What's Your Story?

Guest post by Jordan Garner 

 

A year ago this Christmas I made the decision to help with the God Behind Bars Christmas party. It was a decision made to help me get out of my box and experience new things. The night was amazing and eye opening, but it wasn't the women there or the event that most spoke to me, it was the drive home.

 

That night I'd made another bold (for me) decision and carpooled with a couple girls I'd never met. I showed up at Mollie's house and there she allowed me into her home. Both of us seemed nervous, but she was so kind and hospitable. I sat on her couch chatting with the baby, hubs and cat, and then our driver showed up and we left. The roads were crazy icy that night so the majority of that ride was spent talking about the roads and my "Big Thing" which was to run in the Colfax Marathon. But it was mostly superficial chit chat.

 

We went about the night and then it was time to go home. 

 

I don't remember how we got onto the topic, but Mollie began to share her story with us. I remember sitting there dumbfounded and amazed at this incredible woman. The things she has endured, struggled through and overcome to be who she is... to say her story is something we should all hear is a complete understatement. She finished her story after graciously indulging my naive questions and then asked, "What's your story? What's your testimony?"

 

Guys! I didn't have an answer. 

 

"Oh, Um... I've been a Christian since I was 5 when my family got saved. I grew up in a private Christian school. I sang on the worship teams at school and church for years and years and now here I am. I don't really have a testimony, I don't think"

 

She didn't buy it. Told me I was wrong and that everyone has a story, a testimony.

 

"I wish I had a great story to tell you, like yours."

 

Again, she stopped me in my tracks, "No you don't, don't ever wish that on yourself"

 

She encouraged me to look deeper and find my story. She told me it was in there somewhere. So I've spent the last year trying to keep my eyes open and find my story. 

 

Here it is.

 

When I was 5 my family started doing the church thing, the God thing. I was so young and I truly don't remember a time that it wasn't just part of our life. I was home schooled through the 2nd grade and then started in a real school in 3rd at the age of 9. I was the 4th youngest kid in the class. I continued in that same private Christian school until I graduated in 2003. We learned about Jesus everyday. In junior high I began to have friend problems. I think they probably started earlier than that, but I don't think they really started to sink in until junior high. Girls were here mean and I was impressionable. Definitely on the sheltered side of life at that stage. I was learning that navigating female friendships was a tricky thing and I didn't realize that I was also learning a strong distrust for those kinds of friendships. In High school I dated the bad boys. The ones who would ultimately get me in trouble and then start rumors about me that weren't true. By Junior year I would lose all but one of my friends because of those rumors, which is a harsh blow when you only have a class of 15 people who you've known the majority of your life. My only happiness would come from volleyball and my choir, show choir and show trio. They were the only place where (I thought) my talent and worth were undisputed. No one could tease me or take that away from me, and I was mostly correct. But Senior year, at 17, is where my story starts to take a turn.

Me and my graduating class. . . of 15.

Me and my graduating class. . . of 15.

 

I began dating a boy a couple years older than me and, obviously, more experienced. I started going with him to his college FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes) group with him every week. We spent so much time together, my parents had even let me go home with him (to Nebraska) for Valentines day. Things were good and I was happy, I thought. Until I turned 18. Things changed in him. He started pressuring me to be physical, sexually, and I wasn't ready, wasn't having it. One day he pinned me down in the bedroom of his apartment and started to force himself on me. Thankfully, his roommate came home to hear me yelling and came to my rescue. Because I was so naive, I stayed with him, until a few weeks later when he broke up with me saying that I wasn't mature enough for him. Really???

 

Move ahead a few more years, and a couple more difficult relationships and I'd met my now husband. We went through a lot of crap and healing together. When we were married with a 6 month old son, he got sick. Seemingly overnight my incredibly strong, fit, and healthy husband was to sick to move. I took him to the doctor for the second time in 24 hours and I was told that I need to take him to the ER. Now. They'd already called to tell them we were coming. Within 3 hours we were admitted for severe pneumonia. Within 4 hours he was on a cannula with a mask over it, both at 100% oxygen to keep his stats up. Within 6 hours I was being told that if I'd have waited 6 more hours to bring him in, that he would likely be dead, they don't know why, or what was wrong. After 2 days I was making the decision to put my husband into a medically induced coma because he no longer had the strength to fight this mystery illness on his own. I stayed by his side everyday as he went through lung tests, biopsy's, surgeries, a form of dialysis and so many other medical tests. Our son was brought to me every 6 hours to nurse and pick up what I'd pumped in between. I had to make every decision and be the strong one while everyone else was falling apart. And then he was just better... we still have no answers. I had to help my husband do things that no wife should have to do, and we still don't know why, or what had happened.

Clayton intubated, in a coma, November 2013

Clayton intubated, in a coma, November 2013

 

Flash forward 18 months. I was at my 20 week ultrasound with boy number 2 and I was told that something is wrong with his heart. at 21 weeks I had a fetal ECG at The Childrens Hopsital CO. They told us that our sons heart was seriously sick and that we had the choice to terminate or face a lifetime of medical struggle and possibly death within the first year of his life. A few days later I got a call from the top fetal cardiac surgeon in Boston saying that we were perfect candidates for a potentially life saving, still experimental, fetal heart surgery. So off we went, to Boston, where we didn't know anyone. I had my tiny, unborn child's heart operated on at 23 weeks of pregnancy. He survived, I survived. But we were not out of the woods. Eddie was born by C-section at 39 weeks. I didn't get to see him for over an hour. I never got to see my brand new baby without a wire or cord attached to him. They never showed me my son before rushing him out of the room. Since he was born he has been on several medications, oxygen, had a seizure, had a catheter heart surgery through his neck and an open chest heart surgery, among other things.

We took this one right before they took me to the OR in Boston to have our unborn baby's heart operated on. I was more nervous than I'd ever been and he was terrified, too. 

We took this one right before they took me to the OR in Boston to have our unborn baby's heart operated on. I was more nervous than I'd ever been and he was terrified, too. 

 

I have dealt with rejection, heartbreak, PTSD, post partum depression and anxiety. I've dealt with finding my identity through trials. I struggle with staying true to who am I and wondering who that is. I have continuously questioned my worth as a daughter, mother, wife and friend.

 

And then this year happened. Mollie telling me that I have a story sent me into a spiral of questioning if that was true. Guys, she was so right. I don't have a story like hers and that's ok. I have my own. 

 

My life allows me to come alongside the battered woman. It allows me to sit in her shame, sit in her pain and offer gentle, loving guidance and support. It allows me to encourage her to let her light shine again through the ugliness that this world offers us daily.

 

My life allows me to enter a hospital with strength and a clear mind to sit with the mom of a very sick baby and allow her to come apart and be messy with her tears. It allows me to give her guidance on what to ask the nurses and doctors and to go rest. And my presence there allows her to trust that she's not alone in her fear and pain. 

This is Eddie two years ago today after his first open heart surgery, at three months old.

This is Eddie two years ago today after his first open heart surgery, at three months old.

 

My life allows me to come alongside women taking care of sick husbands and children and give them support they didn't realize they needed. It allows me to instinctually help. It allows me to have a sympathetic and empathetic heart for women who are broken.

Clayton with our 6 month old, Oliver, just days before Clayton came home from the hospital. 

Clayton with our 6 month old, Oliver, just days before Clayton came home from the hospital. 

 

Friends, I have a story. It might not be one of light bulb transformation. It's not one of overcoming addiction. But it's a story. It's my story and I am proud of it. I've been a Christ follower all my life, and though I've fallen away and made poor decisions, I've never struggled in knowing who God is. But I've struggling in knowing who I am.

God calls us to be exactly who we are. We are perfectly imperfect and I believe that's what makes each one of our stories so perfectly unique. In HIM we are perfectly imperfect. Think about it. If we all had the same story, then what kind of story would that be? I'm realizing that I am who I am for a very good reason. God wants me that way, and my story is still developing, it's still being told, written and lived. Everyday my life is adding to more of what is my testimony and that's such a beautiful thought. My testimony today might be very different than the one God uses in 20 years. How cool is that? 

 

I know who I am. I know my worth.

 

I know my story.

Week 3: Unpacked

Because of the AMAZING Nicole Espy, if you missed my talk last week on sex, she did a LIVE recording and posted it on our Facebook page! God bless her! It's under videos if you missed.

 

I said several things from the stage last week and followed them up by saying “if you remember nothing else, remember this” so I do want to go through and restate those things because come to find out, there were a LOT of things I wanted you to remember. :I

 

My talk could basically be summed up with the two main points being things that apply to WAY more than just sex in our lives and those things were:  

1) We are all broken

2) Our unwillingness to TALK about our brokenness is what keeps us from healing.

 

I went on to unpack four practical application points to help aide in healing our sexual brokenness or “limps” specifically, and those points were as follows:

1)    Cut the wound open. Be willing to go through the pain it might cause to sit your husband down and open up about what you see and feel when it comes to sex in your marriage and your past experiences with it. What holds you back? Do you have any past baggage you need to share with him? How do you feel about your body? How do you feel about his expectations? What are his needs? Etc. etc.

2)    Nike. JUST DO IT. Go against your nature and initiate or agree to sex in the times that you have been dodging it. When you feel upset, insecure, afraid etc. Be willing to take some risks. There’s no sense in going through our marriages on a hamster wheel if we are experiencing frustration- try something new. When it comes to fighting for your marital intimacy- you can’t really lose here.

3)    Know the enemy is waiting. Acknowledge that sex is of such importance that the enemy has been working to break your relationship with it loooong before you even met the man who became your husband and that he was influencing your husband in the same way. SO… know that wherever there is a victory in your marriage, in particular, your sexual relationship that because it’s the single most beautiful act of relational intimacy we are GIVEN- know that he is there. He is fighting in UGLY and brutal ways to keep you from having sex and to set you back anytime you make any forward progress.

4)    PERSIST. When it comes to any sort of brokenness- the more work required to heal it, the more powerful the result right? So, because healthy sex has the power to transform our marriages- know that the work required to take it back and honor it will be HARD. It will require sacrifice, love as a verb kind of action, time, and the willingness to PERSIST even if things feel hard or hopeless.

The last thing I really wanted you to take away was to stop yourself the next time you’re declining one of your husband’s advances and consciously think differently about what is going on, to reframe it. I said “I want you to HUMANIZE his need for you.” Now I repeat though, this does not mean just give in and have sex. What it means is to stop and think about what is happening. Recognize how you’re feeling, what you’re assuming his advance might mean. Is it kind of a like a, “great, this again?” or “as if I haven’t done enough today” or simply “I’m so tired.” Identify what you’re feeling and think for a second what he might be feeling. Could he be afraid you’re going to roll your eyes at him and say not tonight again but he wants closeness with you so bad that he’s putting himself out there despite the risk of being shut down? Could it be that his body is responding to the fact that during his lunch break he got a vision of you at the park from last weekend when you had no idea that he was looking but you smiled while swinging with your daughter and it was the most beautiful thing he’s seen for awhile? That he’s been carrying that image all day? Maybe it’s a perfect opportunity to say babe, what you said earlier in the kitchen really hurt my feelings and I have been holding onto it but I hate how things like this get between us so I want you to know that sex is the last thing I want right now because I’m still mad… but I want YOU. I want to fight for the health of our marriage so be patient with me, can we settle for cuddling tonight? Or like I said, rolling over and looking at him with a sweet smile and saying “I can’t get into that headspace right now babe, but I would love if tomorrow night after we put the kids down- we just go to town on each other.” And yes, you can still be a Christian and say that. ;)

Lets fight the cycle of wanting sex so desperately our whole lives just to finally get married, have children, and dread it.  

Now, I have to say that if any of this seems insensitive or impractical its because it lacks the meat that puts it in context so go watch the video!

I love that Nicole stood after me and said what she did about you needing to find a woman, NOW, who will agree to hitting her knees on behalf of your marriage. Who will tear the roof off for you and your husband both in an effort to push you closer to Jesus. Find a friend who agrees to pray not just over your marriage but over sexual intimacy specifically in your marriage.

 

 

I need to say this. When I stepped off the stage last week I was almost instantly attacked. I had been studying and praying, asking God to use me to speak what he wanted said- for the FIVE months leading up to those 40 minutes in front of you. In those five months, I felt in stride with the spirit and confident, not as a result of my own strength but alive and confident with what Christ was doing. I stood up there and poured out what God led me to and LOVED the gift of being able to do so for every single one of those 40 minutes…. until I sat down in my chair.

I came under FIRE. So much so, that I ended up crying which if you know me, is weird unless I’m watching “This is Us.” I instantly started backpedaling. Insecurity, fear, and twinges of regret began falling out of my mouth. The crazy thing is that because the enemy is so cunning, the way he attacked me was by saying “You said too much, you hurt someone.” Which seems kind of noble right? It could be healthy for me to feel sensitive and conscious that I may have reopened wounds or triggered some really hard things but not when it means feeling as if I shouldn’t have said the things that God led me to in the first place. I can be sorry for the pain caused while not being sorry for the content that caused it. I thank the Lord for the women who rallied around me afterward and said “No, you don't get to do that. You spoke Truth, don’t ever doubt when Truth is spoken.” 

I feel like God placed these blinders of sorts on me as I prepared to speak. He steered me away from my typical empathic and sensitive emotions and kept my eyes fixed on Him. He knows that had He opened my eyes to the potential of someone getting hurt, I never would’ve gotten on that stage.

If the enemy is alive and well within our group and we are worthy of being attacked- it’s because we’re onto something. The vulnerability that is being lived out, the risks taken and the all-out GUTS it takes to go first in our fight for freedom will always be something the enemy sets as priority 1 to destroy. So lets keep it up. I closed last week apologizing that my message wasn't warm and fuzzy. It wasn't the kind of thing where I stood and was able to say "You are doing exactly what you're supposed to do and you are exactly where you're supposed to be as a Mom" because I pray that you already KNOW that. In knowing your strength and power as a woman and mother already- THAT is was makes room for messages like this that can leave us with the audacity to want more. To go after the highest potential for those we love the most. 

 

So lets keep giving the enemy hell…  and improve our marriages and sex lives while doing it. ;)

PhotoCred the famous Bre Boyle

PhotoCred the famous Bre Boyle

Week 2: Unpacked

Katie Elizabeth Kemp. Goodness gracious ladies if you haven’t already sought her out please do so now at Katieelizabethkemp.com, follow her on instagram @katieelizabethkemp, and find her on Facebook.

 

Katie’s message about blooming in the midst of our messes has stuck with me since she spoke. So many pieces of what she taught and encouraged us with are relevant to our Mom journeys so I want to take this opportunity to rehash and expand on a few of the beautiful truths she imparted on us.

 

It is no joke that Motherhood tests us daily. As Katie said, we’re in a position that requires us to be pouring into our children constantly for a span of nearly 20 years and in the end we don’t even get to keep them! In the midst of this we’re surrounded by the toxic temptation to compare ourselves with other mothers while factoring in what the books are telling us, while listening to what the church says, what our mothers say, and what we ourselves criticize ourselves with. As a result, at the end of the day we end up exhausted trying to base our worth as mothers on the performances of our children- what we are producing. It’s just gross. It robs us of our joy and freedom. Katie showed us and challenged us to recognize that in the middle of the hamster wheel of believing our production determines our worth- we have been given an opportunity to draw nearer to our creator. She showed us that we can embrace the freedom God’s been offering all along if we’ll just stop looking side to side at others and begin looking up toward him…. even when we're smack dab in the middle of poop, vomit, and hormones.

 

 

I love Katie’s reminder that we were preselected for the children we've been given. God knew just who we would Mother and that there is no mistake in it. Katie’s sweet daughter Hallie stands as a testimony to how beautiful and challenging motherhood can be. Her daughter’s blindness has been a challenge so great that it has given way to a story equally as inspiring. One that left us all feeling empowered last Thursday.

 

What if in the middle of the diarrhea on the crib, the vomit and blow-outs, broken glass and blood stained ER visits, we could remember what the Lord spoke to Katie. “How much more do I take your messes time and time again. Hand them over to me; let me show you how I turn them to fertilizer.”

 

In this invitation Katie recognized that God had never tasked her to perform up to a standard, he never intended for us to desire to be “good enough.” These demands are not from Him. God showed Katie His upside-down kingdom; that in cleaning poop, in mothering a child with disabilities, in fighting illnesses, in the seemingly uninspiring and mundane- God hold us higher. He invites us nearer to Him. As Katie said “there is a place in us that cannot be measured, our foundation. From this place is where God sees us and from there is where He brings life.” God encourages us to give our messes to him, allow him to turn them to fertilizer and watch as they make us bloom.

 

As Katie painted in front of us, I watched so intently as she seemingly threw paint on the canvas and then followed behind it with a simple tool that transformed thin lines into flowers at full bloom. I watched as she shared such a vulnerable piece of herself in live-painting in front of 100 women and because she shared something that makes her feel alive, I left feeling more alive myself. Next time I am frustrated, knee-deep in my messes I will remember Katie’s daughter, joyful that milestones are reached period, regardless of their timing- set completely apart from pressure to perform or expectations of what things should look like. Since writing makes me feel alive, I will pull my journal out when I feel like crying and recall in vivid detail how gross my messes might feel in order to consciously identify the beauty God is inviting me to enjoy in the middle of it.

 

 

Our journeys may look differently than Katie’s but she challenged us to look at our messes and to seek God within them. To reframe what may seem hopeless and frustrating right now as opportunities to allow God to till our soil, turn our messes into rich fertilizer and to set us into full bloom.

 

What are your messes? What do you need to turn over to him? And what steps can you take toward feeling more alive?

WEEK ONE: UNPACKED

 

     MOPS has begun. I cried on my way in that first morning. (Thanks to the amazing build in “Closer than you know” by Hillsong.) I teared up and giggled more than a couple times while taking pictures and videos from that box in the back that I almost fell off of. Our first meeting was an emotional roller coaster and the culmination of a lot of prayer and excitement.

     

     We are all. finally. together. So many opportunities await us this year; some will be beautiful, others might stretch us in uncomfortable ways, but not a single one will you you have to face alone. We are actively building community and what a blessing it is.

     

     Mandy Arioto, CEO/Prez extraordinaire for MOPS International (based and operated out of DENVER C to the O if you didn't catch that) said a lot of sweet and funny things last Thursday in that video and I want to touch on something she said that was especially poignant to me. There’s a slight chance that as a result of my being knee-deep in PMS right now that this point isn't as powerful as I think it is, but because of said PMS, I don’t really care. ; )

     

     We have been beating the freedom drum as we’ve geared up for the start of our year. We’ve discussed what becoming free entails and what it requires from you in our blog posts, promo videos, and status updates. We’ve preached about being bold, going first and letting love be the loudest voice but it wasn’t until our first morning together that I realized the implications of that last part. When you think gutsy, boldness, going first - you think in terms of action right? In verbs. “What can I DO to be more bold or to go first?” So it makes sense that I took ‘making love the loudest voice’ and applied it only to my voice. I vowed to use this year at MOPS to challenge myself to begin using different language in my life. To watch my tone and attitude toward my husband, children and friends. To slow my anger and impulsivity, to hold my tongue and remember to breathe love all over the things I do and speak. As noble and beautiful as these challenges are: I didn’t consider for a second until Mandy said it, that I have a say in allowing love to be the loudest voice I HEAR on a day to day basis too. And it kinda floored me.

 

     

All too often we’re so busy listening to the voices of the world that we effectively mute the steady hum of Love that follows our every move. We harken ourselves to voices that say “you yell too much, you’re not a good mom” or “remember what your body looked like before kids?”  We’ve memorized the steady drone of “You. are. not. enough” and we’ve let these words sink in rather than attuning our ears and hearts to the still, soft voice saying “you are loved” “you are worthy” and “I will help you, you need only ask.”  The vibration we feel in our solar plexus when our Father’s authoritative love says “Come find me in the quiet my dear, and remember you ARE enough.”

 

 

     But if we thought breathing love into the things we SAY would be hard, then we’re in for an adventure when it comes to training ourselves to HEAR love first in our lives when it’s in competition with the volume of the world. Wanna know where we can practice? Here.

    If we will boldly speak love over one another at these meetings and in the conversations and growth that take place outside of these meetings, then maybe our ears will be familiarized with the sound of love, our hearts will recognize their subtle acceleration and our bodies can grow comfortable with the the warmth that comes from letting our Father's love be the loudest voice.

 

 

As Mandy said, “God is proud to be seen with you.” Practice first the sound of this.

Let's help one another elevate His voice over the world’s. love loudly today.

 Be Bold.

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THE STORY OF MOPS AT RRC.

I emailed Nicole Espy a while back asking her to jot down some of the bullet points of how MOPS came to be at RRC. I didn’t want to burden her with having to write it all out so I asked for the important bits with the intention that I’d just fill in the rest. When I opened her email, I laughed. . . HARD and then cried a bit at the end seeing God’s hand so clearly throughout the deatils. It hit me that I didn’t need to fill-in or edit a thing and that simply stated, this story wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t told in her voice, from her heart. 

 

So here you go, the story of how MOPS was brought to Red Rocks Church as a result of our girl Nicole Espy’s obedience and love for Mamas and Jesus:

 

“I had just had Evie, she was maybe 6 or 7 months old and I was doing a clients hair who ran the MOPS at Foothills Church in Arvada for 8 years when she said “How about you start a MOPS at Red Rocks?” Considering I now had a child and Jake had just gotten the job there earlier in the year it made sense but my first thought when she said this was “Ummmm, no thanks. MOPS isn’t that cool, and I’m like. . . way cool.” So I just said “Oh yeah, maybe” shrugged it off and changed the subject.

 

I went home THAT night and felt God speak to me saying that I should do this. I should bring MOPS to Red Rocks. I feel like there have been times in my life when I’ve clearly felt the Lord instruct me to do something and this was definitely one of them. Over the next few days I wrestled with it and prayed through it and ended up contacting that client at Foothills Church. I told her I wanted to do it and asked if she’d help me get some thoughts and plans together before I talked to the church. I remember bringing my daughter into her house with she was with her four kids. We’re sitting there as she’s trying to explain to me what all goes into MOPS in an hour long play date while kids are running around and interrupting us every two seconds. I remember leaving feeling more overwhelmed than I had when I walked in without any information.

 

A few weeks later at church I saw Jill Johnson. I didn’t know her well but I stopped to talk to her nonetheless and basically asked her what she thought about MOPS at RRC. She replied that it was one of the things that saved her life when she had just moved to Colorado to start Red Rocks and had young babies. She went to MOPS at a different church. She advised me to email BZ and that she would personally “help” get this moving up the pipeline, so to speak.

 

About a week after this I sat next to a girl in church at Littleton where Jake was leading. I’d seen her drop off her baby upstairs a few minutes prior so I knew she was a Mom and I thought she was adorable. Lol During worship I felt God leading me to ask her to help bring MOPS to RRC so after church I lean to this stranger, introduce myself and ask if she’d be interested. This woman’s name was Lindsey. She went on about how she’d been praying for MOPS at RRC and agreed to help. I find out shortly after this that she lives in Highlands Ranch which is a HIKE from Arvada but we started our “long distance” friendship anyway. We’d meet in the middle and spent some time getting to know one another and dreaming through all of the things we wanted to do while waiting on a response to the email we sent to RRC leadership. She had a friend who led MOPS at Cherry Hills in HR so she offered her as a resource. It dawned on me in this moment that I’d never even been to a MOPS meeting so I really had no idea what I was doing.

 

We got our response from Brian Zibell that he and the guys agreed to let us start it! They felt that this demographic had been hard to reach through life groups as a result of bedtimes and child care so they saw the need and wanted to meet it. They let us start one group of around 100 women and would see how it went from there.

 

At this point, I began stalking people on Facebook. Mom’s I’d seen at church with children, people I kind of knew the names of and just started cold messaging them asking them to form our steering team. Needless to say, I found a team, they just might’ve thought I was a crazy person. Lindsey and I met with Nat who was her friend in charge of MOPS at Cherry Hills and walked away feeling really confident that we could actually do this. We set up a meeting with BZ and JB and brought our ideas to the table. We discussed retreats, decor, the Mom-Con conference; the expensive details. The guys kind of stopped us and said “Yeah. . . we’re going to let you do this… but it’s going to have to be a little simpler than that.” I walked away feeling a bit defeated wondering how we were going to manage to do this.

 

God reminded me over and over that week that it wasn’t about those things, the bells and whistles but rather getting Moms together, providing community and encouraging one another through the journey of Motherhood. I recognized the need in myself for friends I could walk through this season with and I knew others had to feel the same. I also knew I couldn’t get through a single day of this Mom thing without Jesus and I just wanted to share that.

 

So, we scaled back. We created and invented ways to make this thing nice and classy without it being expensive. As a team we grew together and we did it.

 

We filmed our first promo and I remember asking a Mom of three, Kenna, what she does for herself and watching her start crying as Carson was filming because she couldn’t think of anything she’d done for herself for a long time. It clicked in this moment that this was going to be big. Moms needed this.

 

Registration filled up quick. We had to turn some Moms away. My heart broke but I was reminded that God works all things together for the good of those who believe in him and are called according to His purpose.

 

There have been additional hurdles since the inception of MOPS at RRC. Year two of MOPS,  the night before the first meeting (I was 36 weeks with Scar) my power went out before 7pm when it was a calm comfortable NINETY FIVE degrees. I packed my family up and went to my Moms to spend the night because Satan wasn’t about to stop me from sleeping and getting there semi-presentable without killing someone. Then I had Scarlett the day of our second meeting. Every meeting after for that second year of MOPS, I would nurse her in a little dark room before I went up to speak and after I got done. (Needy much Scar?) I went through MAJOR post-partum depression that year but I made it through that year as a direct result of my tribe and my Jesus and through sharing my misery that year with the women around me. I might’ve cried through every devotional but I made it.

 

Anyways, God has ALWAYS shown up and taken CARE of MOPS at RRC. I think that’s why my heart doesn’t begin to accelerate when discouragement knocks. There have been lots of hurdles but He crushes them every single time.” -Nicole Espy



 

Hear this. You wouldn’t be reading this right now, you wouldn’t have followed the link from the blog or Facebook page because it wouldn’t exist had Nicole not listened to what God was impressing on her heart. She answered the call boldly in starting conversations, stepping out in faith and spending special time with the Lord early in her motherhood journey. As a result, we are her, together growing and shaping one another’s lives for the better and giving Jesus a wider door from which to enter into our homes, marriages, and lives. Remember this the next time you feel stifled or intimidated that you don’t know someone well enough to approach them or that what you have to offer doesn't seem like enough. Your impact matters. You are fiercely loved and relied on by the Kingdom of Heaven. -MT

Welcome.

I pray that MOPS becomes more comfortable for you this year than your favorite leggings and broken-in Mom spot on the couch. More than the curl of your fingers around your favorite mug when you’re infrequently granted a few moments of solitude to contemplate and drink coffee at the temperature it’s supposed to be consumed (and not as a result of the microwave.)