To The Mothers (all of them)

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Happy Mother’s Day

To every mom…

… the ones waiting to see their children in heaven.

… the ones who gave up their baby for another to raise as her own.

… the ones who opened their doors to children who needed a mom.

… the ones who stand in the gap for the mothers who need help.

… the single mothers who are working this day to provide.

… the ones who are carrying precious cargo, eagerly awaiting the big day.

… the ones in the throws of parenting terrible twos, puberty, and all the hard stages.

… the ones going to high school and college graduations in the next few weeks.

… the ones who are praying for their prodigals to return home.

… the ones who are facing the empty nest for the first time.

… the ones who are wrapping their arms around their grandchildren, or raising their grandchildren.

… the ones who found motherhood through being a step mom or mother in law.

… the ones who mother, being part of the village it takes to raise a child.

… the ones who are missing their own mothers who are no longer with us.

To all of the mothers, where ever you are walking in this journey… thank you, you are a blessing to this world.

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Motherhood is Missional, A Review

I received a copy of Missional Motherhood, The Bible Study from Lifeway for the purpose of reviewing.  I purchased the book that inspired the study, Missional Motherhood.  This is an honest review of the STUDY, and is in no way influenced by the gifted study.

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I have been a mother for over 17 years.  During that time I have not only been a part of Women’s Ministries that are full of moms, but also MOPS International groups.  One thing I have learned about being a mom, over all of these years, is that I still have room to learn more.  Another thing I have learned is that many of us mothers share a similar feeling, a desire to be more than “just a mom”.

There are some women who were born to be mothers, and what I mean by that is that these are women who desired nothing more than being a mom when they were of age.  They played house, always taking the role of mom.  They loved on other babies, and the news of becoming a big sister was something that excited them beyond measure.  They were babysitters and helped in the church nursery as soon as they were old enough.  In fact, at a very early age they probably knew how many babies they wanted to have and even what their names would be.

Then there are other women, who didn’t have motherhood on their radar as their ultimate calling.  It wasn’t something that they desired from a young age.  When they played with their dolls they took the role of teacher or doctor.  Their life goals were aimed at having a successful career, doing something significant in the world, or even serving as missionaries in a foreign country.  Children may or not have been included in those dreams and goals.

I was in the latter camp.  When I was pregnant with my first child the plan had been that I would return to work & my husband would stay  home those first few years.  At the time, I made more income than he did.  It just made fiscal sense.  Yet, once that tiny little body was place in my arms… the Lord changed my heart.  We decided that I would stay home and we would trust in the Lord’s provision.  He never failed us.

Yet, it was very difficult for me when I would be asked the question:  So, what do you do?

It wasn’t common in our area for women to stay home with their children.  Even members of my own family didn’t understand the decision.  Was I wasting my education, my skills, my talents, and my potential?   It was like I lost my identity and become someone’s wife… someone’s mom.   Over the years, as I have sat with other women … I hear those thoughts echoed.

We desire to be known, to be seen, to have purpose, and to have impact.  Somewhere along the line we lost the view of motherhood as a calling and instead it became something we just “do”.  Our value and worth began to reside in our accomplishments outside of the home, and when that was no longer an option… we felt lost.  Like we were doing nothing important, and yet the Lord had given us a very important calling.

Society’s focus on accomplishments have tainted our view’s of motherhood, and Gloria Furman does a great job at point out our need to reclaim this role.  Utilizing scriptures from the Old and New Testament, we examine how the role of Motherhood fits into God’s plan.   The Bible Study encompasses many of the bible study techniques that we may be familiar with in conjunction with our own personal reflections.  What I also appreciate is Gloria Furman not only talks about the mission of motherhood in regard to the typical American family but explores what this looks like in other cultures and how we interact with other cultures.

Throughout the study we begin to see how our role as mother is part of our Great Commission calling, for every woman.  For the mom who questions her purpose, this study helps her find her identity in Christ and the mission God has called her to fulfill in this season of her life.    We explore how our every day lives fall into the larger story of God’s redemptive plan.

From life giving creation to The Great Commission, our role as mothers is far beyond “just a mom”.  We are disciplers, mentors, teachers, leaders, guides, nurturers, providers, and so much more…. all in the confines of our own homes.  When our identity is rooted in Christ, then the gifts we have been given by the Holy Spirit are put to use in our homes.  This is our mission field, where we serve as a teacher to those in our charge and an example to the world watching us.  We are a family set apart, different… and we can find satisfaction in our purpose.

Whether you are a first time mom, a seasoned mother, or an empty-nester serving as a mentor mom… we all still have a thing or two to learn and share.  This would be a great study for a small group of mothers, MOPS group, or even as a gift to a mom to be.

Ministering to Women, A Changing Face.

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I’ve been doing a lot of research lately about the roles of Women in Ministry.  Just these past few days I was really trying to look at women as a whole, who is it that we are ministering to?  As I google searched, and google searched some more… and went through the most recent women’s ministry books and resources…. we have a lot of work ahead of us.

  • Working women, working moms.
  • Stay at home moms, and housewives.
  • Grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren.
  • Mothers with adult children who have returned home.
  • Single moms, single working moms.
  • Mothers of children with disabilities.
  • Women who are widowed, or are married to a man with a terminal illness.
  • Women who are divorced.
  • Women who are stepmothers in blended families.
  • Women who adopted children.
  • Women who are lifelong single.
  • Women who have children.
  • Women who are infertile or have had miscarriages.
  • Women who have lost children or have a child with a terminal illness.
  • Women who have been abused:  physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and sexually.
  • Women who are disabled.
  • Women who struggle with addiction:  pornography, substances, and more.
  • Women who come from broken homes, women who were abandoned.
  • Women who are homeless.
  • Women who are struggling with their sexuality and gender identification.
  • Women who are struggling in their marriages.
  • Women who are married to non-believers.
  • Women who are struggling financially.
  • Women who are struggling spiritually.
  • Women who are suffering from depression and debilitating anxiety, who consider suicide.
  • Women who suffer from PTSD, from experiences in their life or serving for their country.
  • Women who are retired.
  • Women who are empty-nesters.
  • Women who are in, or previously were in prison.
  • Women who had abortions.
  • Women with serious or even terminal illness.
  • Women who suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
  • Women who are struggling, burdened, worn out by life.
  • Women who have faced racism, ageism, sexism in their lives.
  • Women who feel that they have no value, no importance, and are invisible.
  • Women who have been exploited in the sex trade industry, by decision or force.
  • Women who are young, trying to navigate the waters of adulthood and their future.
  • Women who are older, trying to move beyond the failures of their past.
  • Women who are mothers of prodigal children.
  • Women in the mission field.
  • Women on the battlefield.

If you, or your church, is wondering if a Women’s Ministry is needed…. I hope that list answers the question for you.

It’s a resounding YES.

We also need something new, because our needs changed…. our ministries haven’t.  We need women who are not just willing to lead fellowship events and bible studies, we need something new.  We need women who are equipped to Minister To Women.

The face of women in our church is changing, it’s time Women’s Ministry catches up.

DO NOT PANIC!

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It was one of those moments that can send a parent into a panic.  My van wouldn’t start.  I was stranded at home. My children were not.  My children were stranded at our church.   I had dropped them off earlier for VBS.  Now, I was stuck at home, unable to get to them.

I left a message for one of the volunteers.  But, the longer it took for me to hear back, the more panicked I was.  Thus began a mass of phone calls and text messages to every volunteer I knew would be there after the initial exodus of parents and children.  Every parent that I knew would be there picking up their children.  Particularly the ones I knew would most likely linger to talk or help afterwards.

All of this despite my knowledge that my children were safe, couldn’t possibly be in a better location for this to have had happened, full of people who would know something must have happened for me to not be there.  I knew that someone would notice my children, and even if everyone I reached out to didn’t see my number or text on their phones, I’d be getting a phone call from the church.  I knew my children wouldn’t be left behind.

Yet I was a wreck.  I was in a panic.  I just needed to know that someone got my message.  I needed that reassurance to settle my panic.  In reality it had only been a matter of minutes, but to a mothers heart….the wait was an eternity.

The enemy knows what buttons to push.  He knows the things that upset us, worry us, concern us and frighten us.  He will use this knowledge to find ways to disrupt our peace, corrupt our thinking, obscure our clarity and tear at our hearts.

Isaiah 41:10 reads
  “Do not panic.  I’m with you.  There is no need to fear because I am your god.  I’ll give you strength.  I’ll help you.  I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. 

Father God, you are faithful to your promises and your word tells us that no word from you will ever fail.  In my weakness you are my strength.  In my pain you are my comforter.  Help me Lord, to ignore the influence of the enemy and rely on your word.  Help me to abandon my fears and worries and keep my trust in your promises.  I have nothing to fear, for you are my protector, my refuge, my rock and I lay my burdens at your feet.  Amen.

 

*Written for the TC3 Women’s Ministry Devotion Blog

MISSION ACCEPTED

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When I was in high school, it was so very clear to me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I wanted to be an actress.  Not a just a famous actress, but a respected actress.  Think less Lindsay Lohan and more Meryl Streep.

God had different plans for me.

But, I can’t lie that bend towards doing or being something great in my life has never gone away.

When I started down the line of Drama Ministry, I thought I could end up well known and respected there.  When I started script writing, I thought that would be my place in the world.

When I started serving in Women’s Ministry, I thought I’d become a speaker…. and that would take me down the road to writing a book, and perhaps one day when you bought your tickets for Women of Faith … you’d be coming to see me.

Again, this was never from a place of just being successful, but respected.

Which is something that gets me on another tangent.  So many of the texts for husbands and wives talk about him wanting respect, while she wants love.  And while yes, I do want love… I really want my husband’s respect.  But that, my friends, is a topic for another day.

I am a woman who wants to be respected.  I thought that respect would come from doing something great.  And it did, but not in the way I imagined.

It came in the form of a baby, swaddled and handed to me.  A life that I would have a chance to mold into a person better than I have ever been.   Not realizing it would be she that would make me a better person.  That this little bundle would reconcile me with my Savior, in a way greater than ever before.

When she was just about to hit school age, I thought to myself “now is the time” and I called up my agent and said I was ready to work again.  Less than a year later, God said WAIT.  Another swaddling bundle would enter my world.  This time not only did I once again have a great mission in impacting this child, but it would be that as a result of her conception, my life would be saved.  It would draw attention to the cells trying to attack my body & we would be able to catch it before it became a vicious cancer.  When she was about to hit school age, I thought again…. NOW is the time.

But God would once again say WAIT.  A third precious bundle would come into my world and bring with it peace.   One daughter brought me to God on my knees.  One daughter saved my life from disease.  One daughter would fill my life with peace.  I was amongst the least of these, and they were the ones making ME a better person, a better Christian.

As this third precious child was about to enter her school years…. I had a thought.  NOW is NOT the time.  My last bundle was walking into the world and my oldest child was entering the last 4 years of her adolescence.    Now is not the time for me to do anything but focus on the mission that God set before me.  My mission is motherhood.  The greatest mission ever.  The greatest impact I can make on the world, is by pouring myself into them, and pointing them to the cross.

God hasn’t removed my dreams from my heart, or indicated another path for me, He has simply slowed the process.  I have decided to yield and not rush it.  A rushed blessing is never as sweet as the blessing that comes in His timing.