Linnette: Today, I am so excited to introduce you to Beth Shank who serves with our Navigator Church Ministry (NCM). Beth and her husband James have four kids: Matthew (12), Zachary (10), Eliana (8), and Jeremiah (6) and currently reside in Colorado Springs, CO.
Hi Beth, introduce yourself to our group.
Beth: My name is Beth Shank and I have been married to James Shank for 15 years. We have 4 kids—Matthew, 12; Zachary,10; Eliana, 8; and Jeremiah, 6. We have lived in Colorado Springs, CO for 6 years. We moved from Southern California in 2011 when my husband accepted a job with Eagle Lake with The Navigators. In the fall of 2012, we transitioned from Eagle Lake to Navigator Church Ministries where we are currently serving.
I’d love to hear more about your life as a mom. What do you enjoy about being a mom?
I love the moments that I see glimpses of my kids’ hearts or personalities that no one else gets to see. It feels like such an honor to get to know them so well. I love seeing their silliness or when they let their guard down. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times I want to pull my hair out or bang my head against the wall because of their antics, but those moments are definitely outweighed by the moments that literally take my breath away with how much I love each of them individually and collectively.
That is so sweet. Tell me about your work with NCM. What do you like about it and how do you see God at work in it?
My husband and I love leading small groups on discipleship or training others in what discipleship looks like. We regularly laugh about the fact that we are not bringing new or ground-breaking information to these groups or churches. In fact, more often than not, it is like we are just giving people permission to go out and live the Great Commission. But, to see that lightbulb moment go off in a group when they realize that they CAN be a disciple-maker, is absolutely amazing. It is so fulfilling to walk alongside someone as they work up the courage to strike up a conversation with a neighbor, or a co-worker or a mom at school and to see where God takes it from there. We are so passionate about discipling because we have seen the way it changes lives and it is so fulfilling to live out a calling to teach others to be disciple-makers.
I love hearing your heart for disciple-making. What has it been like to try and make disciples during the child-rearing years?
I remember shortly after we transitioned to NCM, I was praying and praying for God to bring a woman into my life that I might disciple. I was doing a study on discipling and one of the questions was to think back and remember a woman or women that had a significant impact on my faith journey. Immediately, God brought my own mom to mind. That was my “lightbulb” moment.
God so gently reminded me that He put 4 little ones in my home and my job was to disciple them. Our youngest had some pretty significant health issues, so God knew at that time, with all that was going on in our home, I did not have the capacity to truly disciple someone else. He showed me the importance of spiritually feeding my own kids. I know that sometimes that does not seem as glamorous and there were times I longed for a break from the day-to-day stuff at home, but when I listened to what God was calling me to do at that moment, there was such freedom and peace. 5 years later, I can say that God has definitely answered my prayer for women to disciple, but I have learned to lay each opportunity at His feet before going forward.
That is such a good reminder, Beth. We have these children who have been entrusted to us, and we can start with them! Do you have any other advice for us moms in the collegiate work?
My favorite advice to moms is trust that God knew exactly what He was doing when He asked you to steward that child. Parenting books can be great, but sometimes we need to just sit & be still with God, with our kid, with our husband. God has fully equipped you to parent the children He has entrusted to you. Feel confident in the decisions you make and the boundaries you set for your family. The amount of pressure that moms put on themselves is crazy and when you add ministry into the mix, the pressure just intensifies.
So many people are just longing for relationship, and relationships cannot be neat and tidy all the time. So, if you feel up for it, let that college student into your home when it’s a mess and the kids are crying. Admit to yourself and to them that you don’t have it all together, but you love Jesus and are doing the best that you can. It’s amazing the doors that open when we are vulnerable and available. And please, don’t try to be something that you are not. If you love to cook, by all means, cook a lovely meal, but if you would rather do anything but, put out some chips and call it a day. The important thing is that we want to point people to Jesus, and I just don’t think we can do that if we are pretending to have it all together.
That is so true. I love how you said “put out some chips and call it a day!”
How can we be praying for you guys?
We would definitely appreciate prayers that God would open doors for us with churches in the area. We LOVE what we do, but it is hard to find churches that want to partner or accept outside help. Pastors are wary, understandably, and hesitant to jump on board. In the meantime, we continue to reach out to our neighbors and community, so please continue to pray for the relationships we are building there. We want others to see Jesus through us. Additionally, our family has had a number of health/medical issues. Please just pray for a hedge of protection around us and that we would fix our eyes on Jesus, no matter what storm we are facing.
Thank you for sharing with us today, Beth! We are glad to pray these things with you.
Interested in hearing more from the mouths of mommy missionaries? Check out our previous “In Her Own Words” interview series by following the links below: