Kings, Missionaries & Moms

“If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.” –Jordan Groom

I’ve been thinking about this quote all day. I first read it in college and then heard it in a song (Switchfoot, maybe?) and it was one of those quotes that really got me thinking. Most anyone would agree with this. It’s noble, etc. etc. However, I wonder if the reverse is true? “If God calls you to be a king, don’t stoop to be a missionary”?

I grew up as a cpk* and I’ve always been involved in full-time vocational church ministry. When my husband and I got married, that’s what we did. When we interviewed, we told pastors, “You’re lucky, if we weren’t married, you’d be choosing between us.” I’ve always wanted to be in ministry. I don’t have any other skill set.

Now, 1 baby, 2 bad churches and 12 moves later, I’m wondering if God’s calling is static or dynamic? Does His calling change as your life changes? Should I say, “If God calls you to be a mom, don’t stoop to be a pastor?” Or is the opposite for me, “If God calls you to be a pastor, don’t stoop to be mom?” *gasp* You know what I mean. Being a mom will be my crowning achievement, my opus. But what if that’s not all God has for me?

I was kind of having this conversation with my mom the other day and with my husband about once a week. I look at all these people and can obviously see them living their “calling” and loving it. I see Kristen living her calling as a suburban missionary. (Didn’t we always tell you you’d be a missionary, Kristen?) I see Yancy being a singer songwriter like God planned for her to be. I see Lindsey being the mom that she’s always desired to be. I see famous people doing what they’re supposed to do: don’t tell me God didn’t plan for Elizabeth Hasselbeck to be on The View. And say whatever you want but the 2000 Presidential Election was a spiritual battle and God’s plan won. You know that Frank Peretti is doing what God called him to do. Mama‘s calling has strengthened and morphed and changed over the last few years but you can see that she’s doing what God has planned.

All this rambling brings me to this. I’m at a crossroads. We’re in a place in our life where we’re not “in ministry” and its weird. This is probably the first time I’ve even posted about church and ministry because I just haven’t wanted to think about it. But I know we’re in a season. We’re not in our “happily ever after”. I just want to know what I should be looking forward to. Did God call me to be a missionary or a king? I’m not sure.

*children’s pastor’s kid


  1. Anonymous says:

    We’re all called to be missionaries. “Go into all the world and make disciples . . .” wasn’t a command to the special few. There was a time when our paycheck determined our ministry. Now we minister where the Spirit leads, and earn our living elsewhere. I think that both are valid callings, and there are freedoms and bondages in both situations.

    I think the wisdom in your quote is this: To be a servant in the house of the King is so much better than to be a king of beggars. Maybe the question for the believer isn’t am I called to be a missionary or a king? Maybe the question for the believer is: how do I live according to the calling I have received?

  2. Oh Amanda (like how I worked that in?) be patient, don’t stress…God will reveal. Like a million years ago I swore I would never have children…God certainly wakes a person up when it’s time to answer His true call. 🙂

  3. I am with you! I grew up with my Grandfather and Uncle as pastors and my parents were music ministers. Currently I feel a little out of place. This is the first time I am not in leadership. Sure, I am involved in small groups but it isn’t quite the same. I am glad for the rest and I am looking at it as just that – a rest. Meanwhile, I feel unsettled and in a temporary place in my life. I feel like I haven’t found my call yet but I am doing what I am called to for right now. I am cherishing the mystery of right now because it is precious too. I see how God has changed me over my life and I see I am not what I expected. I am more. Not by my accomplishment but by God’s grace and His agenda. I have no idea where I am headed and I am not good with things in limbo long term. For some reason, I know this is a season of being still and I am sitting back and listening rather than pushing ahead and leading. My whole life, even as a child, I have done ‘something’ in church. This is my first bit of downtime. God still uses me but it is now more in the ordinary day to day things. It shocks me actually because it is unexpected moments but I just remain in tune and available. I have been in this place physically and spiritually for about 1 year and 7ish months. I felt panic and restless at first. Now I feel unsettled but at peace. I pray you will find if you are in hold for now or if God is changing your focus for a bigger thing. I don’t have a clue where I am headed yet, I am just remaining alert and feel I am living life on the edge of my seat, almost standing – ready to know what is next!

  4. I’m sure there are many and varied responses to a post such as yours, Amanda.

    Crossroads experiences aren’t easy. They require decisions. Based on what? Experience? Previous hindsight? Leadings? Waiting on God or steps of faith? All those and more. Some people insist they don’t make decisions based on emotions–what? If you didn’t “feel” one way or the other, there wouldn’t be a decision to make, unless you “felt” equally about all the factors. Geez, I’m a big help, huh?

    Callings are unique, and they can change or evolve, but true callings don’t disappear when any number of intrusions or invasions to their “easiness” present itself. There are seasons of rest and realignment. There are seasons of refinement. There are seasons of restoration. (Yay for the “r’s”).

    Pray your way through them, Amanda. The Lord will lift the veil so you can see the obedient path.

  5. “. . . any number . . . presents itself.” Geez.

  6. Have you ever heard the song “Painting Pictures of Egypt” by Sara Groves? It is awesome. Everytime I am overwhelmed by the lack of clarity in my life this song ministers to me. I do not mean to suggest that you are overwhelmed. I just know this song is awesome if you are in an ‘in-between’ place.

    Many blessings!!

  7. I totally understand being in those in-between places. We are too… it’s really a hard place to be in but I know when everything falls into place, we’ll be where we need to be.

    Growing pains!

  8. I totally understand what you are saying. I remember Chuck once saying (yes, I’m quoting Chuck Ramsey on your blog, but stay with me here!) that he wished he had the release to work in an office because he felt like he could be a “real witness” there. I’ve often felt that pull, “Oh I could be doing this or this or THIS!!” But usually I don’t feel like I have the release from God to spend my time on those things. Sometimes that makes me sad, but most of the time I’m happy doing what I’m doing.
    You my dear friend, are so incredibly skilled and talented in so many ways. I am constantly amazed by what you can do (whether we are talking about writing, drama, creativity, ministry or most recently, mothering). I’m excited to see what God has for you next. I fully believe that He will reveal it at the right time. I know the unknown is scary. This life just feels different when your entire life has been ministry. I am praying for clarity for you! Whatever His plan is…I know it is BIG!

  9. It’s late. i’m catching up on blogs and your post really hits home with me. There are so many thoughts and emotions that well up inside me but i’m not sure that i can put them into words here. Not cause i don’t want to but i’m not sure how. lemme try

    My parents were missionarys and ministry was where i always thought i would be. And i am sort of now but i guess i just think i have redifined “ministry” I think there is so much more to be done outside of the organized church to help the church but just because you aren’t getting paid to serve God right now (my old definition of “being in ministry”) doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing what you are called to do for Him with your family or people that He brings into your life.

    I’m sure i’m not making sense here but let me try another example. Brian and I were just talking about this the other day. When we recieve this “calling” from God we work towards this but sometimes we become too goal oriented that we forget that He is with us on the Journey. that He is happy with us even in the walking in that direction that maybe even in the process changes our direction as we are surrendered to Him. But if we are too blinded by the “goal” we step over everyone to get there even Jesus. Just remember He took 30 years to journey toward his “goal” and even when it was time He wasn’t in a hurry.

    Those people that you mentioned are most likely enjoying their Journey and if you asked them they wouldn’t say they have “arrived”. Here’s me encouraging you to enjoy the Journey.. even the part where you figure out which path to take. Here’s a treat for the way.

    Psalms 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us. We love reading you!

  10. God called you to be a missionary and a king and a mom and a friend and an encourager and a witness and a wife and a writer and a genuine God-lover/follower and a Children’s Pastor and many, many more. This is the season to be a first-time mom who’s getting a chance to stay at home and make a home. I really can’t add anything else to the previous responses- because they were all full of wisdom and correct answers. I know for me, no matter what I’m doing, I always have a grander vision/bigger picture/better idea than what I am actually accomplishing at that time. A lifetime Scripture that has helped me get this exact subject in balanced reality is found in
    I Thess. 5:
    16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    What’s God’s will? A missionary or a king? Neither. It’s just to be joyful, pray and give thanks. He’ll do the rest.
    I love you!
    Mama 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    While I don’t neccessarily think God changes his plan, it’s just his plan changes in our mind. A lot of time I think he just wants to know we’re available. If you’re called to the ministry and you go, and then your work is temporarily complete, it doesn’t mean you’re done, it can just mean he’s still working up other opportunities. And as long as we’re constantly surrendering ourselves and making ourselves available, he’ll let you know when it’s time to be *active* again. There are periods of activity and rest in our walk with the Lord, so maybe this is just your time of rest. As for your ending question, why can’t you be both, but just at different times?

  12. Well, we don’t know each other well (yet), but I loved the comments on my blog yesterday. I think the point is more to listen for God’s voice. To be aware that we have a calling and heed those calls. We listened to those calls about 3 years ago, when my husband was asked to be the youth guy for our church of about 500 members. He was the deacon handling computer issues at the time. This calling was a welcome one. He loved it. Some people were not happy because they were not chosen and it turned into a bitter situation ending with unforgiveness and jealousy. I think lesson learned (and oh it was a hard lesson)… was that we are called, but pride can rear it’s ugly head. Satan is a crafty devil and he uses our glorious situations to work against us if we aren’t paying attention. I don’t say this often because most people think I’m crazy, but I believe our unforgiveness during this situation led to Izzy’s accident. I believe it gave satan a foot hole in our lives. Being a born and raise very conservative church of Christ girl this may sound weird, but things have changed and my eyes have been opened in a big way. You just don’t witness the death of your baby and then watch them fight to come back to the living world for a few years without being a little affected.
    I guess my point is that whatever God calls us to do we need to make sure we are walking in love and listening to Him continuously.

  13. You know, the Bible says that God’s call is irrevocable (Rom 11:29) so if He’s called you to ministry, rest assured, you will be doing ministry. I think His call is both static and dynamic. He never fits into our box, or our assumption of His plans for us. In times like these in my own life, others have pointed me to David. He was annointed to be king in the presence of his brothers, yet had to live in caves and run from King Saul for years before he ever took the throne. I’m sure he had more than one day where he questioned his calling, and if he was marching in the right direction. (On a funny note, at least no one’s trying to kill YOU!) But during that time, David was in training. Learning how to fight and how to listen to the Lord; leading a few before he would lead many. In this season of being still, enjoy what’s around you. Enjoy being a mom to that beautiful daughter. She’ll never be this young again. Listen to God in places you never thought He’d be, or didn’t expect Him to be. I’ve found that being a woman of strength (to be still; to be faithful in the little things; to pray) is so much harder than being a strong woman. He’ll lead you and your testimony will be great!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have much more to add to what the PP have said. Perhaps this is a resting place. A time for God to prepare you in ways only He knows about. I agree with the one comment who said He has called you to do many things. Some may be put on hold while He starts other works in you. Why, He is even using you through your blog. He used you to speak to me and give me a scripture that literally gave me goosebumps. So yes, your always doing His work and plan, whether you realize it or not.

  15. I hear ya. (I mean, sort of. I have never been in ministry or been a PK.) But I went through a time when I didn’t feel or hear any calling from God at all. And I complained about it (yes, complained!) to some friends. Then the moment I decided I’d just be content with whatever God gave me to do — or not do, as the case was — right after that, I had a whole bunch of new stuff to do! It was weird.

  16. OK the group was Black Eyed Sceva!
    Besides that not much to say…think about this everyday but never feel like I have an answer….but I trust Him that I am walking in the light that I feel like He has given me and Trust that I know His voice and when the change comes….if it comes…I will walk through the door!
    I love you.

Leave a Comment