Monday, October 14, 2019

About the importance of finding female friends.... Jen Hatmaker has a few words to say on the subject (from Chapter 5 of Out of the Spin Cycle):

I'm a terrible driver when I'm alone. It always seems like a great idea at first. I relish the notion of being the in the car without the following verbal barrage assaulting me like tiny, individual daggers stabbing away at the thin flesh of my sanity: "Mommy? Do you know how to teleport?" "Mommy? How many seconds have you been alive?" "Mommy? What's five billion times ten million?"

But the reality of driving alone is much different that the beautiful, peaceful theory. I get bored. I get tired.

I should have brought a friend. Friends help you uphold he heavy responsibility of motherhood and remind you you're not crazy. They don't complain when your kids interrupt your phone conversation every twelve seconds. They gladly enter the parenting discussions that our husbands lose patience with after only the fourth time. Friends don't even bat an eye when you burst out crying for no good reason.

The way we love each other, serve each other, and live our lives with each other is a big deal to Jesus. At the beginning of time, creation encountered its first problem: "It is not good for the man to be alone." Thus history began with human connection. Two are better than one, and togetherness is always superior to loneliness.

Never was I more susceptible to isolation than during young motherhood. It can be such lonely work. Because my personality required a scheduled routine, for years I fed and dressed babies, cleaned up, put someone down for a morning nap, engineered lunch chaos, put kids down for afternoon naps, cooked dinner, bath time, story time, bedtime. I'd sit down for the first time at 8 p.m.

It was hard to make room for my friends. But I did it. We had playdates down to a science. We put babies to sleep at each other's houses, bathed them together, fed them together, ate at Chick-Fil-A so often the manager knew us by name, and picnicked at every park in the greater Austin area. I changed their babies' diapers as often as mine. We put each other's kids in time-out. I administered first aid to their children, and they pulled mine out of the swimming pool. We've traded kids, taken kids, borrowed kids, and dumped kids.

My friends are the reason I survived young motherhood.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35.

If we are to love each other like Jesus loved us, then it makes practical sense to band together during young motherhood. Because–like Jesus does–we'll end up loving each other when we're crazy, burned out, hysterical, and exhausted. We'll stand by one another during the most neurotic phase of parenting there is. We don't let a member of our tribe slip under the radar or get swallowed by isolation. We share the burden of parenting, making it lighter for everyone to carry. We'll remind our friends to laugh and call forward the best in each other.

Motherhood is the task that brings us together, but love is the glue that binds us together. if we're too busy to love each other like this then we're too busy. We need our friends. We need the counsel and companionship; they need our compassion and comic relief. "You must love one another, " said Jesus.

We really must.

Are you enjoying the tribe of young mothers, or are you lonely and isolated? Reach out to another mom or group of moms today. Invite them over, plan a playdate, arrange a picnic, whatever. Need a friend? Be a friend.

Excerpt from Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker,

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Rules || Katie Westenberg |,

 Each time my family purchases a new game, the evening goes down in a pretty predictable fashion. See, we have these kids who are (finally!) outgrowing Candyland and stretching into the land of strategy and thinking games. (Yes, it really does happen eventually.) So when we find a new game, we gather our tribe around the table and read through the rules carefully. Our four kids frequently interject with a dozen questions because none of these rules and instructions quite make sense in the learning process, and my husband and I have almost no answers because we’re still trying to figure it out as well. Welcome to the beauty and tension of family game night, where we typically end up pleading for everyone to be patient and it often turns out to be a learning opportunity in more ways than we bargained for. Maybe you have been there? I can’t count the times I have heard a mama friend sigh the words, “I wish there was a rule book for this,” as she moves into a new and challenging season of motherhood. One kid struggles with friends or seems to have hopped on an emotional roller coaster without warning, and there is always that second or third child who is doing things nothing like her older siblings did. Motherhood is humbling and often we’re thirsty for someone to just tell us how to do this well. We’re all in, just please, someone tell us how to handle all the nuances of relationship and personality, creativity and gifting, for the unique combo of kids God has given us. Tell us what to do and we’ll get right on it. But that is not quite what God has for us. We’re begging for rules and he is after relationship. He looked his disciples in the eye and said “Follow me” because he wasn’t just going to tell them; he was going to show them what it meant to seek first his kingdom. Before his ascension, Jesus told us that it was to our advantage that he was going away because he was sending us a helper to guide us in all truth (John 16:7,13). Do we even begin to understand how awesome that is for us? We have a helper - the ultimate helper - to call on in our frustration and confusion, our weakness and desperation. The next time you find yourself looking for a rule book, a better instruction guide, stand firm on this promise: We don’t need more rules, we need more Jesus. And when we ask, we can be certain he will be near.

Katie Westenberg is a wife and mother to four, who is passionate about fighting fear and living brave. She writes to inspire women to live their bravest lives at “I Choose Brave” and many other places online. Married for 17 years, she lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys small town life outside the city limits.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Good Shepherd || Kelli Jordan |

"I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of sheep. When I was young, we went to a petting zoo. My little five-year-old self felt cornered by the big sheep, so I ran out of the sheep pen and right into the goat island … where a goat grabbed hold of my clothes. My mom got great pictures but didn’t intervene in time to save my favorite shirt. (I don’t judge her – I’ve done very similar things as a parent.) As a general rule, I tend to avoid petting zoos, goat islands and all sheep pens. I would be a lousy shepherd.

In John 10, Jesus used the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep to help those listening grasp the idea of living the kind of life Jesus offers. In this passage, Jesus is the shepherd and we are the sheep. But Jesus isn’t just a shepherd, he is a good shepherd which makes all the difference for his sheep.

Read John 10:1-15:
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 

Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thievesand robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Jesus is the kind of shepherd who pays attention to his flock. He knows where they are, what they need, what may be causing them stress. He is the kind of shepherd who provides exactly what his sheep need – pastures to graze in, clean water, shelter, rest. He is a steadfast and trustworthy shepherd who is always on the lookout. He is the gatekeeper –nothing comes in or goes out that he isn’t aware of. He isn’t the kind of shepherd who runs away when things get a little crazy. He loves his sheep too much, so much that he is willing to lay down his life to protect them.

Our theme verse for this year, John 10:10, describes the kind of life Jesus (the Good Shepherd) wants for his children (the sheep). The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Life to the full means living under the care of the Good Shepherd – growing familiar with his voice, resting in his care, protection, hospitality and life that he provides.

Kelli Jordan is a mom, grandma and mentor living in the Kansas City area. She walked into her first MOPS meeting 25 years ago and now supports moms and leaders at MOPS International as Leadership Development Manager. She loves reading, game shows and is always willing to meet up for a glass of iced tea.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

2019-2020 Theme Reveal

The Theme for the 2019-2020 year is To The Full. See the video for the full theme reveal!

To The Full from MOPS International on Vimeo.