At this time of year you may be asking yourself, How did I get here? and Why am I doing this?’ I remember feeling that way most every August as I steeled myself for the endless days and nights of fall launch. Even though we aren’t currently in the throws of campus life I’m still preparing for a 2 week stint of single parenting as Jeff departs for Brazil (he will have already left by the time this posts – pray for me!).
Recently I read to my sons from a book titled 50 People Every Christian Should Know
by Warren Wiersbe. I found inspiration in my role as Mommy Missionary in a woman named Katherine Von Bora. She may have been the very first Mommy Missionary and along with her husband, Martin Luther, made the way possible for all evangelical ministry marriages.
She turned an old cloister into a comfortable home on a meager and inconsistent income. I remember in our early years of marriage receiving one time a whopping $10 paycheck from Navs! Wiersbe writes, “Katherine not only cared for him and the household (6 children plus up to 30 – 40 others living there), but she ministered to the needs of people all over Wittenberg. She listened to their problems, gave them care and medicine in their sicknesses, counseled them in their sorrows, and advised them in their business affairs.” Does this sound vaguely familiar? We might not be doing all those things, in addition to raising pigs because our husbands like pork (she really did!), but we are often ministering to many in a variety of ways and all from the hub of our home.
But what I find more inspiring (or intimidating) than Katherine’s to-do list, is how she enhanced and encouraged her husband’s ministry. Together they modeled a ministry centered Christian home for all to see, “The town recognized that the Luther household was an exemplary Christian home, and much of that success was due to Katherine.” Katherine watched many of her meals grow cold while theology was debated and discussed around their table, from which he wrote “one of his finest books, The Table Talk of Martin Luther.” Right now in our home with 3 boys around the table it is hard to have a conversation that doesn’t at some point involve bodily functions – hardly something Jeff will turn into a great work – but we press on!
My favorite story of this couple reads,
“During one very difficult period, Luther was carrying many burdens and fighting many battles. Usually jolly and smiling, he was instead depressed and worried. Katherine endured this for days. One day, she met him at the door wearing a black mourning dress.
“Who died?” the professor asked.
“God,” said Katherine.
“You foolish thing!” said Luther. “Why this foolishness!”
“It is true,” she persisted. “God must have died, or Doctor Luther would not be so sorrowful.”
Her therapy worked, and Luther snapped out of his depression.”
I love her fierce and creative love for her minister husband! And I am inspired by how she enriched his life and ministry with her own contributions setting a great example for every Mommy Missionary to follow.
As you enter into an intense season of ministry and motherhood, know we are praying for you. I hope you too find inspiration in the incredible life of a woman who helped shape a ministry that has lived on to impact us all. Spiritual generations: that is why we do these crazy long days and nights of single parenting, and freshman recruiting, and piles of students shoes by our back door as they crowd in for a meal and a place to belong. Press on little mamas; your work matters and it will impact generations! May these verses encourage you:
Hebrews 13: 18-21 Pray for us. We have no doubts about what we’re doing or why, but it’s hard going and we need your prayers. All we care about is living well before God. Pray that we may be together soon.
May God, who puts all things together,
makes all things whole,
Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus,
the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant,
Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd,
up and alive from the dead,
Now put you together, provide you
with everything you need to please him,
Make us into what gives him most pleasure,
by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah.
All glory to Jesus forever and always!
Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Sherry joined staff in 1997. She robbed the cradle and married a handsome student (gasp!) named Jeff in 2000. Since then they have served in WI, SD and now in CO. They have 3 boys ages 7-12 and there is never a dull moment in their house. 2 years ago Sherry finally got her girl, a black and white lab mix who is her constant shadow. Jeff works with operations and training for collegiate. Sherry enjoys writing and encouraging mommy missionaries when she isn’t busy homeschooling.