Updated: Aug 7, 2020
I CAN’T FIND IT. I have looked all over Amazon and every website known to man for a “balancing-pregnancy-and-ministry” formula and book, and I learned, It doesn’t exist! I don’t believe there is a manual for pregnancy and ministry. Well maybe the reason we can’t find one is because it looks like childbearing may be a huge topic within in itself to focus on. Adding ministry to the mix may not be the best time. Your thoughts?
When God designed pregnant women (starting with Eve), He allowed us to be vulnerable, dependent, and yet beautiful in our nurturing process. For example, in the Old Testament God said to Eve, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” How much more dependent and vulnerable can you get? Sounds awful when you are Mrs. Super-Ministry Lady, right? Well, at least the first part about severe labor pains is nothing anyone wants to hear! But, the beauty of redemption is that Paul then says in the New Testament, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing — if they [women] continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”
Ding-ding-ding. Paul may have something there; SELF-CONTROL. In my church, where my husband just so happens to be the Senior leader, sometimes leaders must take a sabbatical or “sit-down”. Getting “sat-down” typically means that you are either coping with major family issues such as death, sickness, or you’re in a back-slidden condition, or PREGNANT. What does a pregnant minister look like? Well definitely hormonal, sensitive, off-balanced at times, perhaps an intense dreamer, and a plethora of other things to say the least. Pregnant ministers at our church are often asked to take a break with the objective of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. But now that I’m pregnant, I never thought that some of the most serious implications for a healthy pregnancy in the church could sound like some of the most silliest rules to me. I wondered how some of the sisters in the church never said, “hey Pastor, I’m pregnant, not dead. I can still minister.” Perhaps because they are extremely honorable! But when you get “sat-down”, it’s kind of an isolated feeling. You feel so cut off from everything, not able to participate, and you can feel immobile (especially when you’re use to being an active leader). But remembering your baby is most important is the key and self-control. In certain church cultures, being pregnant is looked at immobilizing, when on the contrary it is a time to be ministered to and a time of rest. Even in ministry, there is a certain place for you to be vulnerable and rest in the arms of Jesus, as your baby rests well in your womb.
The entire chapter of Ecclesiastes 1 declares that there is a time and a place for everything under the sun-including pregnancy and ministry. When I got pregnant with my first child, I was no where near answering my ministry call. For starters, I didn’t have a husband, especially to “rule over me”, since I wasn’t married. I didn’t feel as close to the Lord at that time. And lastly, I was in a very rebellious and self-destructive stage of my life. BUT I had PLENTY of ministry that was offered to me. I went to church where I received prayer for inner healing, safe labor & delivery, and a vision for my future. Also, one of my favorite forms of receiving ministry was attending a Christ-based pregnancy support clinic now called, Options Now in Valdosta, GA. These Christ-centered ladies really set the bar for me then. It’s been almost 11 years since I’ve received services there and I still remember their kindness towards me. I remember having one-on-one counseling sessions where I could be transparent and feel safe to talk about my true feelings. After each session, I would receive a package to complete, filled with bible study material and I was offered prayer! How much more love and ministering can you get from service like that. I held on to that and it helped me through the years. Not to mention, it made such an impact on how I wanted to treat other pregnant women moving forward. Pregnant women should be nurtured, as they nurture their baby. Pregnant women should be loved, as they learn to love their babies. Pregnant women should be ministered to, as they minister to their babies.
I must share an incredible story that I personally witnessed last year. For years after my first pregnancy, I wanted to become a doula. So when I accepted my call as a doula, I dedicated my experience directly for the service of my church. Just six months after I accepted my call, we had a total of nine women expecting babies in the church. My time to answer this call was just in time. My experiences were mind-blowing of course. But my first mom had an interesting story. Her and husband are leaders in our church and at the time, they were on the verge of becoming ordained as Elders. She carried her baby very well throughout her pregnancy. We were very close during that time (and we still are). At the time of her baby’s due date, her and her husband had an important decision to make about becoming ordained. Either (1) he was going to get ordained without her, (2) they would both miss ordination, OR (3) they would both get ordained, NO MATTER WHAT! She was my first mom to give birth for the year and I really didn’t want to miss the birth but her contractions started the morning of the Elders’ ordination. Talk about perfect TIMING. I talked to her husband that day and I told him, “you’re either going to get ordained together or not. But please don’t push yourselves to come. Stay home and labor with her, and when it’s time to go to the hospital, Go!” My mind was all about the baby. Well, to eliminate the suspense…this couple came to ordination that night. I watched my mom calmly sit through this ordination while having contractions. I didn’t take my eyes off of her and she didn’t make one peep. We were the only ones that really knew what was going on. In my mind, she was my “s-hero”. Now, I would not recommend anyone to do this but this was a case of a supernatural childbirth. She even stayed for the reception! I was in shock. At about midnight, she gently pulled me to the side and said, “It’s time”. My response was, “OKAY!!!!!! Let’s GO!!!!!!!!” By the time I made it to the hospital to help her, my mom and dad was in the birthing room getting ready to push. Shortly after, tears came to my eyes when this baby was born. He was perfect. Born at around 3am at 9lbs. It was a safe delivery and recovery. Mom did everything, SUPERNATURALLY. Can I take credit for any of that? Let’s just say, I consider myself to be an active by-stander. Perhaps my story this year will be different.
There is no cookie cutter formula about how to be pregnant and involved in ministry, and no one to my knowledge is really talking about it. But I will say that it could be a time of joy for you as you worship the Lord, pray to Him daily, cover yourself with anointing oil (don’t forget your baby bump), control your emotions (as much as possible), ALLOW YOUR HUSBAND TO RULE OVER YOU (like my mom did, you can do it too), and don’t worry about finding the formula right now. Remember, it doesn’t exist. 😉