Thursday, October 26, 2017

MOPS October Highlights

This month we embraced all things autumn. Here are a few memories from our group's activities this month:

Devotional from Tamara M.

Motherhood is a Trap! ----- this is why you are, this is why I am here - hear me out. Talking about freedom involves talking about the opposite of freedom –slavery/captivity. But let’s go to the scriptures for our learning & comfort: In John 8:31-36 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Using what we know about captivity and slavery let’s explore.. freedom.. but in motherhood AND in freedom in Christ.

Exploring slavery as we know it, through stories of those that have experienced it, books, movies and even the residual effects still felt today…. We can overcome that feeling of entrapment that motherhood sometimes seems to give us. How? By honesty, avoiding isolation & learning from others.. working to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron.

Here’s my Honesty – a little of it

My own journey into motherhood started as a quiet, forlorn teenager still at home with my loving parents (who had their share of relationship problems) and younger sisters.  So, there I was with this cute little baby boy who I eventually started to raise by myself. But not really all by myself…. My parents encouraged me to go and finish a college degree – which I am grateful for. They cared for
him while I traveled home on any weekend I could to make sure he knew I was his mother. I had the help and support of my family and some from the church & community I grew up in If I’d not had that support there’s no telling where I & my oldest child might be. Though at times, all I thought I wanted was to do it my way – it’s less probable success will be reached on my own as stated by the prophet Jeremiah: O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. – Jeremiah 10:23 

I’ve wondered… am I even qualified to be somebody’s mother? Did playing with baby dolls qualify me? Or did babysitting a few dozen children, or having a 2-parent home, or dreams of motherhood, reading romances? Pshaw! Probably not.

Somewhere between having my son and meeting my husband I wondered about this salvation that has been offered…. And thanks be to God, accepted that call that our Lord Jesus sent out when he so graciously paid for with his own life. I wondered about how my Creator loved little ol’ me so much, he had a plan to save not only me, but the world. Others like me, like you and I. Then in his great mercy, gave us little people who would need saving also. Little people that start off oh-so-cute but evolve into sometimes moody, sometimes mouthy and sometimes downright (you know).. But little
people that we also hope will embrace the good news of salvation one day.

Some days, (teenage years, maybe even toddler years) we will need to remember that mercy we once received and still receive daily, in the raising of these little people. Also, to remember He chose us to be mothers, not we ourselves – he knows that we can do this! Even if it’s not that perfect picture of motherhood we’d like it to be. This is not a trap afterall.. It’s actually something for our good! What love has been bestowed upon us!

And take comfort, that if we sin/mess up, just remember to repent, seek help (if it requires it), and walk in that grace (through our advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus) offered to those who accept it. Be merciful to yourself… that same mercy we give to one another.. Be merciful to yourself.

All of us here, have come into motherhood – some as single, some by marriage, some by  adoption, some now single, and some widowed. But we all still are Somebody’s Mother (awesome poem – look it up). And that is a beautiful calling, one our common adversary seeks to cloud as a trap….. but it is a beautiful thing – we are Mothers, nurturers, nurses, coaches, chauffers, butt wipers, hair stylists,
story tellers, tear wipers, tantrum tamers, chefs, housekeeper, etc… you get me.

Remembering slavery/captivity as we know it, let’s keep in mind that freedom can be threatened - by outside or inside forces. But if we are vigilant, honest, avoid isolation and prayerful we can make it out valiantly – we may even become someone’s Mentor Mom – maybe even our own children’s!

Remembering what we know from slavery, as we know it – ways also have been provided for us to overcome (cope) where we are. Anxious – You are probably not singing enough! In a letter written to the Ephesians at 5:19 we are encouraged to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs – singing making melody in our heart to the Lord – to give thanks ALWAYS for all things to God, the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus. SING – cleaning that toilet, cooking dinner, folding those clothes, driving that bus/car, or fitbitting to keep gravity at bay. Don’t worry if you can’t sing – let everything that has breath Praise the LORD.

The Caged Bird by Maya Angelou – last stanza

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

So.. Mops Mamas – Reach out to another.. accept the help offered when possible. And then you will no longer feel so isolated. You’ll be free to grow in grace and learn from one another, in the season of life you are in – in all it’s challenges. It is only for a moment – 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

And don’t forget to: Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a] and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

Walk in your calling – love . And you too, may gain much more than you anticipated – but mostly in the growth of your heart.


Fall Craft

MOPS On the Town: Berry Acres

Thanks to Katie C. for hosting our October MNO! 

See everyone at our next meeting on November 9th!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

MOPS Kick-Off 2017!

Our 2017-2018 year is off to a phenomenal start! Here are a few highlights:

"Free Indeed" Centerpieces

Meeting Devotional from Sydney H.:

Freedom and motherhood seem like a bit of an oxymoron to me.
   For those of you breastfeeding – enough said.
   Uninterrupted sleep has become far off memory
   Sleeping IN even farther…
   We now share our most private moments in the bathroom with little fingers slipping under the door.
   Sometimes all we seem to do is repeat our self. Then repeat our self again. And again. And again. And again.
   We basically live under house arrest after 7 pm unless we make prior arrangements. Then we have to make arrangements for the arrangements so everyone is alive when we return.
   And the list goes on.
Motherhood, especially in the little years, is one of the most self-sacrificing seasons of life. So then, how can we truly live free indeed during this most precious, and exhausting season?
I thought about King David from the Bible. He spent a lot of years in the pasture with the sheep before he became King of Israel. To me, it was not unlike motherhood! Many of his days were spent in obscurity. Dirty. Tired. Alone. Self-sacrificing – all for the welfare of the smelly little creatures that were entrusted to his care AND for the glory of the God whom he loved.
But, it was in those days of obscurity that God shaped him and prepared him for the great future ahead of him.
One story that tells of God’s work in David’s life is in 1 Samuel 17 -- David and Goliath. You may know how it goes -- David was a boy, a shepherd, and Goliath was a big bully that had been taunting God’s army every day for 40 days. David just happened to be bringing some cheese and snacks to his older brothers who served in the army and he was in the right place at the right time to hear Goliath shouting taunts to God’s people.
The mockery didn’t sit well with David and he had to do something about it. He spoke up, faced some opposition from his jealous brother, but ultimately volunteered to fearlessly take down this tyrant. King Saul opposed his plan, but because of what God had done in David’s heart in those obscure days in the pasture, he was ready for this moment. 1 Samuel 17:32 recounts David’s appeal to Saul.
“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”
But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
I love this story because we don’t just see David as a warrior or David as King. We get to see into the process that God used to shape him.
Because he spent so many days with those sheep out in the pasture, David knew who he was and WHOSE he was. He knew the living God and had seen him come through time and time again.
In other words, God let David practice in the pasture.
He practiced faithfulness.
I believe God, in his mercy, does that for us too. In his loving way, God sometimes puts us in seasons of obscurity or the mundane – not because he’s punishing us or because he’s forgotten about us but because he loves us and is transforming us to be like him. He’s letting us practice. He’s giving us the tools, courage and deeply rooted identity we need to do what he has set out for us to do….to be who he has made us to be and to RAISE the people he has entrusted into our care.
So... where is freedom in this season – this season of motherhood?
Friends, freedom is right in the middle of it. Why? Because Jesus is in it with us.  We are His. And He never leaves us. And where the Spirit of the Lord is...THERE is freedom. We know that whatever he is working out in us will not be wasted and he desires for us to be truly free.
Our job in the midst of the pasture is to turn our eyes and hearts toward the author and perfecter of our faith and BELIEVE Him when he says he loves us and that he has a plan for our lives.
So, maybe you find yourself today somewhere out in the pasture of motherhood.
Are you free there?
If not, what are the areas where you need God to set you free? Is it freedom from
I believe God has ordained you to be here today to hear these words because there is work he wants to do in your heart. He wants you to be free. Truly free.
So, let today be the day that we take a step in the direction of the freedom God has already granted to us. May we say YES to God’s ways, humbling ourselves to whatever process or season he has us in because we know he is working all things together for our good and his glory.
Let us stand firm in the truth and in the Spirit...
And then we will truly live FREE INDEED.

Goodies For the Residents at Calvary Home for Children:

Your generosity toward our first service project gave these children something to smile about!

MOPS on the Town and Mom's Night Out Events:

See you at our next meeting on Thursday, October 12th. Bring a friend!