Friday, May 12, 2017

MOPS: The Gift of Belonging

What a great Core Team to serve with!

Being a Mom is the biggest blessing in my life, but I would never have survived and thrived raising my four if it weren't for my tribe of Mom friends. One of the BEST places to connect with Mamas is MOPS. Yesterday was the last MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) gathering for the year at our church, and once again I am thankful that I get to be a part of this awesome ministry.

My love of the MOPS organization began almost twenty years ago when my husband’s job
was forcing our family of six to move across the country. I did NOT want to leave the
Midwest and attempt to find community in the little Pacific Northwest town of Gig
Harbor, Washington. I had already moved once from my childhood hometown in Indiana
to Illinois and had made new friends while helping to lead a Mom’s Bible Study group.

The weekend we flew out West to house hunt, we visited Chapel Hill Presbyterian
Church. We knew we'd found our "church home," now I just needed to find some new friends!...I slipped their bulletin in my purse and pulled it out to reread when
I returned to my Illinois kitchen table. I saw a paragraph describing MOPS. A place to
hang out with other Mamas with childcare? Maybe even make a new friend? Yes please...

I quickly called the long-distance phone number and asked to be registered.
As I explained to the kind, understanding coordinator (thanks Randi!) that we’d be moving to the area right before school started, not only did she make me feel welcome and encouraged in our conversation, but she even recommended a fabulous preschool for my youngest daughter.

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8

My first MOPS meeting back in the Fall of 1997 is such a happy memory for me. I met
so many women who helped me acclimate to the Harbor town that didn’t even have a
Target.  Maybe it wasn't such a terrible place after all! I began to feel like I belonged.
My youngest daughter thrived in her Moppets class and her teacher (love you Shelli!) became one of my best friends. At each meeting there is either an informative speaker, video, or hands-on learning activity followed by time to listen and chat with the others mommies at the table.

I was asked to take on the role of discussion group leader (DGL) and the
following year served as the DGL coordinator. We’d only lived here a year when my
husband had a very serious injury falling off our roof onto the cement driveway while
hanging Christmas lights. The moms at my MOPS table and the other DGL’s provided
meals, childcare and prayer. My family was well-loved and cared for.

I occasionally run into the women I met that first Fall in MOPS at the grocery, or Target
(yes we finally got one in 2002!) and it is a joy to catch up and talk about our lives and

It’s been my privilege to continue participating in the MOPS ministry in the role of a
Mentor Mom. Our group currently has eight mentors, one for each table/DGL, and they
are some of my closest friends. 
Our mentor group this year.

My part-time job at a local baby boutique, Charlie Barnes Kids,  allows me to easily bring up the MOPS ministry to new-to-town and expectant moms and invite them
to attend.

What have I learned over the past 19 years thanks to MOPS?

* We all long to be “known” and have a need to belong...
* Love is often a hug and a hot dish delivered to your door...
* There are many different styles of parenting and we can learn from each other...
* Public speaking and leadership skills are learned by practicing...
* Being a Mommy is the hardest, most rewarding job in the world...
* Lots of women meet Jesus and plug into the local church because of MOPS...

MOPS is my “happy place!” I get to give encouragement to younger women as they
experience the joys and struggles of motherhood and try to point them to Jesus, serve God at my church, and whenever possible, snuggle babies! 

If you want to know more about the organization, go to If you live in the Harbor and are interested in registering for next Fall (the childcare is fabulous and fills up fast!) go to the form on the Chapel Hill website. The theme for next year is "free indeed."

Have a Happy Weekend and to all you Moms out there, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

In His Grip,
xo Jane

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