MOPS. Are you familiar? And no, its not a handy (mostly unused in my house) cleaning utensil. It stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. It has become so close to my heart. I joined MOPS at my sister in law's urging shortly after Lilly was born. For me, it started as a morning off to get together with other moms, eat breakfast and chit chat. However, the more I attended MOPS meetings, the more I loved it! What a need MOPS filled in my life. It's so isolating sometimes to have a small child and to stay at home with it all day--and for me, especially worse because it was winter time. I recall mourning on days when MOPS was cancelled because of inclement weather! Slowly, I took small leadership roles in my group. Slowly, I gleaned more and more growth from the experience, both as a mother, a women and as a Christian. Its a Christian based organization, but our group strives to make all moms feel welcome, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations. Eventually, I accepted the role as coordinator of the group, and now with a great team of ladies behind me, we plan and prepare our monthly meetings. From the outside it may seem like we are just a sort of moms group who get together and hang out once a month. But we are so much more and I am proud of that!
This past weekend reiterated to me how big and powerful MOPS can be. It is an International organization, with more than 4000+ groups worldwide, effecting 14.3 million moms in over 30 countries (and those are 2009 statistics)! Last night, I returned home from a fast-paced, fun-filled weekend of fellowship at the MOPS Int. Convention in Nashville, TN. We stayed at the Opryland Hotel and spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday at workshops, concerts, hearing speakers and worshipping the Lord. I grew up in the Catholic Church where loud "amens" never happened. I now attend a fairly small church and let me tell you, there is NOTHING like worshipping with 3,000 women to live Christian music! Its a totally new experience for me and there is nothing like it! I made new friends and cemented existing friendships. I laughed like I haven't laughed in sometime. We all SLEPT IN one morning-it was 9:30 am CST (which is 10:30 am my time!!) We walked like crazy, learned so much my brain was overflowing, and was recharged spiritually to the brim!!
MOPS may not be as earth-shattering for you as it is for me. However, what mom can't benefit from the friendship of other moms? I guarantee you, there is a MOPS group near you! You can check out http://www.mops.org/ and search for a group near you! And don't think if you are a working mom, or don't have preschoolers anymore that you are left out! There are now groups for mothers of school-aged kids called MOMSnext and are geared specifically towards those needs. There are also groups that meet at night, during the day, and on the weekend. There is a group for you!
This years MOPS theme verse is "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold, loving and sensible." 2 Timothy 1:7 All the discussion this weekend revolving around this theme verse reminds me that everyone has different gifts and talents, but they all deserve to be cultivated, cherished and shared! So I encourage everyone to get out there, find yourself a MOPS group and get to sharing already!!