Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Missional Motherhood

Ann Voskamp and her oldest son, Caleb, are in Haiti this week with Compassion Canada. Today, she writes a letter to her son... What You Really Need to Know Before Your Step Out into the World... beautiful, beautiful, beautiful blog post... a must read, especially if you are a mom!
This is how our God is known from all the other gods, for standing with the weak. Who will be strong enough to do this? Will you be known what our God is known for and love who God loves and give to the poor like God gives? The greatest steps out into the world never step away from the poor. {from Ann's blog post}
What a heart-warming, thought-provoking, God-honouring letter... same words I would've love to write to my own children if I was as gifted a writer as Ann, that is... so, I will just have my children read Ann's blog post instead! :-) My little man is actually reading it right now as I blog...
Because the thing is: I don’t want you to get all A’s in life. I want you to get life. I want you to get God. {from Ann's blog post}
Yes, that... it's my prayer too... the cry of my heart... to raise two truly great kids!

Learning about creation at the Creation Museum (Petersburg, Kentucky), 2007.

Speaking of raising up truly great children... two weekends ago, I had the privilege of hearing Helen Lee, author of the book The Missional Mom, teach at a conference for moms called Redefining Motherhood. What a treat!

It was very encouraging to hear that hubby and I are indeed parenting in a way that pleases God... in a way that will launch our kids into greatness, not as the world defines great to be... but great in God's Kingdom.

Admiring God's creation at Peggy's Cove (Halifax, Nova Scotia), 2006.

Packing Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, 2007.

Helen Lee started her talk off with this question: What are the hopes and dreams you have for your children? My answer: To be great in God's Kingdom.

Such a simple answer... yet, not easy to be lived out, especially in a society where we feel pressured to fit into a certain mold, to conform to the patterns of this self-absorbed, materialistic world. But what does God want for us? This...
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2, NIV 1984.

Packing care packs for the homeless. Christmas, 2008.

In her talk, Helen Lee suggested Four "R"s that will help us to redefine motherhood... to become more missional in our approach. Here they are...

1. Reduce Busyness:
~ An acronym for BUSY is this: Burdened Under Satan's Yoke.
~ We need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our family's life.
~ Don't become so busy with the things of this world that we settle for a mediocre version of our faith.
2. Reject Success:
~ If we aim for success as the world defines success, we will soon see that someone will always have more than us!
~ We need to look at success {the world's definition} as something that we graciously accept if God chooses to bless us in that way. It should never be our life's goal.
3. Recalibrate the Centre:
~ God should be the centre of our family.
~ Our children need to see faith authentically lived out in our family.
~ There needs to be a tangible difference in how a family of faith lives versus how an unbelieving family lives.
4. Reclaim God's Mission:
~ God has a dream for each one of us.
~ God is on-mission. Where is God sending you? 
Christmas cookies for our local fire fighters. Christmas, 2007.

Shoebox Time! Fall, 2008.

Donating her hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Summer, 2009.

Helen Lee also shared eight markers of a missional family... how our lives can become missional outposts... a conduit from which blessings flow to those who are in need... a family with a Kingdom purpose!

A backpack drive for needy kids... my boy's 10th birthday party!
September, 2010.

Leading their school to pack over 450 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Fall, 2010.

First marker of a missional family... GENEROSITY... living simply and giving generously... marked by sacrificial living.

Trick-or-Canning! Halloween, 2010.

Second marker of a missional family... SENSITIVITY... asking God to help us see what He wants us to see... hearts broken for the things that break God's heart.

Dinner for homeless folks. Christmas, 2010.

Third marker of a missional family... UTILITY... each person using their gifts as service to God.

Christmas presents for inner-city children. Christmas, 2010.

Fourth marker of a missional family... DIVERSITY... taking intentional steps to building relationships with people who are different than us... with people who make us uncomfortable... stepping out of our comfort zone.

Using his Christmas money to buy socks and underwear for the homeless.
January, 2011.

Fifth marker of a misisonal family... HOSPITALITY... realizing that we are blessed beyond measure... using the blessings we have received to bless others... inviting people into our lives.

Serving a meal to the homeless. January 2011.

Sixth marker of a missional family... COMMUNITY... we need to be on-mission with community. {Side note: This is why we are so thankful for our church family!}
"... nothing can be called missional until the mission of God is defined, which means nothing can be called missional until it is connected to Jesus and the kingdom of God/the Age to Come, and nothing can be missional if it is not shaped through the local church." ~ Scot McKnight.

Helping to cube cheese for a homeless dinner. January 2011.

Seventh marker of a missional family... HUMILITY... asking God to show us what's best... where He would like us to go... to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with Him.

Missions immersion trip to the Philippines. Summer 2011.

Eighth marker of a missional family... INTREPIDITY... to be bold, to be radical, to be brave!

Venturing into the slums of Cebu City where our Compassion LDP student lives.
Summer 2011.

Hand-pumping water in the Philippines. Summer, 2011.

It was a great conference... lots to ponder, to digest... and to put into action! I learned that missional motherhood will produce children who are... compassionate, creative, humble, justice-seeking, spirit-led, righteous and self-sacrificial. The very values I want my kids to possess!

Shoebox Packing Party! Fall, 2011.

Packing care packages for the homeless instead of getting gifts.
Christmas, 2011.

Serving dinner to the homeless with our church family.
February, 2012.

A BBQ for inner-city children. May, 2012.

A letter-writing evening... writing our sponsor children. Spring, 2012.

What will our family's story be? 
How about you, friend? What will your family's story be?
What would the world look like if Christians didn’t care about keeping up with the Joneses but about keeping company with Christ?
Maybe we could be brave enough to be different, have less and be more, and change the world?
~ Ann Voskamp.
Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!


  1. This is a beautiful post. I love how active you are with including your kids in mission work. This is Kevin and I's goal as well, with our kids. Last week the girls and I went to a local homeless shelter (housing/apartments) for families, and set up a room (stocked it with basic living needs - bedding, bathroom towels, kitchen stuff, etc). When we were done, we held hands and prayed for the family that will be moving in. It was a beautiful moment.

    Serving God WITH my kids is a passion of mine.

    Have you read Raising Arrows or The Mission-Minded family? Both good books!

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words, Jill. We've always included the kids ever since they were very, very young. Now that they're older, it's just a "normal" and "natural" part of life for them... being on-mission!

      Love what you did at the homeless shelter last week... so awesome!

      I haven't read both books... I'll have to check them out!