MOPS: Lonely No More

Very often when my family and I are out and about, we run into women I know but my family doesn’t.

Next from my kids comes the questions, “Who is that?  How do you know her?”

 

Last week this happened again.  I chatted with the woman for a few minutes and shortly after we parted, the questions came.

This time, however, before I answered, my oldest said, “Nevermind.  MOPS, right?”

I had to laugh.  Because she was right.  Nine times out of ten I know the person because of MOPS.

 

MOPS is short for Mothers of Preschoolers.  Not familiar with MOPS?  Go here to find out more.

 

Seriously, if you are a mom of a preschooler (a child that hasn’t started kindergarten yet), and you’re feeling lonely, find a MOPS group.  It’s funny how as a new mom especially, you are with that little person 24 hours a day, but you can feel painfully lonely.

 

The link above takes you to the MOPS home page and then click on “find a group” near the bottom of the page to search for a group near you.  You’ll meet lots of other moms in the same season of life as you.

 

And it may take one meeting or ten.  But I promise you, you will make lifelong friendships that will enrich your life and leave you lonely no more!

Advertisements

Inside Chatter

I read this post on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog this morning, and it really got me thinking. (by the way, she’s got a giveaway there – you might want to check it out!)

I’m thinking not only about how I’ve dealt with those feelings of being “left out” over the years,  but also how I deal with what she calls “inside chatter”.  In other words, negative self-talk.  I am pretty adept at not even realizing that the negative self-talk is going on in my mind… but it is constant at times.

I definitely need to work on recognizing it for what it is – untruth.  Seems to me the best way to combat it would be flooding my mind with God’s truth.

What about you – do you have a lot of “inside chatter”?  How do you combat it?

more evidence…

When my babies were little, I really didn’t believe those experienced moms who told me to “enjoy this time” because it goes “so fast”!

I couldn’t help but thinking, “What are you talking about, I’m not getting any sleep here!?!”

Well, in my 11 1/2 years of mothering, I guess I’ve just been gathering evidence that, in fact, those moms were right.

Here’s the latest evidence:

My oldest started 6th grade last week, and my youngest started kindergarten.  Major milestones!

And just so my boy doesn’t feel left out – he started 4th grade.  🙂

Who knew the time would go so fast?

Who knew that I would look back on their infancies with such fondness and wistfulness?

Those moms didn’t.  I guess they weren’t crazy after all.

So here’s a poem for all you moms of little ones out there who feel like the long days and sleepless nights are just not passing by fast enough…

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her (his) eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

So now the irony is not lost on me that I am the one telling those mommas of babies to enjoy the time because it goes by all too fast!  But it really does!

And if you need a visual reminder of this, make your own beautiful wall art printable of the last verse of this poem here.  (Thanks DIY Mommy!)

to go or not to go…

that is the question.

My 20th high school reunion is in 2 months and I can’t decide if I am going to go.

I really think of myself as a pretty confident person.  In most settings and circumstances, I really don’t care much what other people think of me.

But when I think of going to this reunion, I get all weak-kneed and sweaty-palmed and wonder why I would want to put myself through this.

I think those who were part of the “in crowd” in school don’t have this problem.  But as I’ve mentioned before – I wasn’t.  I was a bit of a, ahem, geek.  And for the most part, that was ok with me.  I was overweight and when I was young I think I figured if I couldn’t be the prettiest, I’d just be the smartest.  But I’ve learned that vanity by a different name is still vanity.

And now I’m anxious about the thought of being in a room with all those people.

The boy that in 7th grade sat next to me in band and made fun of me for being overweight.  The group of “friends” that I so desperately wanted to be a part of, but who made me feel at every turn like I wasn’t really good enough.

But on the other hand, I was not perfect either.  Do I really want to see the girl that I gossiped about and hurt her feelings?  Do I want to see the boy that I thought I was just friends with but then he surprised me with inviting me to the prom and I had to say no?

What is it about this that brings me right back to those feelings of insecurity that I felt then?  It was so loooong ago.  Shouldn’t I have gotten past this? 

(is this normal???)

But I guess those childhood wounds are hard to heal.  And when you leave high school, or at least when I did, you leave those people behind and they are forever – to you – the way they were.  You don’t have the opportunity to see them grow and change. 

But we all do grow and change.  I am a better version of myself now than I was then.  And maybe I just need to remember that probably most of them are, too.

So will I go?

I’m still not sure.  There are a few people who I really would like to see. 

That may be just enough to get me there.

…feeling better…

Wow, sometimes I am a total basket case, aren’t I?

Anyways, yesterday I had a very helpful conversation with a good friend, and I heard this Chip Ingram broadcast on discouragement:

Rebuilding Your Broken World – How to Slay the Dragon of Discouragement, Part 2

(once you’re at the Living On the Edge website, you can click on the title above for 3/1/11 and download the podcast)

I highly recommend listening to this if you felt at all like you identified with my ramblings in the last post!

Today I’m praising God for putting people in my life who speak His truth to me, and for putting me in the right place at the right time to listen to that broadcast!

God is Good!

The Mess that is Perfection

Lately I have been a jumble of emotions, thoughts, words, and last night, tears.  Be forewarned… this post is likely to be a mess as well.

I just feel like I can’t sort anything out.

One thought that keeps returning to me lately is that I am a disappointment to myself.

Last night my husband told me that I am a perfectionist – by way of an explanation as to why I disappoint myself every day.

He’s right.

As anyone who has been to my house, or seen me at the grocery store on a Saturday in my sweats – I’m not a perfectionist in every area of my life.  But I expect perfection from myself when it comes to my behavior, following rules, how I parent, and my marriage.  The problem is that I am not perfect – far from it.  Thus…disappointment.  (And, not to mention, a couple of those things involve other people who are not perfect, either!)

What do you think of or feel when you read the verse, Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”?  I feel failure.  I feel disappointment.  I feel guilt.

I know in my head that no one is perfect.  The bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” in Romans 3:23.  And I know God loves me, despite my shortcomings. 

But I still have a hard time reconciling this issue in my head.  Yes, God loves me as I am.  But doesn’t He expect me to be better?  To become more like Christ?  I know that I won’t be sinless this side of heaven.  But shouldn’t I be getting better?  Shouldn’t I NOT be dealing with the same issues over and over again?

God loves me.  Yet my sin grieves Him (Isaiah 63:10).  Wouldn’t He love me better if I was getting closer to being perfect?

Perfection has created a mess in my life.  I don’t live up to my own expectations.  The problem is, I don’t know how to change.  In my saner moments, I can, in my brain, acknowledge this.  But thinking it and feeling it, or having it change my behavior, are two different things. 

Pastor Andy had a great sermon yesterday – I felt like it was meant for me.  But it was also frustrating.  He spoke about letting God’s Holy Spirit change us, renew our minds, so that our lives don’t have to be defined by our issues. 

But HOW?  I feel like I’m doing what I can to allow the Holy Spirit to change me … I read the bible most every day, I pray daily and specifically.  Why am I not changing????  What is the key that I’m missing to make these changes happen? 

How do I lower my expectations for myself?  How do I change my behavior so I am closer to being who God wants me to be without continually being frustrated with myself?  And how do I deal with that frustration when it comes without spiraling into depression?  How do I stop thinking “I should be…” and start thinking “God wants me to…”?  And in the case of that last question, what if the two are the same and I just don’t WANT to?  What then?

Sorry for dumping all my emotions out on the “virtual” table here.  But when I started blogging, I felt like it was important to be open – and this is what I’m dealing with now.  Does anyone else deal with these issues?  How did you / how do you work through them?

~Peace~

In saying “yes” to something, I’ve upped my anxiety level a little bit.

I knew that would happen, because that’s just what I do.

We recently cleaned out our home office, which included dismantling & removing our old computer.  (Yes, we’ve had two computers sitting in our office area for 6 months now!)  But the day afterwards I realized that there could be a chance that I might need a current resume.  I haven’t had a paying job since 2005.  I also haven’t needed a resume since then.  Before removing the old computer, my husband went through the computer files and transferred all the ones that might be important.  But I couldn’t find my resume in the files that he transferred. 

Anxiety increased. 

Then last night I got an e-mail about the need for a 45-minute phone interview. 

Anxiety increased some more. 

I haven’t done anything like this in 5 years.  What if my kids interrupt the phone call?  What if I get super-nervous and I trip over my words?  What if I go blank when asked a question?  And I don’t know about any of you, but being a stay-at-home-mom has really challenged me when it comes to knowing what I’m good at and being able to tell others. 

So I prayed last night and this morning about it.  This morning I specifically prayed that God would give me peace and that He would confirm for me that I indeed was supposed to say yes to this opportunity.

And this is how God answers prayer – because His spirit is in me, teaching me all things and reminding me of what God has said to me (John 14:26):

First this scripture popped into my head – Joshua 1:9 -“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  How’s that for encouragement?

Then I just felt a sense that God is in control.  Even my own human weaknesses cannot interfere with His plans.  What if I mess up?  Well, God can still make it happen if that’s what He wants.  In fact, it’s pretty self-centered of me to think that I could mess up what God has planned.   Of course He calls me to give my best effort, but His grace is all-sufficient.  I have no need to fear.

Then as I was driving the kids to school this morning, the song “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns was playing on the radio (K-love, of course!). 

This part of the song struck me as the specific answer to my specific prayer:

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out His hand

You see, a few years ago before I decided to start a new MOPS group at our church, God spoke to me using this scripture passage – Matthew 14:22-34.  This is the story of Jesus walking on water to get out to the boat where his disciples were.  Peter got out of the boat to meet Jesus, but then started to doubt and started to sink.  Jesus said to him, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”.  At the time, I wondered why Jesus said Peter had “little faith” – I mean he got out of the boat, didn’t he?  That seems like quite a bit of faith to me.  But God seemed to tell me through this passage – He wants more than just stepping out of the boat – anyone can do that.  But He wants us to do amazing things – like walking on water.  THAT can only be done through the power of God in our lives and our faith in Him. 

So the Holy Spirit reminded me of that lesson God taught me years ago – and that it still applies to me today.  Yes, it may out of my comfort zone.  Yes, I may make mistakes.  But as the song says,

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

~PEACE~

THAT is the power of prayer.  THAT is the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  THAT is the peace that God gives.