“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19
I think this might be the mantra of every mission-sending organization on our planet. It’s a good mantra to have. I’ve spent the last 9 years trying to understand how to live out the Great Commission, but lately I have been reflecting on who I am ministering to and who am I living out the Gospel in front of the most?
The answer is my kids.
I forget all too often that during this period, Paul and I are their disciplers. Recently, while sharing a meal with our teammates, I was reminded of it. My job as their mother is to point them to Jesus.
The most important thing I will do is send Gingernut and Lil’ Paul out into the world as adults who follow Jesus with their whole hearts, who understand what it means to pick up their cross and follow him. This is a great responsibility, one that I don’t take lightly, but one that I sometimes forget to make the focus of my mothering. I too often allow the stresses of life, the tantrums and fits, the disobedience, the lack of energy and sometimes want I feel to overshadow it. God forgive me.
When my children leave “the nest” I want them to go into the world seeing it through the lens of the Gospel. I don’t want them to have an American worldview or an Italian worldview but a Gospel worldview.
This is my great task…to prepare, teach, show and encourage them in the ways of Christ. If they are the only two people I disciple over the next 14-plus years, then I will count the time well-spent. I could reach all of Salerno, but if I fail to show and teach my children what it means to be a follower of Jesus, what have I really accomplished?
God gave two children – two of His children – to raise not in a religious household, but in a household that lifts up and makes much of His name. This responsibility, this great task, has driven me to my knees in prayer – prayers that He works and moves despite my weaknesses and sin, prayers for discernment and wisdom as I teach my children, prayers for learning how to rest in Him when the days are long and my patience in short, prayers for the ability to do everything in love even when I don’t want to.
So, next summer, when we are back in the U.S. and you ask me how I spent my time, I’ll certainly tell you about the Italians I know and what I do at the church, but mostly I tell you about my children.