There are seasons of life where it feels like all we have to give is so small. Early motherhood is definitely one of those seasons. Today, I continue my post from yesterday, with a few more historic examples of how God took the “little” his servants had to give and multiplied it to feed the masses.
When all I have to give is my friendship:
Often in this journey of motherhood, when the day is through and I’ve cared for my household about the only thing I have time left to do is connect with the handful of close friends God has blessed me with the privilege of knowing. The friendships re-charge and encourage me spiritually, and I can only hope I do the same for these dear ones. But I’m reminded often that friendship is no meager offering, it too can change the world.
Most people know John Newton only as the author of the beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Perhaps some people know about this former slave trader’s own conversion which led him to pen those famous words. But though Newton was a great preacher, author, and reformer as biographer Jonathan Aitken points out perhaps one of his most profound legacies was in the fruit of his spiritual friendships. Newton’s friendship with the beloved English poet William Cowper helped spur on the writing of some of the most beautiful hymns the church has today, not to mention some of the best poems of the English language. Newton helped his friend fight bravely against depression and because he was such a good friend we have works of William Cowper that may never have come to fruition otherwise.
Newton was also a friend to noted reformer William Wilberforce. It was at Newton’s insistence that the newly converted Wilberforce did not abandon his political post, but instead used his passion for God to change the laws of England and ultimately abolish the slave-trade. And it was Newton’s words which helped Wilberforce persevere in a dark hour where it seemed all hope was gone.
Newton’s friendship with a young woman named Hannah More was what led her to faith. She would go on to become the mother of the Sunday School movement, as well as a noted writer, and philanthropist. Newton also met regularly for breakfast with a young man by the name of William Carey, the man we know now as the father of modern missions.
When all I have to give is the fire in my belly that won’t go out:
I love reading the story of Harriet Beecher Stowe that devoted Christian wife and mother of 6, whose writing career really began because she needed to put bread on the table in a time when her husband’s earnings were not enough. And despite the necessity of earning money from her writing, there was a fire in her belly that would not go out. Profoundly disturbed by the injustices she had glimpsed, her writings returned again and again to the themes of abolition. After the death of her infant son, sympathy at the loss of slaves torn from their children took her writing to a new level of emotional power. Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed the course of American History and was the reason, Stowe became known as the little lady that started the big war.
“I wrote what I did because as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustice I saw, because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity – because as a lover of my country, I trembled at the coming day of wrath.”
Stowe had given God her affections, and He had made her lover of the things that He loved and reviler of the things He despised. She gave Him control of her heart and He turned her heart for the oppressed. God gave her a way to care for the needs of her household AND speak out for the oppressed. What began as a simple story published periodically in a magazine became a way God changed the lives of untold numbers.
What’s your all I have to give?
While our worlds, especially as mothers of young children may seem small and shrunken in, it doesn’t necessarily mean our influence is likewise small. Putting a priority on our husbands and our children is certainly no small thing. When between nap-schedules and potty-training, we find it’s hard to even get out of the house our prayers can still reach the edges of the earth and help eternity to break into the hearts of those for whom God burdens us to pray. When all we have time for is nurturing a handful of friendships, let us not despise how God can use that spiritual life-on-life sharpening. When all we have is a fire in our bellies for the oppressed and downtrodden that won’t leave us alone when the children are napping and the dishes pile up in the sink, sometimes even in our “shrunken in” world God makes a way for us to snap the chains of the oppressed.
Don’t let the “accomplishments” of these men and women of the faith make you feel small. Many of them didn’t think they had much to give either. Their reach didn’t seem to go much farther than our own. And yet, God used them in profound ways.
So what’s your “all I have to give”? Give it to Him in faith. And let Him multiply it to feed the masses.
Have you enjoyed this post? Make sure you check out Part I and if you aren’t subscribed to receive these posts to your inbox, consider signing up here. You’ll also want to check out my latest book, Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting. It would make a fabulous gift to any expecting mom you know. As you can see, God has burdened my heart to encourage young moms. Won’t you help spread the encouragement by sharing this post or giving a copy of my book to a young mom you know.