This year we plan to feature one real woman of God each month. Every woman is uniquely designed by God to fulfill His purpose for their life. The most amazing thing is that each of us are unique in the ways we balance our days. This new series of interviews gives us a glance into how some women are living for the Lord through the ministry of their home.
Each of our guests are chosen for their strong faith and dedication to God. To the world, these women may lead ordinary lives, but to God, they are his daughters fulfilling His divine purpose.
TODAY’S GUEST IS SARAH BOWLING
Sarah Bowling has helped her husband work with teenagers for almost 10 years. They have been married for 10 years (in June) and have a five-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. Her husband has been serving as assistant pastor at Crossroads Baptist Church in the thumb of Michigan for the last four years.
How has motherhood changed you?
Motherhood has shown me just how much I need Jesus. I tend to like to be in control and have everything all planned out. God has used my children (especially my son) to teach me to be more flexible and dependent on HIM instead of my own plans.
How did you become a stay at home mom? Was that your plan before having kids?
I worked while my husband finished seminary and when we moved after graduation I was unable to find another job. That worked out though because, a few months later I was pregnant with our first and I stopped looking for a job. I think it probably was our plan, though I can’t say we ever sat down and talked about it. God just worked it out that way.
What are your biggest struggles with staying home? How do you overcome them?
I think my biggest struggle with being a stay at home mom has been not living up to expectations. I can sometimes feel like I am not doing “enough” because my kids are little. But, God has shown me that right now my biggest ministry IS my family. If my husband and I lose our family we lose our ministry. I’m not doing “less” because homemaking and homeschooling and parenting take up most of my time. I’m doing exactly what God has called me to right now. I’m discipling the little lives God has entrusted to my care. I’m doing my best to point my children to Christ. There will be a time, when they are grown, to pour myself more into ministry outside my home, but for now, this is where God has me
Did you know you were called to be a Pastor’s wife before you were married?
I really struggle with the concept of being called to be a pastor’s wife. God’s plan was for me to marry my husband. God’s plan for him is currently to be a pastor. Therefore, God’s calling for me right now is to be a pastor’s wife. I am to be a help meet for my husband in whatever God calls him to. If in 15 years God calls him to be a cattle rancher then I’ll be a cattle rancher’s wife. So, no, I have never felt a calling to be a pastor’s wife, just a calling to be the best wife I can be for the husband God has given me.
What is your definition of biblical homemaking?
I think Titus 2:4-5 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” and I Timothy 5:14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” sum up biblical homemaking well.
I love that the focus is on the heart and spirit of the home so it can be a shining light to the world. Biblical homemaking is going to look different from home to home. I enjoy cooking and baking from scratch but I have friends who don’t. And that’s okay. God is more concerned about my spirit towards my family and the testimony we have as a godly household than He is with whether my bread is homemade or store bought.
Do you feel that homemaking is something you are called to do?
I do believe that God’s plan for me currently is to be a keeper at home. He’s given me a husband that He expects me to respect, love, and obey. He’s given me children He expects me to train in the way they should go. He’s given me a home and a family that He expects me to keep. Was it a mystical “calling” that I felt on my life? No. But as I tried my best to follow His will for my life in the little everyday things, this is where the path has led me.
In your opinion what is the role a mother should play in her children’s lives?
A mother is a woman of many hats. She should be her children’s biggest cheerleader but also correct them when they are wrong. She needs to guide them but also let them make mistakes and learn from them. She is to nurture and love while teaching and training. She should love and respect their daddy fiercely so they know what a godly marriage should be. She should prepare them for life by teaching them basic skills. She should be a listener. She should be a giver of godly advice. But most of all she should point them to Jesus. She should admit her flaws and show them how to run to Jesus for forgiveness and grace. She should allow her children to see her weaknesses so they can see how much their mama needs Jesus so they can see how much they need Jesus.
Do you have any skills or strengths you feel help you in your homemaking?
I am blessed with a mother and a grandmother who very much taught me the skills necessary to keep a home. Cooking, cleaning, planning, organizing, etc. all come very naturally to me. I recognize this is not true for everybody and feel incredibly blessed to have had this training in my life.
What is your favorite encouraging scripture? Why that one?
The past year and a half have been quite rough to put it simply and at the beginning of the year I was crying out to God for something to cling to for the coming year and He brought me to Psalm 143, specifically verses 8-10 “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”
Do you have a favorite woman in the bible? If so, who and why?
I love Martha. Martha gets a bad reputation because in her most notable story Martha had her priorities out of order. She was stressed out because she had a house full of people to serve and her sister wasn’t helping her. I find that incredibly relatable because I often get my priorities out of order too. Jesus gently reminds her, as He often reminds me, that HE is the most important thing. The next time we see Martha, her brother has just died and she shows tremendous faith in Jesus’ ability to bring her brother back and her ever present practicality in pointing out that Lazarus probably doesn’t smell very good at this point. And then the last time we see Martha, she’s serving again. Again, she has a house full of people and her sister isn’t helping her. But this time there’s no complaint. She serves faithfully and quietly in the background. Martha’s strength was serving and she sometimes got carried away with the stress of it all. But I think she grew as a person and learned to get her priorities straight without forsaking her service.
If you homeschool, is it something you enjoy? What is your favorite part about it?
We started homeschooling (against my better judgment) when my daughter was preschool age because she begged me to. It was awful. Most days ended with one or both of us in tears and eventually, I just gave up. As kindergarten grew closer I grew increasingly terrified. I didn’t think I could do it. Last minute my husband decided we were going to a big homeschooling conference here in Michigan and it completely changed my view on homeschooling and encouraged me to give it another shot. Kindergarten has been going MUCH better and we are both enjoying ourselves. I think my favorite part (though at first, it was also the most terrifying part) was teaching my daughter how to read. It has been so neat to see her reading ability just take off and to watch her love for reading grow.
What made you decide to homeschool your children?
We really don’t have any other options where we live. My husband went to public school and I went to a Christian school but all four of my siblings were homeschooled. We knew we weren’t sending her to public school and our local Christian school only goes through 8th grade. I figured homeschooling would be easier if you started in kindergarten than if you started in 8th grade so we decided to homeschool. Like my staying at home, it wasn’t really something we discussed in depth, it was the way God laid things out.
Do you stick to a schedule or daily rhythm?
We try! We have a daily schedule and a weekly schedule that we stick to as we can and I think it’s very important for children to have that stability, but I also think it’s important to learn to be flexible. So we have our base schedule to keep us grounded but we also do our best to go with the flow.
In what ways do you plan and organize your calendar/schedule?
I have a paper planner that I love. I plan my meals in it, keep track of birthdays and anniversaries in it, and write down all our activities and events in it. I set aside a time every Sunday to prep for the coming school week and remind myself of any extra things going on. I also have a to-do list app on my phone (Wunderlist) that I love. You can make your to dos automatically repeat which is great for me because my memory is not what it used to be! So when I check off that I ironed on Monday, it will automatically reappear on next Monday’s list. This has been a great help to me in getting my weekly chores done. I also keep track of the church calendar, announcement powerpoint, and bulletin so that helps me keep track of church things going on as well. Google calendar is great for the church calendar because it will sync over multiple devices so whether I add something, my husband adds something, or our senior pastor adds something, it shows up on each of our calendars.
How do you make sure dinner is always ready? Do you meal plan?
I plan meals weekly in my planner so I can see what is going on that day and plan accordingly. So if I know my husband will have to go somewhere by six o’clock I can plan a quicker meal than if we have an evening at home. I also added, “Take meat out of the freezer” to my to-do list and made it repeat daily so I remember to do that!
Who gives you the encouragement you need to keep going?
God had to bring me to a place where I recognized that even if I had nobody else HE was enough for me. It was a very lonely time in my life but looking back I am thankful that I went through that because it taught me to find my source of encouragement in Christ. I have a loving husband, a wonderful family, and many friends all over the world who are serving Christ and who are all a great encouragement to me. But they are only human. Only Jesus can be an unfailing source of encouragement. Since learning that, God has placed some wonderful friends in my life who are also ministry wives and it has been a great encouragement to me to have friends who are going through the same things I am who I can share my heart with without fear of judgment.
Have you ever been discouraged by someone who doesn’t share your beliefs and values?
If so how do you personally handle critical comments? Having dealt with this quite recently, I can attest to the fact that it is not easy to take criticism! I try to take the criticism and see if there is any truth to it and if there is I seek to make any necessary changes. If there isn’t I *try* to leave it at the feet of Jesus.
Do you have any marriage tips you would like to share?
Make your home a refuge for your husband. Make sure your children see how much you love their daddy. Make time for each other. Put your husband first.
Do you have a favorite book about motherhood or homemaking?
Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph was a life-changing book for me. The Monday Morning Club by Claudia Barba is also a great book for ministry wives.
Do you have any rituals you do with your husband or children to make sure you connect with them every day?
I have found figuring out their love languages to be very helpful. After nap time I make time to read to my children and I try to do something special with my daughter after her brother goes to bed every night we are at home. Once both kids are in bed I spend the rest of the evening with my husband. I try to get all my work done during the day so at night we can just be together.
Name 1-2 women that inspire you in your homemaking, motherhood, marriage.
Our senior pastor’s wife is a great example of flexibility and willingness. She’s also a wonderful source of wisdom on cooking, homeschooling, and mothering.
That was so helpful Sarah! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us! What an amazing way to look at things! You are a Woman of God indeed. If you enjoyed today’s guest please leave a comment below for her.