Generational Wealth

“We will tell the next generation . . .”  Our pastor alluded to it last Sunday.  I re-read it this week in Psalm 78.  And I saw it in action recently in a Mom to Mom group where I spoke.

Meredith Moms

You could call it “generational wealth.”  I’ve heard the term used in the context of legacy giving and non-profit donations: inherited wealth passed on generation to generation.  Churches and charities love it.   

But the generational wealth I’m talking about is far richer than the largest donation, the greatest bequest.  The Psalmist expands on it in Psalm 78:3-7:

“. . . what we have heard and known,

what our fathers [and mothers] have told us

We will not hide them from our children

We will tell the next generation

The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord

His powers and the wonders He has done . . .

So the next generation would know them,

Even the children yet to be born,

And they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God. . . .”

It’s the Titus 2 principle, on which Mom to Mom was founded, fleshed out.  And I saw a wonderful example of it in a precious Mom to Mom group in Meredith, NH.  Four generations in Mom to Mom: Titus 2 leaders Mini and her daughter Mary, Mom to Mom member Carrie (Mary’s daughter) with her daughter Rose.  It was a first, for me, to meet four generations of one family in Mom to Mom.

Four Generations at Mom to Mom

In that same morning there were many memorable interactions with women about “real mom” life: particularly challenging children; grown kids in crisis; marriages that died—some brought back to life again by our resurrecting Lord, some still dead but with daily strength supplied by that same Lord.  And then there was the mom who wrote this in a note to me: [Mom to Mom] has inspired me to trust in the hope of Christ for those in my family who are still unsaved.  I also have faith that God will redeem the years that the locust has eaten—from all the mistakes I have made in raising my children.”     Can’t we all say “Amen” to that?!

A precious gift given to me summed up the morning.  One mom had painted on a beautiful plate a verse I had alluded to in their last session (Session 16 of Growing Together).  This same mom had several years ago painted Mom to Mom sayings on her bathroom walls—the only place she got to sit down in those days!  No, she didn’t present me with a piece of the wall.  But the verse on the plate captures it:

plate photo

Generational wealth: Pass it on!

Images courtesy of Susan Brown. Used with permission.


A Hug from God Every Wednesday

This week I got to do one of my favorite things.  I went to an end-of-year Celebration Brunch at a nearby church and listened as moms shared about their year in Mom to Mom.

It’s that time of year—and I love it!  Many Mom to Mom groups use their last meeting of the year to hear from women in the group about how God has met them in this year.  Sometimes I’m lucky enough to hear from these moms face-to-face.  Sometimes I get emails from moms in groups around the country.  But all the time there is a common theme: “God met me here.”

Yesterday I listened as one woman told of how God had changed her this year through Mom to Mom.  Changed her marriage.  Changed her perspective on what it means to build a Christian home.  Helped her prepare for the birth of their first baby.  (Yes, she came to Mom to Mom while pregnant with her first child in order to prepare to be a mom!)

Another mom told of how her group kept a prayer journal together.  How it had gotten her through this year to keep in touch with prayer requests by email even when she had sick kids and couldn’t make it to Mom to Mom.  Another told an amazing story of God’s healing in the life of her precious newborn as she was surrounded by the care and prayers of her group. The baby’s doctor said: “You know I am an atheist.  But I have to say this is a miracle.”

Another told of how hard it had been to learn of her child’s multiple food allergies; but God had “arranged” her group so that there were others with similar challenges that could walk alongside her.  Yet another told how she had modified her career plans and arranged her schedule to be at Mom to Mom.  “Tell your friends ‘You need to arrange your life to be here.  It’s that important.’”

There was a common theme summed up by one mom who said, “I’ve come to think of Mom to Mom as ‘the sisterhood of motherhood.’”  She was followed by a mom who shared a heart-wrenching story of her miscarriage at 19 weeks.  It happened on a Tuesday.  And she was at Mom to Mom the next day to be loved and prayed for by women who understood—not only in that day, but through the days and weeks that followed.  “It was like a hug from God every Wednesday.”

This group of moms has organized themselves to stay in touch over the summer.  They have a Facebook group of 77 families who try to stay connected.  They know they need each other.  One mom from another MTM group told of a time she was out pushing her twins on a desperation walk at the witching hour against a whipping wind.   Another mom drove by, rolled down her window and said, “It will get better.”  A message we all need to hear.

So I write this today as a salute to all the moms who come to Mom to Mom, and to all the amazing Titus 2 leaders who faithfully love and serve these moms.  We need each other! But we need God even more. A verse keeps coming to me from the Psalmist: “Where can I go to meet with God?”  Many places, of course.  But thank God that Mom to Mom is one of the best!

Moms, Moms Everywhere

Moms, Moms Everywhere—that’s actually the title of a LifeWay webcast in which I participated recently  (to be aired today at noon (CDT),  Tuesday, September 18 and available at Lifeway Women Live).  But it’s also how I feel this time of year.

OK, so I see moms everywhere all year round.  But recently I’ve been particularly impressed by how much we moms need each other.  As the school year opens, I always hear (and sometimes see) the excitement of moms reconnecting at their Mom to Mom groups—or starting a new one.  This coming weekend I’ll be with hundreds of moms at the wonderful .Mom conference in Birmingham (I think you can still register!)  Then next month I’ll be in Colorado with loads of moms at the Hearts at Home conference in Colorado Springs.  And then in November with many more at Hearts at Home in Rochester, Minnesota.  Moms, Moms everywhere—and I love it!

But it’s not just at big conferences or even in Mom to Mom groups.  I see moms in our neighborhood, at the supermarket, at church, at the mall—really, everywhere I go.  They are old and young, biological moms and adoptive moms and foster moms and blended-family moms, grandmoms raising grandchildren—all kinds of moms.

But there’s a common theme.  I see it in their faces and body language and I hear it in their tone of voice.  Moms need encouragement.  Lots of encouragement.   Last week I spoke at a local Mom to Mom, and a conversation with one mom captured it.  It was this woman’s first time at Mom to Mom.  At the end, she stopped and talked with me.  She wanted to thank me for “doing this.”  She told me about her own mom, her husband and family, and how she was doing as a mom.  “I think I need spiritual mothering,” she said.  She went on to tell me why.  But she ended her conversation with this:  “Thank you. This has been so helpful.  I just feel so encouraged.”

Praise God!  Just want we want to do at Mom to Mom: encourage moms.  Just what the people who plan big mom-conferences want to do: encourage moms.  And just what every one of us can look to do in our own lives: encourage moms.  Whether you’re a new mom or an experienced mom with grown kids or grandkids, whether you are part of a moms’ group or not—wherever you live, whatever you do, there are moms everywhere around you that you can encourage.  With a smile.  With  a word of affirmation.  With a helping hand at the door of Walmart or the public  library.  With a meal to a sick mom.  Or, best of all, some spiritual encouragement: let a mom know you’ll pray for her (and DO it!), invite her into your moms’ group or Bible Study, or watch her kids when they’re sick so she can go to her Bible Study or moms’ group.

A challenge:  Look around you and look for a mom you can encourage—today.  It’s much-needed.  It’s fun.  And it’s Biblical: “So encourage one another daily…”  (Hebrews 3:13)   Do it!

And if any of you have some creative suggestions for encouraging moms, or can share an experience where you were encouraged by another mom—I’d love to hear from you!   Or,  if by chance you’re going to be in Birmingham September 21-22; in Colorado Springs October 12-13; or Rochester, Minnesota, November 9-10, come see me.  We can encourage each other!

A Summer Treat: Bittersweet

Here’s a book to pack in your beach bag—or just curl up with at home when your kids are napping.  Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way,  by Shauna Niequist.   It’s a great “snatch book,” as each chapter stands alone (almost like a blog post), so you can savor it bit by bit as you have time.

I loved Shauna’s previous book, Cold Tangerines.   But this one is even better.  Maybe it’s simply because she has lived longer.  Shauna writes out of her life.  And Bittersweet is written out of a season in her life that has been just that.  A time of growth and accomplishment and fulfillment as a woman, a wife, a writer, and now a mother.  But also a time of great change, deep loss, and bitter disappointment.

How do we make sense of such a life?  It’s an important question to ask, because we will all live in such a season—if not now, then sooner or later.  When Shauna writes of finding grace and forgiveness and healing and hope—even joy—amidst hardness and heartache and barrenness, her voice rings true.

The book is also—trust me—a fun read.  The cover alone will get you.  Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.  When I gave the book to my daughter, her two year-old went for it immediately, exclaiming, “Mmmmm!  Chocolate!”  (A girl after my own heart, that child!)  You foodies will love how Shauna describes her journey in terms of memorable meals.  She loves to cook as much as she loves to write, and this is a delicious read.

But the book is more than that.  All mothers will identify with Shauna’s reflections on motherhood.  There’s such joy when she writes about her son, Henry.  And such wisdom in her call for community with other moms, rather than comparison and competition.  And her pleas for older, wiser experienced moms in her life. Of course, you know what I was thinking: “That’s just why we have Mom to Mom!”

On a personal level, I was deeply moved by the chapters dealing with miscarriage and infertility and loss: “Heartbeat,” What Might Have Been,” and “On Crying in the Bathroom.”  Having personally experienced the same kind of miscarriage Shauna had, it was “déjà vu” for me.  But it is important reading for all mothers—not only for those who have experienced loss, but also for those who want to walk well alongside another on this journey.

On a very practical level, the chapter “Things I Don’t Do” is worth the price of the book.  Shauna’s cure for the “Do Everything Better” syndrome is must-reading for every one of us recovering-perfectionist moms!

Ultimately, Bittersweet points readers to God.  As Shauna puts it:”My life is a story about God and what He does in a human heart.” (p. 240)   It’s a story worth reading!

Moms Encouraging Moms

Did I ever have fun this last weekend!  Mom to Mom had an exhibit at the Hearts at Home National Conference in Bloomington, IL, so two Mom to Mom friends and I got to spend two full days just listening and talking to moms.  What a privilege.  What a ride!

You know how I love moms.  And to hang out with over 4500 of them over a period of two days—that’s what I call a little bit of Heaven.  Of course we had fun talking about Mom to Mom.  We met moms who had never heard of Mom to Mom, moms who are currently in a Mom to Mom, and moms who are thinking of starting Mom to Mom in their church or community.

We even had a little mini-reunion with four moms from Vermont who are now in their fifth year of Mom to Mom.  They’re going through the curriculum a second time, with lots of new moms and some who’ve been there from the start.  It has grown into a wonderful outreach in their community, as the vast majority of their moms are not from their church.   I just love hearing Mom to Mom stories like theirs!

But in addition to talking Mom to Mom, we had wonderful opportunities just to listen to moms.  To look into their eyes and listen—really listen.  There were physician moms and farmer moms, single moms and blended family moms, biological moms and adoptive moms, moms of all sizes and shapes and ages and circumstances.  Each has their own story.  But they had one thing in common:  They all needed encouragement.  They all needed to know that “You mean I’m not the only one who...?”

Of course they got tons of encouragement from the conference speakers and singers and emcees and humorists.  But I also watched them encouraging one another.  And I watched my colleagues, Karen and Tonya, pour encouragement into moms with their big smile, bright eyes, and listening ears.  It’s what Mom to Mom is all about, really.   And Hearts at Home, too.  (Check out their website for future conferences, and come see us again!)

So here’s my takeaway: Encouraging another mom is one of the best things you can do.   And as much fun as it is to hang out with thousands of moms, you don’t have to be at a conference to encourage another mom.  You can do it right in your own backyard.  Or preschool.  Or supermarket.  Or via email, text, twitter, or Facebook.

It’s what Paul was talking about when he said “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  (I Thessalonians 5:11)

Encourage another mom today!

Faithfulness, Fruit, and “Calling Back”

Wedding photo

“I thought you’d like to see a picture of the kids you helped me raise." The picture on the Christmas card was of a beautiful young couple’s wedding. The words came from a proud mama, a Mom to Mom “alum,” who was overflowing with joy at the ways in which God has grown and led her three young adult children.

But her words took me back many years—nearly two decades—to when I first met this woman. How different things were in her family then! Beth (not her real name) was struggling mightily in her role as mom, grappling with family dysfunction and anger and not wanting to be at Mom to Mom despite a friend’s insistence that she come. In fact, she was so angry and overwhelmed that she told me years later that she saved up all her bad language to use on Mom to Mom days because “if my leader knew who I really was, she wouldn’t keep on loving me like she does.”

But her leader did keep on loving her. Mightily and stubbornly, with the never-failing love of our God. Eventually Beth came to know not only her leader’s love, but the love of her leader’s God. I remember a note Beth wrote me one summer after a couple of years at Mom to Mom. “Just think,” she said,” Before Mom to Mom, I didn’t even know your God. Now He’s my God, too.”

Not only did Beth come to know God—but her whole family did as well. They joined our church, put the kids in a Christian school, eventually got involved in Bible studies and went on mission trips and testified mightily to the grace of God during times of grave illness. One of those now grown-up kids was the groom in the picture, marrying the young woman he met at his Christian college.

The fruit of faithfulness. Especially—and above all—the faithfulness of our God as He works in lives as He draws them to Himself. But he also uses our faithfulness. Faithfulness of dedicated Titus 2 leaders. Faithfulness of the administrators who make a ministry like Mom to Mom happen. Faithfulness of childcare workers who lovingly care for the children of moms who need to be at Mom to Mom.

Recently I had a vivid reminder of the mighty work of Mom to Mom childcare teams. I visited a new (first year) Mom to Mom in Maine where I was amazed and delighted to learn that their whole childcare team is made up of volunteers. Heroes, I’d call them—the men and women who care for kids so that their moms can grow as Christian moms. Mom to Mom child care workers receiving recognition and thanks.

The day I was there, the moms were honoring and thanking these wonderful childcare workers by each bringing something for a Christmas basket for each worker. Some moms had baked cookies, others made a small ornament or wrote a note or bought a small treat to add to each basket. The baskets were overflowing. And so was my heart—to see both God’s faithfulness in this wonderful team and the gratitude of these moms. And I thought of the investment being made which will bear fruit for years to come. “If only,” I thought. “If only the women who have worked so hard as leaders and administrators and childcare workers could see into the future to see the fruit of such faithfulness."

Gift baskets for childcare workers

Back to that picture on the Christmas card. It also made me think of my Mom, who for years prayed faithfully for this Beth and her family. I believe Mom was at one time Beth’s Titus 2 leader—I’m not sure. But she knew about her and her family and tried to encourage them in every way she could. I wished that Mom could see this picture and read Beth’s note. Maybe she does.

This week—December 19, to be exact—is the third anniversary of my mom’s death. But her prayers live on, as I mentioned in a long-ago blog (“Deathless Prayers”). The reading for December 19 in an old-favorite devotional Mom often read, Streams in the Desert, includes a poem by an unknown author which always reminds me of Mom, of Mom to Mom, and of God’s faithfulness when we are faithful to “call back” about His faithfulness and provision to those coming along the road behind us in mothering. I share it with you as an encouragement to all of you who ”call back” to other moms—whether through leading a small group at Mom to Mom, sending a note (or an email, a text, a tweet) of encouragement, caring for kids so moms can grow in Jesus. Or praying “deathless prayers” over the moms and families Jesus so loves.

Call Back

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back— It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track; And if, perhaps, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low. Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me He went with you into the storm; Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn; That when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill, He bore you up and held you where the lofty air was still.

O friend, call back and tell me for I cannot see your face; They say it glows with triumph, and your feet sprint in the race; But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim, And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry, And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky— If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back— It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

This Advent season, I hope you’ll keep “calling back” about the One whose birth we celebrate. He is faithful. He calls us to be faithful. There’s a picture ahead of you somewhere of the “kids you’re helping raise.”

Five Mommies, Seven Sisters, and S’Mores

S'mores! I’ve just returned from Mom to Mom Ministry Board meetings out in the Boston area.  What a great time we had working together, praying together, laughing together—even sharing a few tears from time to time, as we shared our hearts as well as our work.

But the dominant visual memory we will all have from our time together is this: S’Mores!  Yes, S’Mores—those wonderful, gooey, gloriously caloric treats many of us remember from Girl Scouts or Christian camps or family vacations.

Why S’Mores?  Well, because our chaplain, whom we affectionately call Pastor Kay, began our time together with a brief devotional in which she shared verses from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 in The Message about how much stronger we are as we work together: “A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”  Much less a 7-stranded one! Kay told us,

“We, board sisters, are much like s’mores.  Some of us tend to be like graham crackers: brittle at times, but ultimately sweet.  Others of us are more like marshmallows: soft with passion and heart-felt emotion.  Still others are more like dark chocolate: quiet, deep, yet so ‘just right’ at the moment needed.

But even though each board member offers individual treasures, when God put us together and added the ‘fire’ of the Holy Spirit, we became so much more than we would have ever been separately—we became s’mores.”

Kay’s devotional made me reflect back over the years since Mom to Mom began.  It’s always been a team effort.  From the three young moms who originally saw the need of such a ministry to the “Five Mommies” who first comprised the Mom to Mom Board to the “Seven Sisters” our board has grown to include, we’ve always shared the work.

And as we’ve shared the work, we’ve become, as Kay reminded us, so much more than any one of us could ever be by ourselves.   Even as we worked together and prayed together—and yes, played together (oh yes, we do know how to have a good time between all those meetings!) S’Mores became a sort of theme for our last three days together.

But the S’mores theme actually extends way beyond our little board.  I think it’s a picture of Mom to Mom groups throughout the country.  On the leadership level, we Titus 2 leaders are so much more as we join hands around our circles and work together and pray together and love and encourage moms together.  And our moms becomes so much more to their families as they share the joys and challenges of their work among their small groups.

Aren’t you glad God gave us each other?   Of course ultimately HE is the One who makes us so much more.  I’m reminded of Ephesians 4:16: “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  (NIV)

In case you’re wondering, yes, we did actually have S’Mores to eat—even though, for some of us working down to the wire before leaving for the airport, we had to take them “to go” in the car so it did get a little messy!

So today I’m thanking God for our Mom to Mom Ministry Board, for all of you doing Mom to Mom throughout the country—and for S’mores!

Parenting: A Marked or Unmarked Path?

I thought of all of you (all of the moms reading this blog) a couple of weekends ago when Woody and I started out on a morning of hiking.  We were at a state park in Door County in northern Wisconsin that we had visited a few years ago, and there was one particular trail which Woody remembered that he wanted to revisit.  It wound down some fairly steep cliffs (for us amateur hikers, that is) to become a lovely walk along the lake, with beautiful vistas over Lake Michigan.

At least that’s how we remembered it.  The problem was that we couldn’t find it!  We returned to the area where we thought the trailhead had begun, and there seemed to be absolutely no sign of this trail.  That was my impression, anyway.  Woody, on the other hand, bold explorer that he is, was quite sure he had located the start of the trail.  No, there was no sign there.  But there did seem to be a worn path leading down toward the lake.  And he was sure this must be the trail he remembered.

Now you need to know that this was in an area where all the trailheads are clearly marked.  We had parked in a visitor lot where there was a map of area trails.  And there were several other trail entrances that were clearly marked.  No sign of ours, however.  And both of us were confused by the map.  (An unusual event in Woody’s case.  He LOVES maps, and seems to have been born with a map in his brain. I, on the other hand, am perpetually confused by maps.  I much prefer written directions!)

As any of you who are married can guess, our day of happy hiking didn’t start out so well.   After considerable debate, we went with Woody’s initial plan.  We started out on the trail he was very sure was the one he remembered.  Despite the absence of any sign marking the beginning of a trailhead, we began to pick our way down a small bit of trail winding its way through overgrown roots along a rocky descent toward the lake.

As we proceeded, I couldn’t help but note (out-loud, you can be sure!) that not only had there been no sign at the beginning; there were also no little signs along the way—the small brown markings all the other trails in the area seemed to have indicating you were on the right path and headed toward your intended destination.

The path became increasingly indistinct—and simultaneously much steeper.  Finally I  couldn’t go any farther.  “Woody, I just can’t go on.  This is making me way too uncomfortable.  The path is becoming steeper and more overgrown, and I really don’t want to either get lost in these woods or go flying down this cliff directly into the lake.  I need some assurance that we’re on the right path.  I need signs.  I need a clearly marked trail.”

I think Woody was actually beginning to feel the same way, though he hadn’t so far mentioned it.  (He is Swedish, in case any of you aren’t aware of that.  This means a lot of things, but especially that he is very determined.  Some might say stubborn; but Woody does have a mostly endearing way of being determined, so I’ll stick with that.)  So yes, my Swedish husband admitted that we should probably turn around and retrace our steps.  We went back to the parking lot, looked at the map again (Woody did, anyway) and eventually drove to another visitor lot where we did indeed find the trail we had been looking for—signs and all.

So what does this have to do with all of you?  What does this have to do with parenting? As I was walking, I kept thinking of how hiking is like parenting.  It’s a long, hard, winding trail that requires our full attention.  Like the path we were on which was overgrown with roots and very rocky in spots, there are stages when all you can do is focus where you put your next foot.  It’s hard to even look up to what’s ahead, and sometimes nearly impossible to even enjoy the scenery around you because just making your way along the path takes all the energy and focus you’ve got.

But thank God it is not an unmarked path.  We have a guide book—God’s Word.  And we have clear signs along the way—both from the Bible and from other fellow travelers.  And we are not alone.  There are those walking alongside us as well as those farther down the trail that can call back and steer us in the right direction, cheer us along the way.

It’s really what Mom to Mom is all about.  We remind each other that we’re not on an unmarked path.  There is signage provided, direction given both from God’s Word and God’s people.  There are those who’ve gone before, both great men and women of Scripture and “Titus 2” moms, cheering us along the way.  They reach out when we need a hand.  They tell stories from further up the trail.  They provide company along the way.  They point us upward to the One who never ever leaves us alone, even for a minute, on this parenthood path.

How I hope and pray that all of you reading this either have Mom to Mom or something like it in your lives.  It helps you know you are on the right path, it helps clarify your intended destination, and it makes for much happier hiking!

Calling All Titus 2 Women!

A Titus 2 Woman mentors a younger woman Recently I have talked with a number of Mom to Mom leaders who are experiencing their annual summer challenge: How will God supply the new Titus 2 women we need to have by September in order to start (or re-start) Mom to Mom in the Fall?

This becomes an annual dilemma for Mom to Mom groups because, despite the amazingly high rate of return in Titus 2 leaders (most find it very hard to leave Mom to Mom once they have tasted the joys of mentoring moms; a frequent refrain from these women is “I couldn’t live without Mom to Mom myself!”), we are always looking for new leaders.  One reason for this is simply the changing seasons of life and shifts in responsibilities which necessarily pull some Titus 2 leaders away.  But the best reason for our annual need is that Mom to Mom groups tend to grow.  We’re always needing to form new groups.  And no one wants to put moms on a waiting list because we can’t find enough Titus 2 leaders.

This is, for me, the season when I begin to pray more intensely than ever for God to stir the hearts of potential Titus 2 women throughout the churches of our country to hear and recognize—and follow!—God’s call in this area.

So you can imagine my delight in coming across an article posted online by Susan Hunt entitled “Wanted: More Older Women Discipling Younger Women.”   While Hunt is coming from a slightly different perspective (she is focusing specifically on discipleship of believers and is addressing the broader need to disciple all women, while Mom to Mom focuses on moms and reaches out to include seekers), I was encouraged by her ringing call to churches to live up to the Titus 2 mandate.

For it is a mandate—not just a nice suggestion.  I well remember the three young moms who first came to me to ask if I would work with them in forming a ministry to moms.  “Don’t you think God meant what He said when He said in Titus 2:3-5 that older women are to teach and encourage younger women?” they asked.   Indeed!

The Titus 2 mandate is a generational responsibility.  As Hunt puts it: “Older [men and] women have the generational responsibility to share their gifts and graces with younger [men and] women.  They are to tell the stories of their victories as well as their failures and show how their stories are part of God’s grand story of redemption.”

This is a relational responsibility.  It is life-on-life ministry.  It is, in a sense, as we say at Mom to Mom and Hunt says as well, a mothering ministry.   The kind of ministry which Paul depicts in I Thessalonians 2:7-8, a favorite passage in Mom to Mom training which is also cited by Hunt:

“But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”   (NIV)

Like mothering, however, this Biblical imperative, this calling, is not only a responsibility.  It is a great privilege, an almost indescribable joy.  In fact, one of the best ways to “recruit” future Titus 2 leaders is to invite them to visit Mom to Mom.  Most often, once they have the opportunity to see the thirst these moms have for Titus 2 women in their lives, and the joy it is to be a part of God’s great plan in this way, they are “hooked”!

As it is now mid-summer and many Mom to Mom groups are not currently meeting, the second best way to introduce potential leaders to Mom to Mom is to give them an opportunity to talk with other Titus 2 leaders and hear for themselves what a joy mentoring moms can be.  They can do this one-on-one or by joining your leadership group for a mid-summer connection or pre-season planning session. Of course we all know that the very best thing about Mom to Mom is watching God at work.  Look for any way(s) we can find to give women a glimpse of the life-change that so often occurs in these moms.  Watching our powerful God at work in the lives of women and families—and getting to be a small part of His big plan.  Does it get any better?!

I know that as I write about the joyful Biblical mandate of Titus 2, I am in a sense “preaching to the choir” on this blog.  Many of you are already Mom to Mom leaders and know the joy of loving on moms.  Some of you are desperately searching for more leaders and saying, “Yea and Amen to what you’re writing—why can’t more women in my church (or even my church leadership) see the urgency of this calling?” I just want to encourage you.  Don’t give up!  What you are doing is worth it!  It is worth it because God tells us to do it.  It is worth it because following God’s plan truly meets the needs of moms.  It is worth it because, as the old song says, “there is joy in serving Jesus”!

You may be encouraged by reading Susan Hunt’s article.  You may even want to share it with your pastor or Women’s Ministry leader.  Or at least feel inspired by the reminder that older women coming alongside younger women was God’s plan all along.

We at Mom to Mom are praying with you and for you as you pray and plan toward September.    God will supply all your needs.  (Philippians 4:19)   In His time . . .