The weekly TGCvocations column asks practitioners about their jobs and how they integrate their faith and work. Interviews are condensed.
Miriam Poteet is a wife and stay-at-home mom to three little girls. In 2012, she earned her PhD in applied mathematics from the Air Force Institute of Technology and chose to stay at home to serve her husband and family during a busy season of life. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with her husband, Perry, and three daughters, where they are members of Midtown Baptist Church.
How do you describe your work?
I have a PhD in applied math, but I am not currently teaching, so I do some freelance editing of academic journals because I want to stay home with my girls. My husband is a resident physician, so he’s gone a lot. On a normal day (if you can even call it normal), I do school drop-off for my oldest daughter, serve as a short-order cook for the girls, try to keep up with never-ending laundry, and run a variety of errands. Basically all that involves taking care of a house and children.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?
In general, I reflect God’s work by showing my kids the love of Christ through serving them and loving them on a daily basis. I think it’s easy for me to think only in terms of my girls because I’m with them all of the time, but I’m also able to image God by serving my husband as well. Because of the chaotic nature of my husband’s work schedule, I try to bring some form of order and stability to the busyness of our season of life.
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
The one thing I have been thinking about more recently is how motherhood reveals sin, exposing brokenness in me. Also, you don’t have to teach kids how to lie, cheat, steal, or be mean to their siblings. They wear their sinful natures on their sleeves. Now that my oldest daughter is in school, we are starting to see the outside influences of brokenness that give me more opportunities to explain why we live in a fallen world and how our Christian worldview is different.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?
In so many ways, my kids are needy and little. They are quite literally my first “neighbors.” At this age they depend on me for their daily needs, giving me a regular opportunity to serve them. While staying home affords me the opportunity to also serve my friends and neighbors in need, I’m in closest proximity to my kids.