Monday, August 28, 2017

Better Together: MOMs Group Kickoff

We had planned, prepared and prayed for this kickoff meeting of our MOMs Group (Ministry of Motherhood). I was anxious to see who would show up and how God would begin to work in these moms.

I told the moms that they probably entered the room that morning one of three ways.
1. Totally confident having attended in previous years. They saw familiar faces, felt comfortable dropping their kids off in childcare and knew where to sit.
2. Feeling like they didn't need anyone in their life.
3. Feeling totally alone as they entered a new room, new ministry and new group of faces.

But we were so glad that they came and we were anticipating what God was going to do in this group and in the families represented. The Lord has shown us over and over again in small and large details that He was in control and that He was up to something big.

I love that Scripture is full of parenting references and illustrations. The family dynamic has been a part of God's plan since the beginning. When I became a mom, I even understood my relationship with my Heavenly Father better.

I also love that God uses moms. We have the privilege of being one of the first people to share Jesus with our kids. 2 Timothy 1:5 tells of the significant influence that a grandmother and mother had on Timothy's spiritual life.

"I remember you genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois, and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you." 
2 Timothy 1:5, NLT

Our key verse for the year is such a good reminder of the fact that our God didn't want us to do this life alone. 

The Lord knew we would have long, discouraging days. And Scripture tells us over and over that believers are "better together." There is great strength in like-minded people pushing each other towards the same goal.

And although I appreciate any form of a compliment (great hair, nice shirt, cute house, etc), I think those verses in Hebrews are talking about much more than flattery. We are to be reminding each other of truth. Reminding each other to get back in the Word. Reminding each other to rely on God's faithfulness.

Last week, before our kickoff meeting, I did have a few moments of panic. Everything was planned out. Nothing was really wrong...but I was panicking. I told a friend of my struggle and instead of her saying "You'll do great." or "This will be so fun." She simply reminded me to get my eyes back on the goodness of our God. She encouraged me to write a list of all the things our God had done for this group - all the details He had arranged. And after about 5 minutes of listing all these details where He was at work, my attitude changed from panicked to excited. I just needed a friend to motivate me to rely on God's faithfulness.

We passed out the book Better Together to these moms as a resource and an encouragement. As chapters coincide with meeting topics, we will remind the moms to read. One of the intro chapters asks the question "Who are you momming with?"

The Bible gives an example of a friendship between two moms: Mary and Elisabeth (Luke 1:39-45).  Mary was the mother of Jesus. She was young and inexperienced.  She was needing a friend. She couldn't even turn to Joseph at this point because he was most likely still dealing with his own emotions and anxious thoughts. Elisabeth was a woman beyond the child-bearing years. She thought that she was baron, but became pregnant. She would be the mother of John the Baptist. Elisabeth was also the first to greet Mary as the mother of the Messiah.

I love that there is no rivalry between these two moms. Elisabeth didn't feel inferior or jealous of Mary carrying the Son of God. Their age difference was insignificant. She simply encouraged Mary and spoke truth into her life.

"Elisabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, 'God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.
You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said."
Luke 1:42,45

In contrast, the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 is full of rivalry. Hagar was a slave, a single mother, a victim of some awkward circumstances...and she was alone.

But even though she was alone, God encouraged Hagar. In verse 13 she refers to God as the "God who sees me." When she had no-one, God was looking out for her.

I encouraged the ladies with a few thoughts.
1. Praise God when you are blessed with a friendship like Mary and Elisabeth that helps you to get your eyes back on the Lord.

2. Know that the Lord will sustain you and encourage you during those lonely times. He sees you.

3. Look for lives to pour into. It's not just about our receiving encouragement.

I handed each of the moms a notecard (you can buy these cute notecards in a pack of 8 for $1 at Target). I challenged them to find someone to write a brief note to this week. Speak truth into their lives. Stick a stamp on it. Or drop it into a diaper bag.

"You are a great mom. I am praying for you as you invest in your children's eternity." "I see you taking your kids to Awana each week. Keep going!" "Praying you are able to keep your eyes on the rock as you face this hard time (Ps. 61:2)"

And I also challenged them to take a few minutes to write out the good things that God has done for them. They could wait til the next moment of panic, or begin the list when they were already rejoicing.  It could even be a list of the events that He orchestrated for them to be at MOMs  Group this week.

In closing, as I looked back at the key verses, I love that it reminds us to encourage and motivate because Jesus is coming back soon. That should always be our motivating factor. The Gospel is our priority. His return is near.

I am so thankful for this group of moms that came together today. The Lord has used so many in that room to encourage me. To motivate me. To help me get my eyes back on Jesus. It's a team effort. And we can all rely on each other.

As I came home to my two children and my husband, I was ready to implement these truths into their lives as well.

Lord, help me to motivate and encourage others to get closer to you. Help me to cultivate these principles in my children's lives. Thank you that we are Better Together. 

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