone to tell me if I were expecting again. I know exactly what I need someone to remind me of everyday. So the words flowed out as if I were speaking to myself...
"Don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself with other mothers. God called you to mother your children, not some other mom. So you will do it differently. And that's OK. Follow how God leads you."
And my own words pricked my heart. That advice doesn't just go for motherhood. It goes for ministry, too. Matter of fact, it pretty much goes for every area in life.
Luke 9:23 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Jesus didn't call us to follow others and to get our approval from them. He calls us to follow Him. It's one thing to seek advice or counsel from others. It's something else to seek our validation from them.
John 21:21-22 "Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord,
and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him,
If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me."
Jesus helped Peter refocus. Peter was concerned about the ministry (specifically the death) of a fellow apostle. Would he go down as a martyr like Peter would? Peter had to learn not to compare himself or his service to the Lord with the service of others. The success or failure of any ministry (including motherhood) isn't decided by how sacrificial or large it is compared to others, but by how faithfully we follow the Lord's lead.
So, when I think about my friends who had home births... am I less successful of a mom because I had a hospital birth? Dare I admit I had to bottle feed all three of my children? Or what about those moms who have children on their field... are they better moms than those who fly back home? Am I a better mom than some of my friends because I homeschool and do a few crafts with my children? Am I a better missionary, or less of a missionary because we don't have the same ministries at our church plant?
A fellow missionary wife teaches in a Bible college. I don't.
Another missionary wife is the "mom" of a children's home. We don't have a children's home, nor do I think I could handle it.
Another missionary woman here administrates a Christian school and I struggle balancing homeschooling my three children.
Another missionary wife works in a thriving children's ministry, while... sigh... I still usually just teach my own two smaller children in our Sunday school class.
But, Lord, what about these other women and their ministries? Mine isn't like that!
"What is that to thee? follow thou me."