Our Starry Eyed MOPS year came to a close Friday. Like the end of most MOPS years, it was a little bittersweet. Being our annual Tea & Testimony, this meeting was more than just a regular MOPS day. It was an event! Volunteers had decorated each table beautifully. (See all the pretty pictures below.) The food amazing! Tea, scones, egg casseroles, fruit, so much yumminess.
Along with the food and fellowship at the tables, we were blessed with three speakers Friday. Each spoke truth about what it means to be moms, what it means to be friends and how God works in the lives of His daughters.
God Provides Friendship
Keldy Spainhour spoke first. Keldy and her family followed God's call to Kitsap Country so that her husband could take the lead pastor position at Crossroads in Bremerton. Once they arrived, she realized how alone she was now.
Before, she had friends. Friend she had known for for years. Friends she had babies alongside, and had traveled the roads of motherhood with. Now, she was all the way across the country with four kids under five (including an infant) and a house full of boxes. "It is hard to make friends in a new place with four kids in tow," Keldy said. Even then, God was faithful.
After a few rocky attempts at friendship, He lead her to a new friend an He lead her to PBF MOPS. A place where people see her for who she is, mom and more. A place where people are real and really care. God had brought her to Kitsap and was going to take care of her. He provided a job, He provided a home, and He provided friends.
Freedom in Friendship
Bethany Dieringer spoke next. Bethany has been leading our MOPS group for the past two years, but she wasn't always so connected and involved with other moms. In fact, Bethany's said she had perfected the art of being lonely and was proud of it.
Bethany grew up here with lots of family surrounding her and all the wonderful and not so wonderful thing close family brings. In a whirlwind, she met and married her husband (of 10 years now) who was then quickly deployed. To shield her heart from potential hurt, she shut parts of it down.
Her husband returned and they decided their family was ready for a baby, but that road was long and she shut down more parts of her heart. When a baby finally was born, those tender first bonding moments were lost as he was rushed to the NICU. The beginning of motherhood was fraught with more battle than bonding. More parts shut down.
When Bethany found PBF MOPS, she held a lot of bitterness and anger in her heart. Yes, she was a mom but she didn't thing she was one of "those moms" who need a support group to make it through. Yet, there was also a part of her that thought that "I feel kind of crazy and maybe I can find someone else to be crazy with."
She did. She found a whole group of crazy moms trying to figure this whole motherhood thing out. She found her tribe. The diversity of the moms at MOPS gave her freedom. Freedom to figure out how motherhood works best for her and her family. MOPS has been a vehicle that has brought Bethany out of her self and helped her learn to be a leader.
Freedom in Christ
Our last speaker was Susan Sterns. Susan is a beach body coach, recent graduate school graduate and single mom. She is also the author of Crazy Tuesdays, a book about a family tradition of doing something extremely messy on Tuesday.
Susan started her talk by sharing how the week that Crazy Tuesdays was released, was the week she became a single mom. This was not what she had planned. She didn't think this was God's plan for her either. Yet, that is how life played out and it hurt. Her husband's departure left deep wounds that took time to heal, but they did heal. Susan shared that "sometimes God leaves us in a space we don't understand to create faith in our hearts."
The hard parts of our lives are not the times that God has abandoned us. They are not the things that God uses us in spite of. The hard times are the moments in our lives that shape us and refine us. The scars we bear from the deep hurts we survived are signs of hope for those going through their own difficult patches.
Susan shared John 20:19-22:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.Jesus had just conquered death. He had laid down His life and taken it up again. Yet, even in His recreation, He kept his scars. Jesus kept his scars to prove who He was. He kept His scars as a reminder of the costs of sin. His scars did not hold Him back, and our scars don't have to hold us back either.
When we share our scars with others, we experience freedom. Freedom to be who we are, crazy as we might be. Freedom to show our imperfections and be truly real. Freedom to encourage other and give them hope that someday they will be free too.