Diapers, Red Lights & Popularity

Panic.  Attack. I was sitting at a red light when it happened.  Sitting in my SUV, my 2 boys in tow and it happened.  I had an anxiety attack.  Just sitting there.  Seemingly waiting for a green light to move, to go, and I was suddenly in a sweat, beating heart, mind spinning, stricken with fear. All sitting at a red light listening to the Wiggles. I recovered.  But soon found myself sitting and weeping before the Lord, then screaming and shouting.  Was God pleased at all with me?  Where had I gone wrong?  I was better than this.  How was I making any difference?

A Mom.  A broken Mom.  My visions were gone, probably vanished somewhere between poopy diapers and sleepless nights.  I didn’t go places anymore.  I surely wasn’t reaching the lost.  I put puzzles together, made mac-n-cheese, and disciplined senseless arguing.

Suffocated.

My head spoke of staying home with my boys, keeping our home in order, creating peace for my husband, loving my Lord; but my heart bled with fear.  Dreaded fear like I’d never known until I held my firstborn son.  Fear of doing it all wrong.  Fear of messing it all up.  Fear that was suffocating me.

I thought surely I am worth more than this daily list of chores, sometimes forgetting to shower, and hardly being noticed.  I was equipped for much greater.  But my desperation ran even deeper.  Like a ton of bricks strapped to each ankle was my bondage, my shackles.   With each baby I birthed, it was as if I picked up a few shackles on my way out of the hospital.   Perfectionism. Control.  Pride.  Performance-based living.  Significance in others.  Shackled.  Shackled.

I needed the gospel.  I needed my Jesus.  I needed to let the Holy Scriptures rain down upon my motherhood and fill me with hope.  Hope everlasting.

I am saved by grace through faith when I speak with an impatient harsh voice toward my son who just flooded the entire bathroom.

I can do all things, including changing diapers, making mac-n-cheese, and disciplining senseless arguing, through Christ who strengthens me.

I must go therefore, down the hallway with a cheerful heart, showered and ready for my ministry, and make disciples of all nations.  I greet my boys with gladness.

He rejoices over me with singing and quiets me with His love.  His love is not attached to my perceived greatness or performance.  I’m not popular with hardly anyone, apart from my handsome husband and brave boys.  Fruit comes slow in this ministry.  I’m on my knees.  I talk less.  I listen more.

And so I continue.  I still sit at red lights; now in a mini-van with 3 boys in tow, jamming to Toby Mac.  Our days are crazy, but I’m thankful He does all things well.  My visions are back, just with new faces.  I’m in full-time ministry for the Kingdom.  I get up and put on my full armor cause there’s no doubt I’m going into battle for the day.  I fight for my marriage and I battle for the future hearts of 3 young men.

A babysitter.  The world tells me I’m just a babysitter.  I rethink.  I am an ambassador in my home, for my family, to the glory of my God.  I am a Mom.

  • http://synchopat.multiply.com Patrick Ng

    Hi Julie,

    thanx so much for such an authentic story of your journey… and might I add that you are one heck of a blogger/writer etc. It’s so awesome to see the Lord restoring our sense of dignity and identity thru renewing our perception of us and what we do (HIS point-of-view).

    Although this is a forum for Moms/Wivesin min, reading what I just read has lifted me and straightened me out, cos I’m in the midst of transiting out of a ministry I’ve been with for the last 16 years (and leading it for the last 3) – to go to seminary – a ministry that’s in an outward sense been a big part of my identity.

    Your article has reminded me that “It’s not what we do that makes who we are important, but WHOSE we are that make what we do important.”

    God bless!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Thank you for your encouragement, Patrick. Blessings on you as you transition. Being a military family, transitions without a doubt continue to challenge our character and just where our security and significance lies.

      Grace upon you!

  • Doug Leppard

    I have watched my wife over the years. She is no up front leader, no dynamic driver of new things. BUT….

    We are now in the second stage of life having gone through the years described by the blog above. We had four screaming active kids, last two being twins.

    But looking back I think my wife had more of a personal ministry in the lives of neighbors and other wives because of those 4 screaming kids than if we did not have them. I think sometimes she had more of a “ministry” than I had.

    Those four kids were natural gateways into the lives of non-believers because they struggled too and we had common issues.

    Every stage of life gives different challenges and opportunities; I just wish I had taken more advantage of the opportunities those 4 screaming kids gave us by the bridges they provided to others.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Haha. Love how your constant reference is ‘4 screaming kids’. It indeed does seem likes that’s all they do most days.

      I’m going to continue to reflect on the natural bridge to others my kids bring to our life. Thank you for sharing this wisdom.

  • http://www.seabourn.org/ Keith Seabourn

    Julie, thanks for being authentic and transparent. My soul was lifted this morning reading the honesty in your struggle. It also reminded me of Ken’s post this morning about embracing divine displacement as part of our growth as a leader. Even for those of us in what might look like a big organizational leadership role, I struggle with the dailyness of life, the misunderstandings when working with others, a life where a day is full of meetings and emails and phone calls and individual appointments. I, too, am an ambassador to the glory of my God. Today. In this life He has chosen for me.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Keith. I keep being more in awe of all the ways He can use me, when I let Him.

  • http://inkindle.wordpress.com/ Judy Douglass

    Powerful, vulnerable story, Julie. Thanks for sharing. And as we focus on that of-first-importance ministry to our family, it is amazing the doors God will open, the people we will encounter, the model we will present, the gifts that will emerge for us to also touch the rest of the world with His love and great good news.

  • http://equipping4eministry.wordpress.com/ Sus Schmitt

    Several times when the kids were little and we took them out to a restaurant, older couples would come up to our table and remark at how well-behaved they were. Again, I gave tracts to these people and explained that the kids were Christians.

    When the kids were a bit older, I began to take the initiative to share my faith more consistently instead of waiting for people to come to me. Being the youngest, our daughter has been watching me do this the most.

    After a hard day of cleaning and fixing up from Hurricane Jeanne in 2004, we took our family out for some fast food. We stretched our then thirteen-year-old daughter’s confidence by asking her to go back to the counter on her own for a container. She was a little nervous, but before she tried it, she asked for a tract from me, so she could give it to the gal behind the counter! We were really pleased to see her take that initiative and gain a little more confidence.

  • http://inkindle.wordpress.com/ Judy Douglass

    Sus, thanks. I think one of the most important roles moms play in their children’s lives is modeling what the Spirit-filled, available for God to use, committed to sharing the gospel life looks like. If they see us touching lives for the Lord as a way of life, they will grasp the truth of what God has called each of us to live out.

  • http://karintome.blogspot.com Karin

    Julie,

    What a powerful, authentic (and well-written!!) story! You encouraged me.

    I hate babysitting. Always have, always will. And part of the reason why I am terrified of being a mom one day is that it’s a multi-year, no exit-clause commitment to a job I disdain. But while you painted an honest picture of your daily life, you gave me hope. The world may say you’re a babysitter, but you are taking every thought captive and remembering that you are, in fact, an ambassador. Thanks for rethinking. And not in a “let’s deconstruct and look at this from another angle” but in a “who do YOU say that I am?” kind of way.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Wow. The Lord has been impressing that verse so much on my heart this week…taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. Thank you, Karin, for bringing it to light again. It’s so needed in my thought life.

      I’m certain if motherhood knocks on your door one day, you will without a doubt be great at it! He won’t leave your side.

    • http://equipping4eministry.wordpress.com/ Sus Schmitt

      Karin,

      I identify with you. I am STILL not a babysitter / nursery-worker type, but for my own children I had NO problem. They were and are a delight.

      I do appreciate looking at cute babies now, so that much has changed.

  • http://exploringcollegeministry.com/ Benson Hines

    I also appreciate one of the obvious applications here, for women and men: Wiggles = anxiety; Toby Mac = Life & Peace. Couldn’t agree more. :)

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      haha. Thanks, Benson. It really couldn’t be more simple.

  • http://www.goffeneys.blogspot.com Kyra Goffeney

    Wow, Julie! I agree with everyone else—you have such a great writing style that fully encapsulates the emotions you were/are feeling.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so encouraged and challenged by your commitment to “rethink” your position, power and pride as you have become a mom. I loved how you immersed yourself into God’s Word and allowed that to transform your perspective about His calling for your life. So often, it’s easy for me to get bogged down by the details and mundane things about my day (poopy diapers, potty training accidents, etc.). Instead, I want God’s view to control my mind: I am raising a generation of people to speak His name, to fear Him in their lives and to be a light of His truth as opportunities open for me to share my faith (with my kids, moms in the park, or those times I get to campus for ministry). What a profound and important calling it really is to be a Mom.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Indeed, Kyra….profound and important calling. It’s only by His overflowing grace and love in me that I can pour anything good into my kids. When I first became a Mom, I struggled so much with having any sort of consistent times in the Word…I believed lies that my work for the day was so insignificant to God, surely His Word had nothing for me.

      It’s HIS Word alone, His Word, that enables me to love, shepherd and laugh with my kids. I’m so thankful His grace is unending.

      I do hope to meet you one day. :) God Bless your days of eternal mothering!

  • http://www.hearditonthestreet.com Rich Street

    As a father of 3 boys and husband of one incredible wife to those 3 boys, thanks for reminding me of how significant of a role that my wife plays in the Great Commission!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      I found your wife and her blog. I’ll be reading! Love to hear other stories from homes of all boys. Praying blessings on her right now…

  • http://www.brianbarela.com Brian Barela

    hey everyone if you would like a picture of yourself to pop up instead of a logo go to http://en.gravatar.com/

    just make sure you use the same email to sign up for one that you used for the commenting.

    it will automatically make the changes once you set it up!

    happy commenting!

    • http://synchopat.multiply.com Patrick Ng

      thanx for the tip Brian. Just Did It. (a step ahead of Nike… lol)

      • http://www.brianbarela.typepad.com/ Brian Barela

        for sure patrick. definitely makes for more personal feel–especially when many of us are thousands of miles away!

  • http://www.scottandjessi.com Scott D

    Wow Julie (felt like I was in the SUV with you)…so insightful & empowering for moms & husbands to remember the valued ministry moms do. I’m a husband of 2 & makes me what to run upstairs, look her straight in the eyes & confirm in my wife’s heart that she’s extremely significant in the Kingdom!!! Just like in discipleship we Equip & Release, the same goes for our children. Equip them to walk with Jesus no matter the cost & release them to make disciples & live abundant lives. In many ways the greatest spiritual battlefield is in the home! Thanks, you’re encouraging & although my wife tends to dislike technology, I’m going to see if I can persuade her to read your post :) Great articulation of your thoughts & emotions.

  • wendy chen

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you for sharing your heart and your thoughts. As a mom of a 2 year old little boy and thinking about having another one, it scares me to pieces that having another one will draw me further away from God’s kingdom and His purposes. That I’ll lose more sight of vision, more of God’s plans to reach the lost and hurting, and along the way lose more of myself and my identity. I haven’t quite reconciled it all yet, but I’m reminded and encouraged that I need Jesus to rain down and fill me with hope. Thanks again!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Wow, Wendy. God is using motherhood already in radical ways to push you more at His throne. He’s way more into our character than our comfort, which just the simple carrying, laboring, and caring for a newborn proves that. Wendy, our Great God is powerfully in love with you and if another child is graced upon your home, I’m certain it will be just another step in your journey with Jesus. Truly, truly…may HE rain down and bring you hope in your role as a Mom. Your beautiful role with eternal purpose. Beautiful.

      I’m praying for you right now. Be blessed today. Thank you for sharing. Thank you!

    • http://inkindle.wordpress.com/ Judy Douglass

      Wendy, you may find you have less time for intentional, direct ministry. But you will find that children will do more to pull you close to the heart of God than anything else. You will discover more about yourself–strengths and weaknesses, purity and sin–than you ever imagined. So don’t worry about losing God. Keeping a heart for the lost, though,may take some work, but children actually open more doors to “lost” encounters than my life ever did before. Keep eyes and heart open and God will lead you into amazing opportunities.

  • http://www.joshandkelleyotto.com Kelley Otto

    Thank you so much for sharing, Julie! I can so identify with your feelings, even the panic that sets in. My daughter is almost 2, and a son is coming this summer… what a precious and challenging new calling it has been!
    I LOVED being a married woman in ministry on campus with Crusade, and have been challenged in my motives as I struggle to accept my new primary calling from the Lord. I DO want to serve Him, and say yes to whatever He asks of me, so why has it been soo difficult to let go of one “yes” for another?
    I am both thrilled and terrified at the weight of this calling to home first… I think pouring myself out to others outside the home (on campus) came with a lot of “perks” that I became more attached to than I realized: feedback, recognition, reciprocal relationship, constant newness as students would come in and out of my life, comaraderie in serving with a team… it’s probably longer. I am the only one with my daughter most of the day, day in and day out. I am her only mom. She is more influenced by me than anyone or anything else for this unique, short, and intense season of her life. She needs to learn EVERYTHING… words, manners, social skills, who Jesus is, how to eat with a spoon… everything except how to sin and scream (I’m with you, Doug) it seems. I pray that she sees and hears Jesus, and lives to give her life away to others…
    So thanks to you and to everyone who is posting… I’m gonna hang on to your encouragement to Kyra and renew my mind to think of this craziness as “eternal mothering”!

    • http://www.thebarelafamily.com Aubrey

      Kelly I know I get to do life with you almost everyday but I am encouraged to hear your heart in your pursuit in taking on this new “yes” He has given you. I admire constant perseverance in the Lord as you figure this new role out. You are a wonderful Mom and I know God will continue to grow and stretch you as you release more to Him. Thanks for sharing Kel!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      So great, Kelley. I love hearing the snippet of your journey into motherhood. It seems God has left you nothing but His love, grace and direction!

      Blessings to you as your heart continues to dig deeper into God’s passion for motherhood….and as you become a Momma of 2!

  • http://www.thebarelafamily.com Aubrey

    Wow! After reading all these comments I am fired up and ready to take on this moment by moment challenge of being a mom. It is also “quiet time” in our house so that helps too:)

    Julz you brought me back to the Lord some time ago and have continued to encourage me along the way. This post is no exception. Thank you for your courage to write and your humility. Honestly, I have lost sight in what I am doing as a mom. My perspective is tainted. I am drowning in time outs, tantrums and endless Star Wars questions. I have lost my joy in this tedious job. It’s hard to admit that.

    From you I am reminded of the power of His word and how little my efforts alone will get me. That these 3 little hearts do need to be battled for and I am the one that was given to them by no mistake. Likewise, they were given to me by no mistake.

    I am thankful to be in this great endeavor alongside you.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Keep battling. The dark days never win, friend. My eyes water for your heart and yearning passion to climb out of the long days.

      His mercies are new. I’m praying for you now.

      Thank you for encouraging me to no end.

    • Aubrey Palmer

      This blog really opened my eyes to how the scripture speaks to me as a mom. I know exactly how you feel (other)Aubrey! I feel like I lose perspective so often. My daughters are 3yrs and 9 months. I get so frustrated with the endless whining! My 3yr old can get such an attitude in her voice. It frustrates me so much. Often at night I look back on my day and feel so disappointed in myself and the way I handled the situations. I feel like I lose my patience way to quickly. The part that is most sad to me is that my daughter is acting just like me…..when she talks so bossy and with an attitude.
      Sometimes I need to be reminded that she is just a little girl and I need to hold her on my lap and talk face to face with her and not above her.

  • Carly Higgins

    I am a student at Chico State who is interning with Campus Crusade next year. I am so thankful for the love, encouragement, and direction that the staff women at our campus have given me! Thank you Adrienne, Aubrey, Kelley, and Kyra!
    When I was a freshman, almost all of the staff women were doing campus ministry full-time because they did not have any little ones yet. I enjoyed the constant attention and care that they put into building me up in leadership. They had time to meet with girls, lead Bible studies, and take part in Campus Crusade events. As time went on, by the grace of God, all of our staff ladies became pregnant with girls, boys, twins, and triplets. It has been so exciting to meet the new members of their families. Their children bring so much joy into my life. I can see why it would be difficult to transition roles. One day you are on campus meeting with college students and the next day you are at home taking care of a new baby. I can’t imagine what that would be like.
    I would like to encourage everyone in saying that the staff women on our campus are still making a huge impact in the lives of college students. I would not be where I am today without our staff women challenging me in my faith, using positive criticism to help me see past my pride, and encouraging me to join staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. The Lord used these women to show me what a true relationship with Jesus Christ looks like.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Awesome, Carly! That’s just awesome to hear the work that God has done in your life through the women, most Mommas, on your campus. I know when I was a student, it absolutely was the Moms I had the privilege of observing with their kids that challenged me and to this day…I still reflect on their selfless ways that ultimately brought me to a relationship with Jesus.

  • Cly Ruth

    Hi Julie,

    I’m waiting for my son’s arrival (EDD 26th April) and so much of what you’d blogged, I’d been thinking about throughout this 1st pregnancy. And I think returning to read your post will become a frequent activity (:

    I think even as I will struggle through many of the fears of parenting, I fear that I will become irrelevant, especially so because of the creative ministry that I’m in. It sounds silly even but I actually imagine that once the baby comes, the ‘pause’ or ‘stop’ button on inspiration will be permanently on!! but yes, ministry will take on a whole different note, God directed and God intended.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Ohhhhh, so exciting…waiting for your first baby! Praying for your transition right now.

      Cly Ruth, you will not become irrelevant or lacking in creativity, because nothing good dwells in us. Nothing. Our wisdom is from His gracious outpouring alone, it’s all Him. And He will be ever present as you hold your new babe, as He is right now.

      Now on another note, motherhood may feel like the pause button has been hit directly on your brain. But never fear, play will return slowly and surely. 😉

      Be blessed.

  • http://www.joshandkelleyotto.com Kelley Otto

    Ahh, thank you to both Aubrey and to Carly! Wasn’t anticipating the blogference to be this encouraging along with the challenge of spurring one another on. Thank you two, and I am so thankful to do life together with you both in seeking to glorify Him!
    I also wanted to echo back on Judy’s comment earlier today… I’m seeing both the refining and the new opportunities as well. I’m starting to see that ministry pre-babies was preparation for a lifestyle of ministry for the rest of my life! I’m so thankful for the solid Crusade training in initiating evangelistic conversation, walking in the Spirit, living by faith to follow God’s lead… this new season of life is another opportunity to have a willing heart responsive to Him and His call.
    I have more opportunity than ever for witnessing and initiating with others in the everyday interactions of life– the new challenge is to be more open to God’s timing for evangelism: in the middle of swinging Violet at the park, when a neighborhood preteen stops by to say hi after Easter, rather than when I’m “clocked in” on campus. I am still loving the time I do get to spend with women I love on campus, but am just beginning to embrace and find new joy in this lifestyle ministry! And isn’t that what we’re asking of our students?

    • http://www.facebook.com/amy.leskowski amy leskowski

      kelley! that is such such great perspective. thank you. and congratulations on #2! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/amy.leskowski amy leskowski

    thanks Julie for your honest and poignant writing… it resonated with me! and thanks to everyone who has commented. it is stirring me up in a good way!

    i feel like i’m in constant “senior panic” mode (funny it doesn’t end after you leave college!) of seeking the Lord how He is calling me to spend my time. having a 1 1/2 yr old son and at the same time co-leading our team & two campus movements…i’m not quite convinced exactly how God is asking me to juggle the two vastly different worlds (aside from in His strength!) there are so many logical conclusions i can come to regarding any of the options and what i “should” do, however, I’m pretty sure it’s not JUST the “logical” answer God is holding :)

    anyway, it’s just a good reminder to renew my mind and draw close to the heart of God and walk by faith daily… through that, it’s really hard to stray too far from His direction, right?!

    i love hearing others’ thoughts on this topic!

  • Deb Goodson

    Hey Julie! Long time since OC 2000! Can’t believe a decade has gone by. I respected your walk with God then, and am so encouraged by you now! Thanks for your thoughts and reflections on life and your role as a momma. I love your perspective of “fighting for your marriage and battling for the future hearts of 3 young men.” And yes, that call is worthy of our lives!

    I hope to also fight for my marriage and shepherd the hearts of my 2 1/2 year old and my 6 month old. And yes, life with little kiddos who are learning to use the potty (not successfully yet) and starting to add solids to the diet, keeps me on my toes! It has been such a blessing to help my toddler understand God’s love and grace for her. But so hard!

    I know that every season of motherhood brings different challenges and opportunities, but I wonder when we start to reach out of our home too. Life with toddlers might not be the time and season, but when and how do you think we move outward from our home? Does God call us to have a ministry in our churches and in our communities and on our campuses too?

    Daily, I try and find the balance to live out the fullness of my call to the Lord, to my hubby, to my kiddos, but I don’t think it should stop there. I admit, I fail all the time! I wrestle, like everyone else who have posted these last 2 days, with balancing my role and using my gifts in campus ministry with believers and having an evangelistic network in my community.

    How do you think we can love our Lord and shepherd our kids well, yet bring them with us in the mission? Help them to love others? Help them to grieve over the lost? Help them to gain a vision to reach the world? Help them to realize that Mommy cares about the eternal destiny of others and help them to do the same? Help them to reach their friends (someday down the road!)? Help them to love Christ and be compelled by His love to be ambassadors to the world too?

    Would love your thoughts!

    • http://www.joshandkelleyotto.com Kelley Otto

      Deb, I loved your questions! I’m definitely in this shuffling and balancing with you, wanting to stay engaged on campus (and feeling equipped and gifted to do so). I remember identifying fears with you about this before our kiddos even came at a wives retreat!
      A first pass at your train of thought… I desperately want Violet to see her parents’ love for Jesus and missional drive, and even more to catch it. I think this can happen as she learns to “send” Daddy and Mommy to campus… we pray for Daddy throughout the day, he spends quality time with her the couple hours I am on campus a week, and she gets to interact with quality students in our home and at CRU events. However, I also think she can catch this by being with Mommy in action, and I honestly see this happening more off campus (she came with me sharing strapped in the Moby as an infant, but now would run off or be just too darn cute and distracting for the free speech area! not to mention nap time). I do just try to be open to every interaction as a potential gospel encounter… and she’s there with me! We’ll see how this goes with 2 kiddos in tow… you’re walking ahead of me there!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Deb, hello dear friend. It’s an honor to engage with you…again. I love all your thoughts and questions, all ones I continue to wrestle with as well.

      In the end, I know God’s journey for each Mom and family is unique and different. We all know, there’s no formula. I’ve learned the most important thing is to go before my God for direction and opportunity, and discuss with my Husband first. Trusting God’s best for me. In the beginning of motherhood for me, I would assume I knew best and plan out opportunities to reach the lost, serve my community, and equip women at our local church. But I never invited God into these decisions, I just assumed He was on board because the missions were eternal. Many times, He wasn’t on board because HE saw my heart and it was ugly. It was wanting recognition, accomplishment, and purpose. My motives were not pure, for His glory.

      So, as I’ve rebalanced so to speak. He has brought opportunities. Some tangible things we do are have intentional playdates with moms/kiddos who aren’t believers, praying for them with my kids and my kids noticing they’re lost. Search for a non-church playgroup. We seek out local churches who serve the lost, oppressed and hurting and take our kids along to do this. We’re coming off of a 3 year period where my husband was serving as the volunteer middle school pastor at our church. This commitment did not allow me to serve a ton at church, but I know I was part of the mission as I sacrificed time away from him, prayed for the students, and kept an open conversation with my kids about what Daddy was doing when he was away. Also, as much as possible my husband would take one of the boys with him to events. As I continued to wait on His timing for serving outside the home, He was just so faithful and it felt so easy…instead of feeling like a war and battle in my heart. I’ve spoke at Women events and led Women Bible studies.

      In the end, the condition of our hearts is of utmost importance. And know that, absolutely, the toddler years can seem so trapped. As my boys are getting older, it’s becoming more and more natural to be with the lost in our everyday relationships.

      OH, so much here to ponder. God knows your heart, your husband and what your kids need. Seek Him for direction and He will surely show you the way for your motherhood!

      (…again, such an honor Deb. Really, glory to Him to cross our paths. )

  • http://www.amberdawnlo.blogspot.com Amber Lo

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for these thoughts and sharing your experiences. I am not a mother yet, so I can’t pretend to understand yet the balance of home, wife, full time missionary AND mom (the biggest job in the world!), but I can tell you I struggle to balance just the first three! I have a chronic illness that brings me many of the challenges that I hear moms talk about, like not having control over your time or day, balancing time and opposing pulls on your life, and figuring out what is “enough” in ministry when you have God give passion but could spend 24 hours a day investing in the kingdom and still feel like there is more to do….and I often find myself relating more to the moms I know on staff than the other marrieds without kids. Even now, I often feel like my first calls are to God & my home and husband, and it is extremely challenging to do those things well, and feel like I am also “ministering” well. I feel like I am wired to minister through my home, to our community, and to our neighbors, but struggle with having the energy and capacity to be fully present in those areas when I am exhausted from my time with students. I look forward to more freedom to minister in those areas as a mom, and the natural opportunities that are created with having a family, but I know I am also going to feel the pull of students and wanting to serve with my husband on campus.

    As we have been talking and thinking about the right time to start a family, it can bring a wave of fear to think about how I’m going to balance being a mom with being on staff. If I struggle to feel effective now, how am I ever going to be effective with even more limited capacity (if any!) for ministry?

    I have been thinking and praying a lot about the very thoughts & questions you shared in your post. Thanks for sharing your perspective and the journey the Lord has brought you on. It was a blessing, even to some of us not-yet-moms!

    Amber

  • http://www.momentsofclaritybygretchen.blogspot.com Gretchen

    Julie, thank you for sharing so openly the struggle that many moms go through. As a mom in campus ministry, I spent the first 4 or 5 years of motherhood trying to be superwoman – mothering wasn’t enough when there were thousands of college students in need of Jesus! A wise friend helped me see that my first priority during this season of life is to be a helper to my husband, and to be a discipler to our children. I’m confident there will be other seasons where more traditional “ministry” comes back into the picture, but for now, I cherish (or try to!) the sweet moments with our children.

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      so sweet, Gretchen. Indeed, the superwoman cape can be exhausting!

  • Joleen Smith

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I also have 3 kids, and some of your words could have come straight from my mouth. I would love to include this in my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) newsletter, with your permission. You can email me at joleenio@yahoo.com. Our MOPS website is http://bastropmops.blogspot.com.

  • http://theroosfamily@comcast.net Stephanie Roos

    Thank you for speaking the truth about motherhood! I know your struggle because I am there too. With two boys at home ( 4 yrs and 2yrs) and a husband who puts in long days at the office, I can truly understand your red light panic attack! :) God is good. He gives us wake up calls when we need them. Wait, I think I hear the phone ring! Your post has special timing in my life. I’ve been struggling lately with roller coaster emotions about being a mom and keeping my head in the game. Some days …uh moments… I enjoy my kids and I see eternal purpose in what I’m doing. Other days…moments…it’s hard and joyless, and I want to escape. Everytime I want to enlarge my territory and do something other than just be a wife and mom, God calls me back to this one thing. It’s hard. I want more, and yet God keeps telling me plant deep in this small space. A mile wide, inch deep garden brings Him no honor. I long to stay committed, heart, soul, and mind to this task He’s called me to, but right now it is a daily struggle. Your post has blessed me tonight. I am reminded of His high calling for me in marriage and motherhood. I am reminded how desperately I need to put on His full armor every day…yes, even at 6:00 am when their little feet hit the ground running. :) I guess I’m gonna need to wake up a little earlier tomorrow to pray and meditate on His word. Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Steph thanks for checking in here and sharing. I am happy to do life with you and figure this out together. I appreciate your honesty in the daily (momentary) struggles. Oh, I am so in this with you friend. I like where you said God is keeps telling you to plant deep in this small space. There isn’t a lot of recognition each day but it’s where He has called us to dig deep and hold fast!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      love that, Stephanie…..planting deep!

  • Aubrey Palmer

    Thank you Julie for this great blog! I too need my Jesus and the scriptures but most days I don’t even pick up my Bible. I am ashamed to say it but I get so selfish. I choose me things instead. Instead of God and my children I waste time on the computer, on the phone, etc. I feel like I am in such a rut. I feel unworthy of my precious little girls and not good enough to be their Mom. The scripture at the end of your blog really encouraged me. I know I need to draw my strength from my Lord first and he will help me to be the mom that he wants me to be…..the mom that I want to be. Thanks!

    • http://peekabooglimpses.blogspot.com Julie Hufstetler

      Praying for you right now, Aubrey. His grace is poured out for you. He certainly is more than able to make you the mom you want to be!! Run to Him.

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