Photography by Christi Muhle
Being a mom is not easy. I never knew the depth of my sin, my pride, my lack of patience, and my need for control until I became a mom. I have never been so humbled and so in need of God’s help until I became a mom. Yet despite my sin, and all the times I have messed up and yelled at my kids, God has been patient with me. He teaches me how to truly love them and raise them up to know Him. He has grown a passion within me to sow seeds of faith into these precious kids living in my home. He has taught me that this is not just being a mother to my children, but a mother in Christ to them.
Becoming a “mother in Christ” to children was actually a calling that God placed in my heart in college. He gave me a passion for sharing His love with them. It was at that time that God really took hold of my heart, and grew me in my relationship with Him. I started to realize life was more than getting a job, having kids, and being successful by the world’s standards.
I realized life was about living WITH God; knowing His peace, encouragement, and love. And life was about living FOR God; really living life to the fullest to bring Him honor and glory. I wanted to live my life this way, and over the years, I have found so much peace and fulfillment in doing so.
I married a wonderful man of God who desired this kind of life too. He works as a physician in our community and uses his profession to encourage and help adults through their struggles. I work as a speech pathologist part time, but mostly love doing children’s ministry and teaching and training my kids. My daughter is the oldest and loves doing ballet, reading and writing, and making crafts. My son is two years younger and is the enthusiastic one in our family, particularly about superheroes, sports, and spending time with friends.
When my kids were really little, I would pray for them, and as I continued to seek God in how He wanted me to live FOR Him, I really believe He inspired me to see being a mom as a special calling to grow my kids up to know and love Him too. He showed me tools to use and put a passion in my heart to share His love with them. I used a variety of songs, picture Bibles, books, movies, and devotionals to teach them how much Jesus loves them.
When Bethany turned three, I had an idea (which I believe God put in my heart) to teach her the letters of the alphabet; not the traditional A is for apple and B is for ball. Instead He lead me to link the alphabet to character traits of like letters that point to the heart of Jesus. The ideas kept coming, but I could not find the resource I was looking for, so God inspired me to write a curriculum for her. She learned so many different character traits, memorized 30 different Bible verses to song, and grew in her excitement for Jesus and awareness of her character at a young age. We put all her character traits and Bible verses on her wall so she would remember them.
I so enjoyed teaching my kids about Jesus, that God began giving me the desire to serve in children’s ministry at my church, since I would be teaching my kids as well. I was timid at first to teach in front of large groups of children, but God has a way of removing fear when it keeps you from following the plans He has for you.
Before long I was teaching, first through writing and performing puppet shows, and then large group story time. God really removed a lot of fear and insecurity by using me like this, and I was growing in my passion for teaching children about His love. But there was something missing- another part of His plan for me- another adventure around the corner.
My church had a ministry that reached out to a community nearby. I had served in a ministry similar to this in college and always felt that God would call me to do this again one day. I felt God tugging on my heart and wondered if this was God’s next step for me. I made a few phone calls, and before I knew it, I was asked to lead VBS in the community with the youth from church! This wasn’t exactly how I thought I would begin to get involved, but sometimes you just have to jump in when God says, “Jump!” It was a special experience for me and really grew me in my faith.
The Lord used that experience to ultimately start a weekly Bible study out in the neighborhood. God gave me a team to work with, and we just went out there and did God’s work and watched Him move in children’s lives. There were a lot of questions I had for God like, “Can I do this with little kids??” “Do I really have time??,” but as I have truly experienced, when God calls, He makes a way.
I continue to serve in the community weekly, and I have seen such exciting things happen in the lives of the kids, that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My children have always come out with me, and serve right alongside me. Whether it’s playing with the other kids, setting up chairs, or sharing what God has taught them, they have been a part of a lifestyle of ministry since they can remember. It has been such a rewarding thing, that God has put a deep desire in my heart to encourage other parents to get their children involved with ministry opportunities as well.
So that’s my story- just an ordinary mom with the same struggles and desires, trying to live an unordinary life with WITH God and FOR God. Because of my experiences with children, I would love to share what God is teaching me and the resources I have found helpful to encourage and motivate you on your journey of growing your kids for God’s kingdom!