At the end of last fall I decided to commit to coordinating a new moms groups at my church. It is a long story of how I got there but mainly it has been a burden on my heart that I was supposed to gather women together to be encouraged. Starting this group has been a huge undertaking so far but seeing how the group is bringing together and blessing women makes it all worth it. Plus I hope that the group continues to grow and thrive that it would be a place that, one day, I would attend as a mom and be on the receiving end.
We have a powerhouse leadership team of women who have come alongside me over the past few months. In the midst of the chaos and busy I know that years from now, that this time we have had together, will be a special bond. While I run around like a crazy women, I have hope that one of these days I will slow down enough to really grasp the relationships that are being built.
Now you might be wondering, you are not a mom? Nope I am not. And it was a hesitation I even had in the beginning stages of what these moms would think of me.
But as to no surprise, the women have been incredibly appreciative and welcoming of me into their circle of mommyhood. Though on most days I sense my plate is so full, they are inspirations to me on prioritizing time and relationships in the midst of their mommy filled days.
Spending an entire summer planning and organizing a group I could be proud of, it is finally today, three weeks in to our meetings, that I finally am able to catch my breath. As I sit down to type out these words to share with you, I am surprised at my own heart as it reflects this group. My heart is lighter now that we seem to be finding a grove. My introverted side can finally come out of silent hiding and planning to really engage with the women of this group. I am finally feeling like myself again.
There have been a whole lot of other things going on in my life lately and so whatever amount of focus and energy I have had left has been given to this group. Being busy and having a weekly agenda to plan has been calling me back to a life of simplicity. Every non essential has been put on the back burner so that I am able to give to where I am most needed at the moment.
This new role in my life has reminded me of the importance to pull back and simplify. I am going through my house and my closet getting rid of clutter and purging my calendar to ensure plenty of down time as well as quality time with my husband. But it has been sitting back and reflecting on this busy season that I am reminded it is because of my simple life I have lead these past five years, that I even had the energy and vision to create this moms group.
It has been saying no to other things that I have this great and amazing privilege to give to a group of twenty five women. Women who, too, carry their own heavy burdens of family and work. Who have little ones around them every single moment and for two hours a week get to be blessed by a delicious meal, caring women, and thoughtful and creative programming. For so many years, my creative energy has been given to myself and my own home. It is a gift to give it away to others in a way that blesses them beyond my own self. I will never grasp how this time will change these women, and though I am tired, I am blessed to be that person who presents these life giving moments.
As we continue on with our group, I will be sharing tidbits of what we do and some of the fun projects we have done. If you are familiar with the MOPS program, we are running our group much the same.
The women are split up into table groups with a mentor mom and lead mom. The mentor moms are seasoned moms whose children are grown, who are there to offer support and encouragement to the women. They also facilitate their table. The lead moms are moms who attend our group but have stepped up in a leadership position to help me out as well as bridge the gap between mentor mom and mom attendees.
We have breakfast each week and each table group takes a turn at providing the breakfast for us. We spend about forty five minutes eating and chatting.
We then either do a craft or have a speaker teach for the last hour. We switch every other week creating a nice flow of fun and learning. The weeks we have a speaker we also have discussion questions and a Q&A time with our speaker.
We meet five sessions throughout the school year. The current session we are in is seven weeks long. During each session we have an outside social activity--either a mom's night out or group play date. We provide children's programming put on by our children's ministry for moms with children at home.
There is a fee that covers registration costs and children's programming but we have also been greatly blessed by our church body that has donated many things for our group.
In order to free me up from all the responsibility, we have coordinators over different areas of the group who help take on certain tasks. For our weekly breakfasts, our hospitality coordinator organizes all the meal tasks. For our first meeting, she set up this adorable spread on butcher paper labeling all the food.
Our theme for the year is "Bloom" based off of 1 Peter 4:10 that says, "Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." I based much of the decor and table settings off of this theme to remind the women to bloom in whatever areas of life they are being planted. Each table has a little succulent, pens, and even these cute little Angel Soft tissues (we women tend to tear up at times we are talking about matters of the heart!).
Of course, we would not be without any coffee. We have a Keurig machine set up along with juice, tea, and hot chocolate.
Our first meeting was focused around getting to know one another. We did an activity called "Speed Dating" that we had done at the BlogHer Conference. What the women were to do is take one minute and introduce themselves and answer a question prompt I gave them. They were fun and lighthearted like what is your favorite restaurant or time of year. After one minute they had to switch and find someone else in the room to talk to. It was a great ice breaker that allowed the women to meet everyone in the group and not just be restricted to meeting the women at their table.
For the craft we made fabric rolled flower pins to use as name tags.
Though we all made the same thing, it was fun to see each flower have it's own uniqueness.
As I continue to find my place in the new roles I have taken on (we haven't even talked about how I watch two nephews now! that will have to come in a later post!) you now know where my heart and my head are right now. In the midst of busy I have realized how much I have missed writing and blogging. There is a lot on my heart right now but not enough time to regurgitate it all. But at the end of the day it is relationships that matter the most so I feel blessed to be giving of myself to a worthy cause.