Ever have those moments where you look back at the past few months and can see God's incredible touches of grace and preparedness for what's to come? I don't know if it's because I'm 30, because I have two ridiculously amazing kids and a husband who lets me live out my dreams, because of the way I was raised, because of the way I'm choosing to do life, etc. but the only way I can get through day-to-day stuff is by recognizing this world is way bigger than just ME and only God's grace is amazing enough to carry me through each moment.
I'll catch you up to speed here since it's been a minute since we've last chatted. Once MOPS started (last blog post) and my work load piled up, it's been a wild ride with not much space in between. (I can't believe I never posted about MomCon either it was an AMAZING part of this "THING" I want to share with you.
If you aren't a detail person you can skip all of my jargon for the reveal of the THING down below. If you don't mind reading all the how to's this THING came into existence...I'll take you on a little journey.
A huge challenge I've been faced with lately (strongly in 2013) was trying to surround myself with people who don't think like, act like, or believe like me. You see, I grew up in the church. I went to private christian schools the majority of my education experience. I now work in a church. My friends all believe in God and we talk about Him often. But, what good am I doing, living in these safe environments? Don't get me wrong, I'm highly appreciative for all that I've been given, blessed with, even protected by growing up the way I did. But, I'm pretty sure "my story" (past and present) has uniquely prepared me for what's ahead.
The theme this year for MOPS is "embracing your story." I was super excited about it and a little nervous all at the same time because I don't really feel that I have a very interesting "story" (my friends would say otherwise) but I just felt it was really "safe" and kind of non-impressive. Another challenge to myself from last year was to figure out how to SHARE my story. To talk about what makes me who I am and believe the way I believe. So, I've been writing it out. I even went as far as sharing it at a MOPS meeting last semester (I guess I'm due to blog about that now too, huh?) Anyways, it's all led me to a place where I just feel extremely "called" (there's a churchy word for you) to reach moms. Like seriously passionate about it. Like it can keep me awake at night sometimes, and it can keep me loving my kids too when they are driving me crazy- ha! I guess you can kind of see it's impact on my choices too from the launch of Capital Moms and Capital MOPS. But, it doesn't stop there. If you notice before each of those words (moms and mops) came the word Capital. That's not a bad thing. But it's all a church THING. I now want to help our church moms reach our community moms in this new THING. Moms that have no clue what hope looks like. Moms that have addictions. Moms that need to be loved right along their life journey. Because, regardless of where we are all at along the path; we can all relate and find a common ground on the defining word "MOM."
So, (fast forward) we are in a fasting small group study (going to admit here I didn't take it as seriously as I probably should have) but God is way cooler than me - so He drops in a new couple to our group on 11/6/13 which has spurred a unique bond between us. Jen and I head to brunch to catch up on life and share where we are at. Low and behold, God connected me the "church mom" with an advocate for the "community mom." You see, Jen works in a program where she heads to a moms home before CPS comes in to take her kids away and rescues the mom as a last resort into various programs (detox, residential, etc). She works alongside the courts, the social workers and the moms to figure out a better way of life because they don't know any better. They have never seen anything different. Most are repeating life cycles from previous generations. So, we get a brilliant plan together to pair the "church mom" with the "community mom" in a partnership as a "mentor mom." (our THING)
What is a mentor mom? Glad you asked! We are kind of making it up as we go along, because each situation will be organic. But the gist of it is the "church mom" would be meeting up with the "community mom" for playdates, being available by phone to help give advice in times of need, a model if you will, an example for what life "could" look like. Being a friend. Most of these moms don't have a support system. They don't have family members to turn to for help. Most have never seen what a healthy lifestyle looks like, not even a glimpse. The mentor mom would also share her struggles and advice on how to deal with crazy kids in a healthy manner (not perfect, but healthy). We give a mom someone to stand next to her and hear the words "I believe in you, you can do this!"
I know it's a lot to swallow. It's been building and progressing quickly. We feel it's far bigger than anything we can do on our own, but we also know that God is walking before us. If your heart was stirred at all while reading this, I would love to connect with you! as Jen would say, "The suffering never stops. The need will always be there." That only means one thing, we need more mentor moms to jump on the journey with us. It's something that requires a little training. We will help provide the how to's and a life-line along the way. I'd be more than happy to share more details if this peeked your interest. Pray about it. God could be telling you to try it out. On my book list this year is "She Did What She Could" by Elisa Morgan (spoke at Mom Con and I just bought the book- you can read the first chapter by clicking the link)...Being a "mentor mom" is nothing more than offering friendship at this point. Saying you are available to meet the need of a hurting mom. Is that something you could do?
So, for those who didn't want to read all my other ramblings- here's the short version of my life since October:
SHORT BREAKDOWN & MORE HERE
1. Mom Con - Jen Hatmaker - this quote has haunted me since: "I'm sick of serving saved people and blessing blessed people. Are we obsessed with our neighbors? Are the hurt, lost, broken people around us welcome into our home?"
2. Small Group - Wednesday, November 6 Jennifer Turney and her husband stumbled into our group (only a God thing) which led to the two of us catching brunch together.
3. Brunch with Jen - we each share our stories (which are vastly different in a good way) and we share what we are passionate about.
4. Share my story at MOPS- and I believe "my story" has uniquely prepared me for things only God can get all the credit for leading to this "mentor mom" THING
5. Jen and I meet an amazing mom and daughter who've come out of addictions and much more for a playdate with our kids.
6. Jen, the director of a VOA residential program, and myself meet at Chipolte to talk about how we could potentially all work together.
7. I head on a tour of a residential and transitional home to get a feel for the moms I could be getting connected with.
8. A Mentor Mom program is birthed!
9. Maybe you are part of the rest of this story?
10. If you say you don't have enough time, read this blog over here, by Shauna Niequist (daughter of Bill Hybels, Willow Creek), my new favorite: What My Mother Taught Me
There you have it. (It's hard to put four months in one blog.) I hope it's not another 4 months till we chat next. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get connected on this THING!