As our speaker this week took the stage, she casually removed her wedge booties, able to move about the stage freely. A few sentences in, she removed her blazer and confessed it was from Forever21. She's 53 and shops at Forever21; can I be her when I grow up?
But jackets bought at trendy mall stores and the coolness of removing her shoes on stage were soon overshadowed by Rhonda Stoppe's obvious gift for speaking. With passion and faith, she didn't just give a talk, she gave a sermon.
She began by reminding us of the importance of our work as mothers: we are architects of the next generation. Our children are our mission field. What we do, and how we do it, will change the world. Will we remember that our children are the thing we are here for? Or will we get caught up in the nonsense that the world tells us we need in order to be a good mom?
The fear set in here. With panic, I wonder if I've been preparing for my role in my children's lives. Or if instead I've been caught up in other things, reacting instead of having a plan. Why have I not studied more when I felt I was lacking, or sought guidance when I didn't know what to do? Instead, I let the night come, and another rushed morning go by, and my life is now a series of nonsensical sound bites.
I am not alone.
We say in unison, and maybe some of us believe it.
I admit, sometimes I feel alone. The reality is that motherhood is a breeding ground for isolation. Or at least it is in our culture. But in the Church, it just should not be.
I am not alone.
We say it again, and I think we begin to see the truth in it.
Did you feel alone when you were struggling to get out the door for MOPS? When your 2 year old refused her breakfast, or your baby spit up all over the only clean and presentable outfit you could find in your closet? Did you feel alone when your husband asked you to make his coffee and you felt like you could just explode if one more person demanded one more thing from you?
The truth is, we all feel this way. And you are not alone. I am not alone.
Not only do we have friends (you really do!) who are ready and aching to help, but we serve and love a God who is full of grace and power, and He longs to help us when we feel like we're on the battlefield facing a giant.
He is there. He is with us.
I know this, don't I? Why don't I often feel the truth of it?
Because motherhood can isolate us, drain us of our rest, mess with our minds, and break down even the strongest of relationships bit by bit.... If we allow it. Or we can claim he truth.
I am not alone.
And instead of believing the lie that you are without help and without hope, call out for it. Find your brave and call a friend. Pray to the One who has the strength when you do not.
I am at a place in my life where I feel very alone. I feel lost, and I'm not sure how to navigate the terrain before me. It's a scary place to stand, especially when you have little eyes (and future mothers) looking at you, waiting for you to guide them. Waiting to see what you do.
And with each passing day, I only seem to tally more failures than successes, and discouragement threatens to take me down to that dreaded place and a trip to the doctor for a Zoloft prescription.
And then I go to MOPS during Thanksgiving week, feeling stressed by my dirty bathrooms, but ready to forget that life isn't super cool right now for just these two hours.
And God brings a speaker (preacher) like Rhonda, who makes you want to fall in love with Jesus, because He is our help. Our love for Him transcends our list of fails and wins we have tallied in our heads, and He offers us grace, and the power to offer grace to our children.
As you head into the holidays, I wish you overflowing love, buckets of grace, and big moments of brave.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and corageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9