Jenn moved to Poland with her husband, Vance, and sees God at work in her motherhood season starting a church-planting movement. Her days mostly consist of running the home, discipling women in a cross-cultural context, and raising two active boys.
I watch my dear friend from afar handle intense challenges with grace. Yet up close, the struggles of mothering in a different culture and climate sometimes feels painful.
Struggles of Mothering Cross-Culturally
Like her youngest, Josiah, battling with serious lung sicknesses 12 times in one year—with no family or close friends at hand to help or the conveniences of medicine she accesses in the states. Then her oldest, Nathan, constantly bullied at school because he sticks out. Just recently Jenn witnessed a group of Polish kids surrounding Nathan and asking him fast questions and laughing at him. Laughing. At. Her. Son. It hurts.
“I want to go back to America,” Nathan said as I talked with Jenn. I understand, sweet boy, I understand.
Yet in all of this—the distance, the parenting challenges, cultural gaps, cold weather, even the loneliness at times—Jenn sees God moving in incredible ways.
God is planting His church in her city in Poland.
After 2 1/2 years living in Poland in a city with very few (if any) Christians when they arrived, they left to return stateside for almost six months. At that point they discipled 36 people and planted a house church of six people. They equipped the local believers to continue their work and prayed for God to sustain them.
When they returned six months later: 20 people attended the house church, two other house churches started in their absence, and now more than 50 disciples are committed to following Jesus.
God is at work!
3 Church-planting Lessons from Jenn for Motherhood.
- It is God’s work. Just like church planting, our jobs as a parent is to faithfully love, serve, and speak the Gospel into our children’s lives. That is it. We can’t make them mature or choose wisely. Heart change is God’s work. Sowing the Gospel and serving is ours.
- God rewards our work and not the product.
God cares about our heart,” Jenn said. “If we are serving Him and loving Him with all of our heart and nothing happens that we can see and measure, it is okay. The fruit of our faithfulness is the Spirit’s work. Our work is the faithfulness.”
- God is Good and Faithful. Sometimes following God’s best doesn’t look the way Jenn wants (including sick and bullied kids) but in those times she reminds herself that God is good and faithful to complete His work in and through her.
So too, God is good and faithful to complete His work in us and our children as we faithfully follow Him in the season of parenting—even when it looks different than we would choose.
Jenn shared a reflection from the book of Colossians:
God is teaching me through Colossians that the enemy is defeated. God made a spectacle of him when Jesus died on the cross and rose again. This encourages me so greatly because the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy the work of God in our family and ministry, but NO. He has already been defeated and we have that confidence in Christ.”
So, mamas. Let’s listen to Jenn’s wise insight.
- God is at work in your life.
- He rewards your faithfulness.
- The product of your faithfulness is His doing.
- He will complete the work He started in us and in our children.
- The enemy has been defeated and we can place our full confidence for motherhood in Christ.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
PRAY: God, thank You that You have defeated the enemy, are at work in and through me, and have a good purpose for my family’s lives. Please help me persevere and see You at work. I get discouraged sometimes. Help me to see what you are doing to encourage me to run the race ahead. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
How about you? How have you seen God at work through a tough parenting challenge? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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