This fall I started MOPS for the very first time. I am a married, stay-at-home mother of two girls, ages 7 and 4 and I CRAVE time with other mamas. I need it weekly (and in some seasons daily) like I need air, water, and coffee. Time in the trenches of motherhood is NOT meant to be done alone. Anything that leads you otherwise is straight from the enemy, ladies.
About 6 months after my first baby girl entered the world, the church we were attending at the time created a moms’ ministry called “Cradle Connection”, and a weekly play group. About 10 women at this modest-sized church had had babies for the first time, and all within about 4 months of each other. The Pastor leaned to a female mentor in the church and suggested that she get us all together, to meet and support one another, right away. PRAISE GOD for Pastor Mark and his foresight and wisdom. Because you know that these play-dates-to-be weren’t for the nursing babies who couldn’t even roll over.
Can anyone relate? Do you need play dates more than your kiddos do sometimes?
Pastor Mark knew we needed a community. We needed to be around other moms who were also dealing with midnight feedings, colic, pumping, diaper rashes, cold coffee, sore nipples, and new post-partum bodies. We needed “trench-mates” and women to join together as a tribe.
Since my very first time of meeting with other post-partum-bodied, sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled, love-tank-emptied mamas, I have made it my passion and my habit to surround myself with them. I have never looked back. Let me tell you about my latest mama embark…
I was excited to start MOPS for the very first time this year because I knew it was the first event in years that I have not had to plan, host, lead, organize, find childcare for, or all of the above. I majored in Organizational Communications, and before the economy fell in 2008, I was an Event Planner at the Orlando World Center Marriott.
I am a planner by birth. I have a Mary heart with a Martha personality. I LOVE signing up for things and helping plan whatever it is you need planned. Especially when it comes to mom time. Room Mom? “I’ll do it!” Volunteer in the class? “When should I be there?” Baby shower? “I’ll make the diaper cake!” Bible Study Leader? “Here I am Lord, send me!” Need someone to host it too? “I can have my house ready by tomorrow!” Help in the children’s area? “We’ll be at church anyway!” Co-organizing a meet-up group and planning weekly events? “Please, I was born for this y’all. I’ll be at every single one.”
My deep down heart is to connect with other moms, with Jesus at the center.
I thrive so much on being around others that I will literally sign up for everything, until I find myself in a Martha breakdown where Jesus finally puts the smack down and says, “Robyn, Robyn, you are worried about too many things.” Then He reels me back in…and I remember that He needs to come first…and I remember to thrive on rest in Him and His Word.
So I set down my phone and calendar and planner and emails and coffee. No…wait… definitely not the coffee ;) I humbly come sit at His feet and wait for His direction. This is that season for me. Jesus has ever so lovingly said that He has other things in store for me this season.
I sometimes wonder if I let my gifting become and idol in my life.
SIDE NOTE: Last summer I read Lysa TerKeurst’s book, “The Best Yes”. Y’all, it liberated me. It gave me the power to say no, without guilt. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. If you are stuck in a season of striving to do it all, STOP. You can and should say no to things. Everything can’t get your “best yes”, and that’s okay. Sometimes we are trying to be anything and everything so much for people, that we are in God’s way. Get out of the way ladies, He can do it way better than you can!
This year at MOPS will be different than anything I have ever been involved in, because it will be BIG. It won’t be 6-10 women in a home doing a bible study. There will be tables and speakers and leadership teams and groups and cups with church logos and microphones and music and a stage.
But, there will also be moments of vulnerability and hearing women’s hearts and testimonies. There will be prayer. There will be tears. There will be new, deep, friendships formed. There will be blessings. Things will happen that will change women’s views about themselves, their children, their friends, their husbands, their world, and Jesus. Will there be awkward moments? Of course. That’s life. Will there be differing opinions? Absolutely. Will there be women who are always early and women who are always late? You can bank on it. Consider it all joy, and give grace.
I am excited y’all. No matter which mamas show up each week, God ALWAYS shows up. God sure showed up during our first MOPS meeting. Tissues were being passed everywhere because His love and spirit were palpable. He always does more than we ever imagined or expected. He is the God of seeing around corners when we can’t, and He loves lavishing us with surprises and joy. Because He knows the plans He has for us. And they are GOOD!
So be encouraged! Like Brittany said during our first meeting. You belong here and you are worthy. Each of you has been given a God story to share, to encourage one another. The Word of God says that we will ultimately triumph over the evil one by the blood of the lamb, and the word of our testimony. So let’s triumph over him together girls! I’m excited to get into the trenches and to experience the highs and lows of motherhood with you. Let’s be tribe-mates together, ladies!