Four years ago, I had found my place. A place in which my own talents, gifts, and creativity could shine. I was in control of my department, I was the go-to person for everything. I was working on staff at our church with the kids, and I was completely in my element. I would be introduced as “Megan Elford, Director of Children’s Ministries … and oh, yeah, her husband is the Sound Guy”. It may not have been important to anyone else, but after being “just a mom” for several years, and holding down disposable jobs before then, to find my niche and to be recognized for it was an amazing feeling. And I loved the feeling of being the boss for all things kid-related.
Things started to change when we found out we were expecting Boo, 5 years after the birth of our second child. We started to realize that God was calling me out of that ministry, to come back to investing my energies into our family again, 24/7. So I worked up until 3 days before Boo was born, even labouring in the church parking lot the day she decided to make her appearance. Once she was part of our lives, and my job was reassigned, I settled back into the Mom-role somewhat uneasily. For awhile people still came to me with questions, I did some work from home to help out where I could, and I still felt that sense of importance.
My husband’s volunteer role continued though, and it demanded about 12 hours a week of his time, 8 of which were on Sundays. But I didn’t realize how important his role really was, until the day IT happened. The day I realized it wasn’t all about me.
We drove together one Sunday morning at 8am because we were down to one vehicle. When we got there, the boys went off to play, and Boo, still being a newborn, stayed with me. I noticed a new mom and baby watching the practice quite intently, and planned to introduce myself to her when I got the chance. Later in the nursery, while nursing our babies, I put on my PR face and struck up a conversation. “Hi, I don’t think I’ve met you before — my name’s Megan.” With a look of relief, she said “Hi! My name is Amber! How old is your little one?” I interpreted the look on her face as one of recognition, thinking she knew my name from others, from the bulletin, the Children’s Ministries literature, or some other means. I was such an integral part of this church, that really, everybody knew my name. Or so I thought. But after some small talk, one question floored me. There was a divine message hidden in the female pitch of this young mother’s voice.
“So,” she said,
“Who’s wife are you?”
Time slowed to a crawl. I blurted out “The Sound Guy.” And she continued talking as if nothing catastrophic had happened. In fact, she didn’t even seem to notice that she had completely obliterated the idol I had built of my own self-importance. Those words, “Who’s wife are you?”, rang in my ears all day and all through the evening.
It started to sink in, slowly but surely, that my role now was not to see myself elevated, held up in some position of pseudo-authority, but to be the one holding up my husband, and my kids. My ministry, unpaid as it was, was now to invest all of my physical, mental and spiritual energies into them, depending on God alone for the refilling of those resources, and not on colleagues and co-workers. I had to look to God to be the one to reward me with encouraging words, since I no longer had colleagues and teams of volunteers to flatter me with their praise. But He never failed, and His words were never hollow.
After all, what better pursuit than to pursue not one’s own happiness,
but the eternal security of one’s own offspring?
The rewards are so much farther reaching than temporal praise and personal fulfillment.