“You are so brave, so strong”. I heard statements like this a few times as a young adult.
I was just following a dream, but to others, I was doing something that people viewed as courageous.
My dream, which was rather simple, was and still is, to live out God’s purpose for my life and help people in any way I can.
This dream led me to begin projects and jobs that required me to be brave.
In college I felt called to start a bible study in my sorority and a bible study for teenage girls.
At 25 years old, and newly married, I found myself spending my evenings alone in the basement of a hospital, working at a suicide hotline. I spent my evenings trying desperately to give hope to youth, adults, soldiers and veterans who wanted to end their lives. Some lived, some did not.
While I wasn’t working at the hotline I was obtaining a master’s degree in mental health counseling, working with individuals with some of the most severe mental illnesses that I have ever seen.
I had spent most of my young adult life working hard to be prepared to do brave jobs, and then doing those jobs successfully.
I have to admit, that I felt pretty confident heading into the hospital to deliver my first baby. I approached having a baby like I had approached everything else in life.
I did what I had to do to be prepared, educated, and well-informed. I had read the books, taken the classes, and stocked my nursery with every top notch baby gadget on the market.
Yet on Christmas Day, after a 42 hour labor, I held my baby boy wondering what on earth was happening. I felt a love like I had never felt in my life, and at the same time I felt scared, alone, exhausted and unprepared.
You could safely say…I did not feel brave.
My lack of bravery into motherhood continued as I measured myself as a mom up against my unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a great mom.
I felt that my daily tasks were what defined me. My days focused on breastfeeding, making homemade baby food, reading books and playing music, doing the right amount of tummy time, nap time, and social time. In addition I felt that I had to be the perfect homemaker by keeping up with the cleaning, laundry and cooking and that I had to be the perfect wife by meeting my husbands every need.
I was trying really hard to be a great mom, yet I was missing the big picture: God.
I had a close relationship with God, yet I wasn’t listening to Him. I wasn’t inviting Him into the daily aspects of my new life as a mother. I can remember doing devotionals and reading the bible quickly during feedings, checking it off my to-do list. I didn’t know how to fit God into my new life as a mom, which still felt so foreign to me.
I felt like I was giving all of myself to my son physically and mentally. I was pouring myself into him, yet I was not getting refilled spiritually.
My old way of interacting with God needed to change, because I had changed. I was a mother now.
I survived 8 long months being a mom with no support from other Godly moms other than my family and a few long distance friends. I trusted that God would provide the support and encouragement that I needed to be a good mom, yet I wasn’t doing anything about it.
How was I going to achieve this by sitting alone in the nursery? How could I find support by engaging in small talk after church or at the library story time once a week?
How was God going to provide a way, when I kept saying NO to Him?
One night I felt a strong nudge from God to contact this mom who an old co-worker told me about.
I sat there on the couch, feeling strongly that God wanted me to contact this mom, but I felt scared because I didn’t know this woman at all. My fears and insecurities of the unknown held me down.
My brave moment that I am sharing with you today, was saying yes to God, and sending an email to this mom. That might appear like a really small task, but to me it was brave. It was brave because I was finally admitting that I could not be a great mom by myself, and that I needed God and Godly moms around me, asap.
Within minutes I got a reply, inviting me to their next MOPS (Mothers of Preschool Children) meeting at a local church.
My first reaction was “no way”! I didn’t know how I would leave my son with complete strangers, I didn’t know how I would go so long without breastfeeding, I didn’t know how I would get out the door in time. There were so many unknowns that I wanted to say no.
Then I remembered. If I wanted to be a brave mom, I would have to say yes to God and no to my insecurities. I would have to trust, that God knows what is best for me.
Being a brave mom by God’s standards meant giving my life over to God, and saying yes to whatever He calls me to do, even if I felt unprepared and even if I had no clue how I would do it.
Saying Yes to God and attending MOPS was the best decision I made as a new mom.
MOPS has not only given me a support system of Godly women who encourage me and make me a better mom, but it has given be the bravery to change the way I live.
I now seek to say yes to God every day. I seek to read His word, listen for his calling, and say YES to Him whether or not I have the answers to how, when, where, and why.
MOPS has taught me how to be the best mom I can be by digging into the strengths and resources God has placed in front of me right where I am, using them to bless my family. You are blessing your family too, by being a brave mom who lives deeply and strives to be extraordinary.
When I come to MOPS I get encouragement from other moms to take care of myself, tips on how to better care for my son, and little nudges to follow and pursue my dreams.
Being a mom can be really hard, but I am not doing it alone. God is always with me, He knows what I need, and He knows what you need too.
We are physically not enough for our children, we need the Holy Spirit within us to give to our children the way God wants us too.
When we decide to be brave moms who follow Jesus, we are able to thrive and do far more for our children, our families, our community and the world than we could alone.
I believe with all my heart that God brought me to MOPS and that He has a group of Christian moms for you too (whether that’s MOPS or some other moms group).
“The spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” John6:63
If you would like information about MOPS or how to find a chapter near you visit https://www.mops.org/