A few days ago, I gave a little speech/testimony at a MOPS banquet about my involvement in the group. (I’ll include it at the end of the post.)
I was surprised by two things.
First, the power of words.
People laughed. People cried. People nodded their heads in understanding.
It felt good. Encouraging people with words interwoven with bits of my life.
Second, I might just have a gift I haven’t counted.
So many people came up to me afterward and thanked me for sharing, but the last sticks out the most. She was an AP English teacher and she sought me out and told me I had such a unique voice. She told me I ought to be doing more formal writing than just this humble blog. And that I ought to do it now while it’s raw.
I wanted to cry.
You see, when I was younger I wanted to be a writer. I filled journals with details of my thoughts. I wrote bad poetry. I wrote two horrible novels before 8th grade. I went to a summer camp for writers. But I couldn’t find my story. I couldn’t find my voice except on rare occasions. I couldn’t put it on paper and I knew it and my teachers told me so. So I stopped writing. Except here.
But maybe my voice just need to mature. To experience. To grow and blossom.
Maybe my voice needed to connect to my life-story. To connect with that raw place without pretense and reach the place where it elevates words to encouragement.
And maybe that’s what I ought to be doing. Maybe I ought to jump to action. Or maybe I just ought to think this writing thing over and hear what a different Voice might have to say about it.
My Little MOPS (Mom’s of Preschoolers) Banquet Testimony
As I sit outside to write this little blurb with my snot nosed twin daughters playing in the back yard, my infant son inside the house just in earshot, and all four of us still in pajamas, it occurs to me that maybe there would be better people to speak to you tonight: women whose house is clean, whose kids are dressed before noon, and whose two year olds are fluent in at least three languages. Or at least a woman who isn’t writing this while one of her kids has dirt hanging from her snotty nose. But maybe that I was asked to speak precisely because I am in the thick of life with preschoolers and I don’t mince words.
I’m pretty honest about how hard this raising little people is so, without hesitation, I’ll tell you that when Mandy Deming first invited me to MOPS, I came because there was free child-care. I didn’t care that I had to sit in a meeting with women I didn’t know as long as someone was wearing out my kiddos and my 8 month pregnant body was getting to rest. In fact, I might even admit surprise at being in a room with people who could speak in complete thoughts. Even more so that they were willing to admit some of the same struggles with child rearing as I do.
The camaraderie was instant. They understood what it’s like to have to discipline your child every 5 minutes for an hour and a half because she won’t stay in her toddler bed. Or what it’s like to have two melting down children clinging to your legs while you try to just get anything edible on the table. And some of the mentors are far enough from these moments that they can laugh in memory.
About 2 months after I attended my first MOPS meeting, my 3rd baby was born, giving me 3 under 26 months of age. Like I mentioned, I only really knew one person here. MOPS steering team set up a meal delivery schedule and loved on me through food.
I vividly remember Joni coming over with her sweet Addison. I was wearing PJ pants because nothing else fit. My twins had managed to pull down, plug in, and burn themselves with my iron while I was nursing the baby. Moments before Joni came, they had emptied a travel sized toothpaste all over themselves and my bathroom while I was tossing in a load of laundry. Joni just laughed and called my girls “minty fresh” and gave me the perspective to see humor in the day. She gave me the courage to make it until my husband came home.
So what is MOPS to me? Well, it’s a group of women who love Jesus supporting one another as best as we can. And hearing the words, “I understand,” while I’m wearing PJs at noon on a Thursday really makes a difference when I’m in the thick of it.
Thank you for being here to support the ministry of MOPS in my life.