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On Planks and Pieces

Feb. 10, 2012


Here I am to wish you "Happy New Year," And it's February already. Not most people's favorite month. I don't know how it is where you live, but up here in the North, February—along with its sister months January and March—can be tough sledding. (No pun intended—we don't even have snow in Wisconsin at the moment, which is surprising.) Winter can be especially rough going for moms.

And it's not just the weather. Last week I spoke at a Mom to Mom down south where the weather was actually balmy—and beautiful. But it turns out moms were struggling there just the same. Job loss, sick children, miscarriages, and struggling marriages are not weather-dependent.

Maybe that's why I have stuck in my mind a rather obscure phrase from Scripture: "on planks and pieces." It's found in Acts 27:44, and it describes how the Apostle Paul and his shipmates got to shore after a very dramatic shipwreck. They held on for dear life to planks and pieces, and they made it safely to shore amidst a storm.

It makes me think of Mom to Mom. Moms so often feel they are weathering a storm—whether that's 2-year-old tantrums or toilet training or teen rebellion. And we at Mom to Mom offer them planks and pieces to hold on to. It's a common theme in conversation I have with moms in groups where I visit and speak. "I couldn't have made it without Mom to Mom." "Mom to Mom has been my lifeline." "I'm a totally different parent because of Mom to Mom."

What are the planks and pieces we offer them? God's Word. Prayer. Christian sisters to hold on to them. Practical help in their parenting. And "Titus 2" women. Especially Titus 2 women—including many of you reading this. Women who come alongside and walk with them through both everyday mom-life and the tougher times we all face sooner or later.

It's a common thread through most every conversation I have with moms—how thankful they are for their Titus 2 mentor moms. Particularly how grateful they are for the genuine love and authenticity of these women. "They are so real with us. When they share with us their ups and downs and how God got them through, we begin to believe He will do the same for us. When they admit they've blown it as a mom yet have known the redemptive forgiveness of God, we trust that we can, too. When they show us they can laugh at themselves, we find grace to do the same."

So may I offer a mid-winter word of encouragement to all of you who are leaders at Mom to Mom (and even those of you who aren't!)? Even as you may feel that you yourself are sometimes barely holding on to the "planks and pieces" of God's presence in your life circumstances, don't be afraid to share that with the younger moms at Mom to Mom (or in your family and community). Just as Paul encouraged his shipmates with God's promise that "not one of you will be lost," so we can encourage fellow moms that God's promises will hold for them as they have and do for us. To paraphrase Paul's words in Acts 27:25, "So keep up your courage, [moms], for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me."

A reminder that the big Hearts at Home conference is coming up soon—March 16-17 in Bloomington-Normal, IL. I (Linda) am really excited to be one of the speakers this year. I'll be doing two workshops: "Top Ten Messages You Want Your Kids To Get" and "In the Middle of the Muddle: What Matters and What Doesn't." See the link below for more information on how to register. This is a wonderful way to be encouraged as a mom of any age—or to encourage a mom in your life by gifting her with this conference. Another way to hold out "planks and pieces"!

Mom to Mom Ministries will be there at the speaker tables. Hope to see you there!
Linda Anderson
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