Archive for April, 2012
When I was asked to be a Titus 2 mom, I was very humbled and a little surprised. I guess I didn’t want to admit that I had at some point crossed over the point of being a “young” mom to an “old” mom! I had attended several Hearts at Home conferences years ago, so I was excited that our church might be able to develop a biblically-based learning group for moms. I prayed about it and said yes.
Well what a blessing it has been for me!! The fellow Titus 2 moms are wonderful mentors to me and I love spending time with the “young” moms again. It brings back the wonderful memories of those early days and again I am humbled to be able to help and encourage them through their journey of being a mom as I know what a blessing it is from God! But, I never imagined how much I would get from the program. As you said, God’s word never gets old and we need to keep hearing it over and over.
I want to share one of my highlights with you because it means so much to me. I think (hope) our family life has peaked in terms of business and craziness. We have two away at college, but one day at the end of January, it was the 17th birthday of our oldest son at home, and I had a Mom to Mom meeting that morning. I had no present for him because honestly (and sadly) he really did not need anything materially and I just didn’t have it in my heart to “buy” a present for the sake of having a present. So as I am rushing getting ready for our meeting time, I am thinking to myself that I shouldn’t be doing this Mom to Mom thing, that I just didn’t have time for it. I always want to make sure I am putting my family first and I just had a incredible amount of mom-guilt that morning.
But I went and listened as Linda Anderson spoke to our group via the DVD. As crazy as it sounds, I know God was talking to me through her. It was Heart Talk Session 6: Biblical Building Blocks of Self-Worth. It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear that morning. Anyway, as I was listening to Linda and thinking about our son, the idea of the best present came to me. Why do I have to buy “something” for him?
Instead, I went home and wrote him a long letter telling him how special he was, how thankful we are for him, and how God is always there for him. With that letter I promised him that once a month for his 17th year either I, his dad, or both of us would take him out for a special dinner. In a large family, that just does not happen! It has been my most treasured gift that I have given in a long time. I look forward to being able to do this throughout what is basically his last year at home before he goes off to college. We have done it three times now and every one has been wonderful. I am guessing that this may become a new family tradition for us and it is all because of Mom to Mom!!
I’ve been traveling a lot lately. I’ve been with lots of moms—in Ireland, in Illinois, in Texas, and closer to home in Wisconsin. As always, I come home seeing many mom-faces before me, hearing many mom-stories playing in the back of my head. And as always, I’m both praising God and praying more because of all the moms I’ve met.
You moms are incredible! I am continually amazed at the strength, the patience, the perseverance, and the fierce love you have for your children. It’s a love that continues to love even when loving comes hard. It’s a love that loves kids through their toughest ages and stages. It’s a love that persists—and maybe even grows stronger—when you’re a single adoptive mom of two special needs kids, or a mom who’s had to file a restraining order against your children’s father, or a mom who’s parenting alone because Daddy is incarcerated. And maybe hardest of all, it’s an everyday love that perseveres 24/7/365, day after ordinary day. I hear your stories, I see your faces, and I honor you as heroes.
But I also know that what you are doing is hard. Very hard. And you cannot do it alone. Which is why one particular picture persists in my mind. I keep seeing this picture not only because it is a picture of my daughter and granddaughter walking along the Irish Sea. Of course that helps—but I actually have much better pictures of these two special people. The reason the picture is ever before me is because it reminds me of you. It reminds me of what you are doing every day with and for your kids.
But it also reminds me of God. It reminds me of God and what He does every day for you and me because we cannot walk this walk alone. Whether you are currently single or married or “feeling single” even while married, you do not have to walk this “mama-walk” alone. Hear what God says to you:
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear because I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. . . That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’” (from Isaiah 41:10,13 in The Message)
In the NIV we read that God will “uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) and “takes hold of your right hand.” (Isaiah 41:13). Just like the picture! But I do like the “firm grip” Eugene Peterson describes. And these are just two of many verses in the Bible that talk about God holding us.
No matter what you’re going through today, no matter how mundane or ordinary or overwhelming your day, He’s got a firm grip on you. Can you feel it?
Have you ever been so focused on yourself that you lose sight of others? Maybe it’s all the responsibilities you have in caring for your family. But somehow you just find yourself needing something more. Recently our Mom to Mom group was there! We spent week after week discussing the issues that face us every day.
So we decided to reach out. Our group was presented with a challenge to help a local community agency, Nurses for Newborns. This organization supports at-risks moms and/or babies in the early stages of parenting. Our group decided that we could look beyond our needs and help other moms less fortunate. We decided to make Easter baskets for the agency to deliver to the moms with whom they work. Our moms collected some new and some gently used items for the baskets. We used part of our workshop time to assemble the baskets. By the end of the day we had 50 baskets to present to the agency! Our moms were even surprised by what they were able to join together and do. It was a refreshing time to take our eyes off ourselves and focus on someone else in need.
To some in our group, the idea of giving back to the community is quite common. Others, however, were learning about this blessing for the first time. This was a wonderful way to look outside the stress in our own homes and share a breath of springtime with others!
By Lori Campbell, Titus 2 Leader
Rolling Hills Community Church Mom to Mom
“It changes everything, you know.” It’s the day after Easter, and that’s the sentence that keeps echoing through my mind. Because it does. Easter. It changes everything.
In Ireland my daughter tells me it’s a holiday. Easter Monday. How fitting: That the day after Easter be—instead of a “let-down, back-to-the-humdrum” kind of day—a holiday. It’s not, after all, “same-ol’ same ol.’” How can it be, when redemption has been accomplished, sin forgiven, death defeated, and a glorious eternal future opened up before us? Because He came, He lived, He died, and He rose again, nothing is ever the same again.
But we are easily fooled. Is anything really all that different? On this particular Monday in my life, I am jet-lagged and missing my grandkids after two wonderful weeks in Ireland. There’s a lot that’s been left undone while I’ve been away. My “to-do” list looks longer than my day. And several items on it are things I’d rather avoid. It was a lot more fun to shout “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” yesterday in church than to schedule doctor’s appointments and follow-up mammograms.
And you. I’ll bet your kids got up just as early this day after Easter. Or maybe your teenager didn’t want to get up at all. And the laundry pile, the carpool, the grocery list, the budget crunch, even the creeping anxiety about one of your kids or your husband’s job—it’s all there.
Which takes me back to where I originally heard the sentence I can’t get out of my mind: “It changes everything.” Let me give you some context. Several years ago I was speaking at a women’s event in another part of the country. The hosting church had just that year begun a Mom to Mom program. After I spoke, a buffet was served. I was told “just sit anywhere you’d like.” As I scanned the room, I was drawn toward a nearly empty table. Something in my head said, “Just sit down and see who the Lord brings to sit next to you.”
I’ll never forget the beautiful young woman who came and joined me. I can’t remember her name, but I will always remember what she said. She began by thanking me for doing Mom to Mom. She told how helpful it had been to her, particularly with special challenges she experienced as mom with a disability. “But the big thing, Linda,” she said, “is that through this year, week after week, I have felt God’s love as never before. For me. Personally. Particularly. Powerfully. For the first time in my life, I have felt completely, totally loved by God. And when you know—really know—how much God loves you, it changes everything, you know.”
Oh yes, my sweet friend, it does. It changes everything. How I think about laundry and food shopping and even mammograms. How you look at your husband and kids and even laundry. More importantly, how you think about your past (yes, you’ve blown it, but because of Easter, you’re forgiven and given a fresh start), your future (He will be with you every step of the way no matter where that way leads)—and even your present, your today (He can give you His love for the unlovable, His strength for your weakness, His peace amidst your pain). He said it in a sentence just before he left this earth: “Lo, I am with you always . . .” (Matthew 28:20)
His love changes everything. And what more powerful reminder of His love than Easter? It’s worth remembering—even, or maybe especially, on this Easter Monday.