This is not my life story. I won't go back that far. But just far enough to say, I was unhappy. I should have been very happy. We were living in our own, gorgeous home that we had built with our own blood, sweat, and tears. (Now I know the true meaning of that expression.) I had just had our third child, Hallie, whom we had planned for. (I thought I was ready.) This story doesn't actually start at this point, I guess, but probably 6-8 months later. I found myself home with 3 young children and getting out was more of a chore. I found myself without close friends living near. I found myself lonely and overwhelmed. After several failed attempts to make connections with other moms of young children, I chose to isolate myself and sink deeper into depression. It was at this point that God knew he could get my attention. It started with a Ladies Retreat and a passage in Isaiah 58 aimed directly at me (8-14). Here is what I needed to know: my healing would come (v.8) if I look beyond myself to how I can help/encourage/love/impact others, and the Lord will guide me (v.10-11). Stop following my own desires and the Lord will be my delight (v.13-14). And so that is what I set out to do! It wasn't all peaches and cream, but I sought the Lord's will for me daily and I enjoyed a very sweet communion with Him. He directed me on how to line up my priorities as I sought to move beyond myself, and it started with my family. My first commitment was to my husband and my second was to my kids. From here is where I was seeking the next opportunity to serve Him. I have to say, I was a little impatient. But His timing is always best.
It turns out, someone else had been praying for me too. I had no idea. She is a person I had always considered my spiritual mentor and when we had a conversation about what God had been speaking to each of us, I knew I was to take a position of leadership. It was during this conversation that God impressed MOPS upon my heart. I really had no idea what MOPS even was. But it went through my head and erupted out of my mouth, straight from God. The other thing going through my head was "no, no, no! I cannot be a leader! I've never been a leader. I am scared to lead!" I went home to look MOPS up online to see what I was getting myself into!
When I learned what MOPS was, I was so excited! And almost angry, as I thought, "why don't we already have MOPS in our community?" If MOPS is needed anywhere, it is definitely here, where the long, cold, dark winters keep mothers of preschoolers imprisoned in their homes, with very few opportunities to get out in the community to meet one another! Here, where mothers of preschoolers, particularly stay at home moms, such as myself, are spending long dark days at home without the support of friends in the same trenches or adult conversation, many with 3 or more preschoolers driving them crazy! That's how it was.....in my home. The world doesn't necessarily understand. But we understand. We all understand where each other is coming from. But many, such as myself, find it difficult, for one reason or another, to reach out and make that initial connection with another mom. MOPS stands in the gap.
As I read, planned, and attended the MOPS Convention (with something like 4,000 other moms of preschoolers, I might add!), I quickly became passionate about MOPS. It wasn't just about meeting moms' need for connecting with each other, it was about meeting a mom's greatest need: her need for Jesus. Because, had I not already known the One who loved me and who was waiting for me to reach out to and rely upon, I would still be in that pit of despair. What about the mom who is alone and doesn't know the One who will befriend her for eternity and give her joy unspeakable on this earth regardless of any situation? I knew with certainty, this is what He was calling me to do. So, with almost no leadership experience and no experience with MOPS, having never attended one meeting, I took a huge leap of faith.
The MOPS group God led me to start has been successful beyond what I ever imagined. It makes me so happy to know that in this community there is a place for moms to go to encourage and support, to be encouraged and supported. Where all moms are welcomed and loved and hopefully the mom who doesn't know Jesus, the One who loves her most, will get to know Him! I am completely honored and humbled that God would use me to start something this big in our community. I love MOPS and I hope that I will be involved in MOPS in one way or another for a very long time.
for more info about MOPS go to www.mops.org