Motherhood is hard, there's hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of posts on social media about how hard motherhood is. Have you heard enough of it yet? I sure have. It's hard yes, but motherhood is also a ministry. It's a ministry of interruptions. And at the end of the day, motherhood is sanctifying and good.
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Ministry of Motherhood and the Frustration of Interruptions
Are there other mamas out there that experience constant interruptions by their kids? Not only are we busy as momma's, but there are continual interruptions. It never seems to stop! Just when one kid doesn't need our full attention, the next one is ready with another need. If I didn't know better, I'd say they are holding secret meetings in the morning. At these meetings they carefully map out the interruption agenda for the day. The first one decides to be the interrupter from 8am-9:45am, and the next one is on interrupter duty from 9:45am- 10:30am. And so on and so forth. It's enough to make any momma go mad!
Jesus' Interruptions in Mark 5
Interruptions by our children are not necessarily always a terrible thing. Some of the greatest Jesus stories in the Bible start with Jesus being interrupted. Sometimes his interruption was interrupted! Miracles were performed because someone had the audacity to interrupt Jesus from his task. The ministry of motherhood is often similar. As the interruptions of our children surmount, they often can lead to greater things that we do not expect.
Crowded Moments in Motherhood
One of the best examples of this is in Mark 5:21-43, I just love this story because it is so obvious Jesus had a ministry of interruptions. The first interruption occurs when Jesus gets off of a boat and "a great crowd gathered around him." (Mark 5:21 ESV). It also mentions that he was by the sea. That extra detail leads me to wonder if he literally had just stepped out of the boat and a large crowd swarmed around him.
Sound familiar Mama? Ever wake up in the morning to have a large crowd of littles surround you? Or maybe you step foot out of the bathroom (a accomplishment in itself) and suddenly little toddler monsters are attached to your legs.
We haven't even got to to the interruption part yet! As Jesus was by the sea a man from the synagogue name Jarius (Mark 22) came to him and implored Jesus to heal his daughter.
Here is the first interruption. Yet the text gives us no indication Jesus was bothered by this interruption, it appears that he willingly went to heal this little girl.
Yet as they walked the crowds were "thronged about him" (Mark 5:24). Imagine the crowd at this point. It appears the crowd was quite large because everyone was pushing and pulling to get at Jesus. And this is where my imagination takes over and the story starts to get good, because another interruption is about to occur.
Jesus Understands the Constant Interruptions
A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years was determined to touch Jesus and be healed from her disease. What was more is that she hadn't just bled for 12 years, she also had spent all her money and was getting worse, not better (Mark 5:25-26).
Now as a woman, I've just got to pause here and really soak in what the text is saying. Bleeding for 12 years? Can you imagine? As women, we know what a nuisance the 'perks of the ability to bear children' can be, but can you truly imagine?! Add insult to injury, she had spent all her money, and no one could help her. The customs of this time were different than today. Today we have resources that let us go on our merry way when that nuisance comes around. During that time they did not, and this woman was not only unclean, but didn't have a lot of contact with people as a result.
She wanted to be healed, she wanted her life back. So, she touched Jesus.
Jesus had already been interrupted, and yet these women interruptions his mission yet again. Can you relate? Have you been interrupted time and time again by your children's constant touching? You may not be able to heal them like Jesus, but you also have a healing touch that only you as their mother can give. Maybe they need a hug, a high five, a moment of your time to sit with them. Those ministry of motherhood moments can be life giving to children and all it takes is their interruption to become your moment to minister.
When Interruptions Drive us to our Breaking Point
We are at the point in the text that my imagination runs completely out of control at this point because this is what the text says,
And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it.Mark 5:30
Have you ever been so bombarded by your children that one more touch, one more pull of your shirt, one more whine was going to send you over the edge? If you haven't been there, please give me a call so we can chat about this uncommon phenomenon.
Jesus never sinned, but I like to think at this point he was getting slightly agitated by all the interruptions and needy people around him. If I were going to take a bit of liberty with the text, and put it into today's wording, I wonder if it would sound something like this, "Are you kidding me? Who touched me? Seriously, who was that?" Maybe not, but I just wonder because verse 33 says the women came forward in "fear and trembling." And yet like so often happens with our own children, Jesus looked down on her and his heart softened.
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”Mark 5:34
Motherhood Interruptions can Lead to Divine Moments
Had you forgotten that that this point Jesus was on his way take care of the first interruption that happened? I have to chuckle at the text at this point because it says, "While he was still talking..." (vs 35).
Ladies, dare I say it? Jesus knows what it is like to be a mother with constant interruptions. He was interrupted before he even finished talking. A man came to announce that Jairus's had died and there was no need to trouble Jesus any longer. I don't know about you ladies, but if someone came to me in the middle of my day and told me that I didn't have to take care of something an interruption had caused, I would thank them and cross it off my to-do list without hesitation. Not Jesus. Thankfully we have a perfect Savior that doesn't hesitate to do the right thing.
All these interruptions are about to lead to a divine miracle.
Don't underestimate the interruptions in your mothering. You never know when a interruptions are going to lead to a divine moment that only God could orchestrate.
The Ministry of Motherhood and Boundaries
I want you to notice something very peculiar. It is now that Jesus decides to only take 3 of his disciples. The text does not indicate why this is, so again I ask you again to use your imagination to explore some possibilities. Could it be that perhaps Jesus needed to set some boundaries in order to serve his Father in the perfect way he did? Perhaps he was tired of all the interruptions and needed a break? Maybe he realized that in his humanness he was at his breaking point and needed only those closest to him.
Regardless of the reason, he shows up at Jairus's home and performs his miracle. The child who was dead, was revived. Amazing. After all the interruptions, and what was mostly likely a long day, Jesus still accomplishes his mission. He is not distracted from the task at hand.
What a gracious example to follow. Sometimes you might need to set some boundaries for your children so you can minister to them effectively. Do not be distracted by your ultimate goal of pointing your children to Jesus. The interruptions of motherhood might just be pointing them to Jesus.
The Ministry of Motherhood and the Interruptions that Drive us Toward Jesus
Shall we apply this to us today? I need daily reminders about my mission as a mother. These reminders need to come from Jesus. We as moms need daily bible reading and prayer. When we focus on Jesus, our daily struggles become tempered by his grace. And sometimes we need boundaries. It's hard to set up boundaries for our kids, but we need time for ourselves, especially when a day of constant interruptions take us to our breaking point.
Jesus knows our struggles, even the interruptions that drive us nuts. We see this in Mark 5 as Jesus was interrupted time and time again, yet these divine interruptions led to divine miracles. Motherhood is the ministry of interruptions. It's laying down our needs in the moment and attending to the needs of another, but doing it with grace. Allow the interruptions to drive you to Jesus.