There are often more women who want to be discipled than there are staff or women in the church to accommodate the need! When we were on campus, Jim was working long hours and our three boys were home 24/7. I wanted to invest the small fraction of time I had wisely into college women. As I desired to be active in ministry, an old adage seemed applicable, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Over time we had to creatively commit to my engagement with women one on one and it began to evolve.
Early on I would switch places with Jim to go to campus and meet with women. It often felt like a flurry of activity: getting dressed in presentable clothes, exchanging kids with Jim, driving to campus, finding a parking place, getting into the Student Union and meeting with women. Some days the gals didn’t show up after all of the effort I had put into getting there! Then I’d rush home to nurse the baby, make dinner and Jim would head back to campus.
One day Jim said to me, “These women don’t need you to model coming to campus to meet with them. They need to see what life is like in your home.” Initially I was not excited about the idea of welcoming women into the “reality” of my small home teeming with boys, Legos, a crusty kitchen floor and laundry. The idea began to sink in slowly and it seemed practical. If a gal cancelled at the last minute, I was at home and life went on as usual. Women came into our home and saw both the good and the bad. They watched as I interacted with the boys, handled conflict, got interrupted, and they experienced me investing into their lives in the midst of it all. It was good to be meeting with women and for my children to see me investing in others. Often one-to-ones in our home didn’t go as I planned or hoped. Still, the Lord was working and those meetings accomplished what the Lord intended.
As time went on someone shared an idea that really helped me. Have one woman watch my children while I met with another woman. Then, have them switch places. WOW! Why didn’t I think of that? There is a cost to giving our lives away and it is OK for the women to gain an understanding of the effort it takes to invest in them.
I would explain to the women I discipled that I didn’t want my sons to feel like they had to make a sacrifice in order for me to be involved in campus ministry. Therefore I asked the women to invest in my boys while I invested in them. One woman was an art major and did crafts with them (I cringe at the thought of doing crafts so it was something special that the boys enjoyed). The women got: great experience with my boys, time with me, and a vision of what disciplemaking could look like in their future mommy years.
That season of discipling in the Mommy Years reminds me of this verse: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself (herself) be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25) As I met with women and they invested in my sons, we were all being “watered.” May the Lord water you with His Word as you bring blessing to your household and the women you have the opportunity to disciple. I am praying that you will find a method that works for you during your current season of discipling in the Mommy Years.