A Life-Changing Ministry Opportunity
By Mrs. Crystal Paine
The dishes are piled up in the sink. The laundry is overflowing the hamper. The one-year-old needs his diaper changed. The four-year-old needs a bandage. Someone is hollering “Mooommmmyyyy,” from the other room. It’s almost dinner time, but Mom hasn’t even thought about what to fix….
Everyday there are thousands of women who have embraced their God-given calling as mothers and yet are overwhelmed with the seemingly endless tasks their job requires. Before I was married, I never completely understood the multitude of trivial things a mother’s life can consist of until a mother of nine asked me to help their family for a day. Not only did that day transform my perspective on motherhood, it also marked the beginning of a life-changing ministry the Lord allowed me to be involved in for the last 11 years. The ministry? Being a mother’s helper.
If you are a young woman interested in having such a ministry, below I have answered many of the questions I most commonly receive. I pray that this might encourage some of you to consider being involved in this vitally important, yet often-overlooked ministry.
What Is A Mother’s Helper?
When I tell people I work as a mother’s helper, I often receive a lot of blank looks. It is not a well-known job, though there is a huge need for it. For me, being a mother’s helper has meant wearing almost as many hats as a mother typically wears herself. In most situations, I have basically gone into a home and made myself available to do whatever I am asked to do: cooking, cleaning, ironing, mending, teaching school, holding babies, and lots and lots of laundry! Some mothers have certain jobs they want me to do each week, other moms just want me to assist them as the day goes along.
Where Do You Start?
The ministry of being a mother’s helper should begin in your own home, with your own mother. It would be ridiculous for you to consider helping another family if your own family is falling apart at the seams! Before God is going to bless your service outside of the home, you must be faithful in your own home. I never sought to be a mother’s helper, but as I was faithful (by God’s grace) to serve my own family, the Lord began opening up doors for me to serve outside of my home.
It is vitally important that you only begin this ministry with your authority’s full blessing and support. My parents felt that in sending me out to minister to other families, I was an extension of their ministry. They could not drop everything and go help a family in need, but they could send me as their representative.
What Skills Are Required?
Before you are ready to help another family, it is important you first know all the basic homemaking skills: how to cook, clean, iron, do laundry and dishes, and take care of young children. You also need to have proven yourself in your own home as a faithful servant. This job is not a glamorous job. There are definitely fun moments (like when a mother asks me to bake cookies with her children), but most of the time it is hard work, requiring much diligence. You must be willing to clean toilets and sort dirty laundry, and do it with a smile! Most importantly, you should have a heart of love for the family. Your desire should be to be source of strength and encouragement to a weary mom. Sometimes they just need you to sit and visit with them. Seek to build them up and encourage them through your words and countenance.
Whom Should You Help?
If you feel God calling you to this ministry, ask Him who He desires for you to help. There are many ways God will bring needy families across your path. The first families I began helping came and asked me to help. As time went on, as needs arose in other families, sometimes I would be volunteered by my parents, sometimes I would sense a need and volunteer myself, and again, I might just be asked.
When my husband and I married and we moved to a new town where we knew no one, I sent out a message on the local homeschool group e-mail loop telling of my past experience as a mother’s helper and asking if anyone were interested in such help. I was overwhelmed with response! From that time on, I have had no lack of jobs!
Before I will start helping a family I do not personally know, I have a long discussion with the mother on the phone. I also like to go and visit the family. It is important that you know what sort of situation you are going into before you make any long-term commitment.
How Often Should You Help?
As it is in life, saying “yes” to one thing, means saying “no” to another. Before making any kind of commitment to serve a family, take inventory of your schedule. Ask yourself and your authorities how much time you can reasonably commit to and still fulfill the other responsibilities and obligations the Lord has called you to. If you seem to have no time available, seek the Lord’s direction in whether you should cut something else from your schedule in order to do this. Discuss with the family their needs and desires. Some families would like regular help (1-3 days a week) for an extended period of time, while for others a few hours every other week or just a few days a year is all they want.
Should You Accept Pay?
In the course of being a mother’s helper to many families, I have come up against the question of whether or not to accept payment. I think this is something you need to seek the Lord and your authorities for direction on. Please do not go into this ministry seeing it as a way to make a lot of money. Keep ever before you your desire to serve, give, and minister.
I have done different things in different circumstances. When I help families I know well (families in our church, etc.), I rarely accept payment unless it is a very small amount. When I volunteer myself, I never accept payment.
After we married and moved to a new town and I began helping families who learned of me through the e-mail I had sent out, my husband decided I should begin charging a small amount. We decided to ask the families to pay minimum wage or whatever was conducive to their budget. This worked well as it allowed people to pay what they could afford, without me being a financial burden to them.
Why Should You Become a Mother’s Helper?
After reading everything I wrote above, you may be wondering why on earth would someone ever get involved in such a ministry? Yes, it does require a lot of diligence. Yes, there is a lot of hard work. But, the blessings you will receive will far outweigh the effort! The greatest blessings I have received through this ministry have been the wonderful relationships I have cultivated with families by serving in their home. It is thoroughly rewarding to arrive at a home and have four or five youngsters come bounding out the door yelling, “Crystal’s here! Crystal’s here!”
I love being able to afford mothers the opportunity to spend quality time with their children. I love seeing the smile and look of relief on the mother’s face when I leave. I love knowing that I am helping to strengthen Christian families and marriages.
Most importantly, I have learned so much by being able to serve in these homes. Being able to observe how these mothers train and raise many small children has given me invaluable insight and inspiration. You cannot learn these things from a book nor can it be taught in a class. Through these families, I have gained a whole new appreciation for the high calling God has given mothers to lay down their lives to train the next generation for the glory of God. Being a mother’s helper has allowed me the incredible privilege of taking part in that work!
Crystal Paine is a 22-year-old homeschool graduate. She married her beloved husband Jesse in January 2003. They are eagerly expecting their first child in January 2005. Since her early pregnancy, Crystal stopped working as a mother’s helper to devote her full energies to being a wife and preparing to be a mother herself. Crystal and Jesse operate Covenant Wedding Source
(www.CovenantWeddingSource.com), an online business selling modest bridal and formal wear, out of their home. She can be contacted at:
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