The weekly TGCvocations column asks practitioners about their jobs and how they integrate their faith and work. Interviews are condensed.
Rachael Newton is married to Josh and is a stay-at-home mom to their three kids. Their 9-year-old son has autism. They live in Little Rock, Arkansas, and are members of Midtown Baptist Church, where she also serves as the children’s ministry director.
How do you describe your work?
I’m a wife and a mother to my three kids, and I also serve part-time as the children’s ministry director at our church. I spend a lot of time taking my kids to therapies because I have two kids with special needs and developmental delays. Part of my role is serving as an advocate for my children with special needs, either in a school setting or concerning their medical needs. In addition, I also spend time doing normal errands like picking my son up from school, helping him with homework, fixing dinner, and cleaning the house. In the evenings I spend time doing my work for the church.
As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?
Patience is the first thing that comes to mind. I want to show God’s love and patience to them as I mother them, regardless of how they respond or act. But also, I have found that maintaining some sense of order in our home by doing the everyday things, like picking up toys and creating routine, helps model for my children what it means to live in this world. Because of Jack’s special needs, he thrives on routine, so to have order, not chaos, in the home is helpful to him. I desire to bring that order into our home for all my children, but especially for Jack because I know that serves him well.
How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?
Of course, because I am with little children I have the opportunity to see how early sin presents itself in their lives. But on another level, I uniquely see the brokenness of this world in my son, Jack. Because his brain is neurologically broken, I see the effects of that every day in his life. His unique struggles are such a clear picture of the brokenness of this world. In my daughter, Claire, I see it in a smaller way in her developmental delays and that her body doesn’t function physically as a typical developing child. As a parent, it is hard to see your children living with that brokenness.
Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work provide an opportunity to love and serve others?
It doesn’t matter how much sleep my children got last night or what they have done on a given day, I’m still called to show kindness, love, grace, and patience toward them. I’m not to hold things against them. I want my kids to see my love for them not as a duty, but as an overflow of my love for Christ. I want them to see Christ in me and the strength that he has provided to love them. I don’t want to view them as a bother or live for bedtime, but instead I’m learning to take advantage of every opportunity to nurture them and care for them.