Can I just get a quick show of hands to anyone out there that is in MOPS? You too? Oh good! Ladies I cannot tell you just how much MOPS has been a blessing to me this year. Moving to a new area, starting from scratch with a new home, new community, new year of homeschooling, and having to make all new friends not just for myself but for my kids as well, I knew that I needed to get involved in something and it needed to happen in a way that I couldn’t back out.
Through a friend at my last base I was introduced (via FB!) to a good friend of hers who was also coming to the new area I was going to. We became instant FB friends and bonded on the fact that we would both be new here, both homeschooling, and well we had a mutual friend who is has great taste in friends so we must be friends! Right after moving we met and she started talking about how she got involved in the MOPS group here because she also knew she was going to need the support and her last MOPS group was awesome in that. A few weeks later I met the woman who was leading that MOPS group and loved her and knew I needed to join it.
A few weeks after I made the choice to join and went to a few of the playdates to start meeting people I was asked if I would consider being a Table leader. I wanted to say yes right away because well, I like to say yes. But I took the advice of the woman who was leading it and prayed about it. But it didn’t take long for me to say yes as I knew this was a way for me to be committed to it so that I couldn’t back out and also a way for me to start my journey of Women’s Ministry that has been on my heart for a while now.
While I thought I would be helping and blessing these women (and I do hope I am), I have been blessed so much more than I ever thought possible. I have learned far more this year (and it’s only been one semester) then I have ever learned about myself or God in my adult life.
This year’s theme for MOPS is “Be you Bravely”. Wow! I know this theme wasn’t made just for me but sometimes it sure feels like it! And guess what? This goes perfectly with my desire to know what it really looks like to Thrive in Christ! Isn’t it amazing how God brings just what is needed to your feet as you need it?
At our last meeting we covered the courage to tell your story. To show who you really are and where you have come from. Bit scary right? I think so. It’s one thing to share the basics about yourself or to go a little deeper with a few others and talk about more personal things. But to truly tell your story so God can use it for good – that is a step that takes a lot of courage. It also takes a lot of thought. Not everything you go through will be a story that everyone needs to hear. Stories that include other people should really be protected as you don’t know if the other people in your story are ready to share it. You should be courageous in sharing the stories that God wants you too, to the people God wants you to share it with. But that doesn’t mean every part of your life needs to be on display for the world to see. Start by sharing it with God. Yes He already knows it, but He still wants to hear it from you. If your spouse doesn’t really know it, share it will them. Then if you are feeling called to share with others, do so with close friends. If you are still feeling the call, then share it with a small group that would benefit from it. (You wouldn’t share a story about childbirth to a group of parents having issues with teens unless it can somehow relate, right?) Share with those who need to hear.
Sharing isn’t just for others, it starts out being for you. It’s healing to say the words and thoughts you have been living with and just to have someone listen. Even if they don’t know how to respond, just voicing it starts healing for you. It helps you to see how big or small the issue really is, it helps you to get out of your head. It’s the starting point. It also helps you to see if you need to get help for it instead of brushing it under the rug. It’s also a way to help us continue to feel the blessings that have come from that story over and over again.
Since joining MOPS I have shared some of my stories with my table. But the story that I was asked to tell our Teen MOPS group is one I have only shared as facts before. Not really voicing the feelings of it, not sharing the emotions or the deep truths about it. That group got my unprepared, unguarded, emotional story about how I first came to be a mother and the first few years that followed. Did they get all the facts? No, they heard the emotions, the real life thoughts, struggles, and blessings. They heard what God wanted me to share. And from that point I have seen were I still need healing, really how much God has blessed my life and worked through me. I can tell that at least some of what I had to say really reached out to those mothers but it’s amazing to me just how much they reached back to me and by asking me to share, they have made a difference in my life to let the healing begin.
Ladies, I urge you to start telling your story, to be real with your friends and family(maybe even with your church group). And if you are needing support or friendships, look for a MOPS group in your area.
“MOPS International is dedicated to meeting the needs of every mother of preschoolers. MOPS strives to attain this vision through the local MOPS group. A MOPS group is started through a local church, and often has a leadership team made up of 8 key positions, although many groups start with only 2 or 3 leaders. Most MOPS groups vary in size from 10 to 200 women. MOPS groups usually meet once or twice a month, and often provide childcare through the MOPPETS program.” ~Taken from the MOPS website
“Teen MOPS provides a faith-based, supportive, nonjudgmental environment where teen moms can come together for mentoring and encouragement. In Teen MOPS, the teaching, activities and friendships are all focused on the very distinct needs of teenagers. Teen MOPS helps teen moms become more self-sufficient, confident, mature and giving young women. Teen MOPS groups can meet in public schools or community centers, as well as in churches, and often meet twice a month for teaching and/or activities. Teen MOPS leaders receive additional resources specifically related to teen parenting.” ~Taken from the MOPS website
“A group for mothers of school-age kids. At MOPS International we believe Better Moms Make a Better World. This is true during the preschool years and beyond. As mothers enter the school years, new challenges and issues arise, but the need for community and hope remains. For this reason we offer MOMSnext, a ministry to mothers of school-age kids. A MOMSnext group is an open, accepting place for all mothers of school-age kids to experience authentic community, personal growth, practical help and spiritual hope” ~Taken from the MOPS website
“A Military MOPS group is sponsored by a base chapel or local church. Because of the unique situations Military moms face, MOPS International has designed this program with a great deal of flexibility. Military MOPS groups meet once or twice each month and typically provide childcare through the MOPPETS program. Military MOPS meetings include time for developing relationships through teaching, discussion groups, creative activities and fellowship time over a shared meal or snack.” ~Taken from the MOPS website