The theme this year of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) was A Fierce Flourishing. We learned how to celebrate lavishly, embrace rest, and notice goodness. We had some incredible speakers that gave us insight on flourishing in our marriage, our career, as mothers, and as women in Christ. We were blessed to have over 50 mothers join us this year, as well as seven mentor moms. As we wrapped up MOPS for this year I began to think of how much God has used MOPS in my life to teach me and encourage me.
Motherhood is humbling. The joy of parenting is often embedded amidst challenges and frustrations. Nothing in my life has helped me to learn more about grace than motherhood. Although difficult, parenting has allowed me to experience the grace that comes from apologizing and receiving forgiveness from my family, accepting help from those who want to serve me, and feeling loved for who I am and not what I do. MOPS has helped remind me of how much I need God’s grace, which continues to bring me back to my need for Him. MOPS has given me time to reflect on myself and my relationships with others and God, as well as be encouraged and challenged by fellow moms who truly understand my day-to-day struggles. Colossians 3:12 says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
I know how valuable MOPS is to me, but recently I had the privilege of reading some ways MOPS has impacted other moms this year. One mom said “it gave me face-to-face pictures of normalizing my expectations.” Many moms said how encouraged they were by the time they had with other moms at MOPS and the friendships that were grown out of it. Below is a reflection from one MOPS mom this year:
In the past I have described MOPS as professional development for motherhood. It provides an opportunity for mothers of preschoolers to have over an hour of uninterrupted listening or conversation. At a time in my life when I was overwhelmed constantly and thinking only in the moment, MOPS respected the intellect I used to have, the creativity I vaguely remembered and the appreciation of beauty I had long forgotten. I was able to listen to speakers who nourished my mind, my soul, and my marriage. I was able to create beautiful items for my home or my children when there was a craft. I was able to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while it was still hot and a meal with no one asking for a bite. All of these things contributed to making me a better mother. MOPS is a very important ministry to mothers of preschoolers. It provides encouragement, nourishment (mentally, spiritually, and physically), and it provides friendship, camaraderie, and often a reason to get out of yoga pants (or NOT!). James Bryan Smith writes “When we slow down we allow ourselves to be found, found by life and found by God.” MOPS allows us to slow down and be found.
Thank you to NSCBC for partnering with the MOPS ministry, especially to those who served as mentor moms and those who volunteered to help with childcare. It has been a wonderful witness to have a place to invite other moms, both Christian and not. We are growing and would love your prayers!
Katie Alcott is the NSCBC representative on the MOPS Steering Committee. She is pictured here with her daughter, Alexandra.