Lamb was 6 months old when I went to my first MOPS meeting. (If you've known me any length of time, that is not the first time you've heard that sentence.) My mom had been encouraging me to find a MOPS group for months, but I didn't even really know what that was, let alone how to find it. Then one morning in church, a new friend said in passing, "I have to get ready for my MOPS meeting on Tuesday." It turned out that a group met right here in my tiny little town, and she was the leader.
I walked into the meeting 2 days later... and instantly fell in love. Within a few weeks, I had volunteered to join the Steering Team. In the years that followed, I have been immersed in moms' ministry, both MOPS and otherwise. I have done publicity, I have led MOPS groups, I have led a discussion group of young moms in a Bible study, I have even started a new moms' group at my church (though not an actual MOPS group). For 8 years, mom ministry has been my ministry.
During my second year of leading the moms' group that I helped to start at my church, I began to notice something... the moms there were really young. I was starting to worry about education and guiding friendships and finding appropriate music/tv/role models for my elementary-aged kids, and the moms around me were talking about sleeping through the night, potty training, and the terrible 2's. One sweet mama told me that I was a good role model.
And that's when it hit me: I'm no longer a young mom.
Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not complaining about my age and I'm not looking for reassurance. And yes, I still have Roo who is not sleeping through the night and not potty trained and right in the throes of temper tantrums and stubbornness. But it's different. I've been down that road a few times and am comfortable with those phases--and honestly, we just march to our own drummer with him, so it can be hard for me to relate to other moms with little ones right now. No, I'm not whining and complaining. I'm just explaining to you that I needed to see that my phase in life was changing, is changing.
So last year I made the very tough decision to step down as the leader of the moms' group, leaving it in the amazing hands of my dear friend who had been my co-leader for the two years since we had founded the group. I took on the role of teacher, leading the discussion about once a month. I was sad, but so excited and had many big plans!
But something was just different. My plans didn't go as I had... well... planned. My love for the moms never changed, but my heart knew that I was not where I should be.
It was time to walk away.
Last Tuesday was my very last meeting. I walked away from the ministry that has been my lifeline for the past 8 years. It has left me feeling a little rudderless. But it's the right decision.
And yet, I'll be right back in there next year, speaking at MOPS groups, writing for moms, ministering to moms. Loving moms, as I always have. But not from within. I'll be coming in from a new angle. A good angle. A mentoring angle. But still... a different angle.
I'm not much for change.
It's been hard. (Did I just say that I have been praying for hard? What kind of a crazy person am I?) But it is right. My friendships are going to look different. But the ones that remain will grow. My ministry will look different. But it is going to be richer, because I will be embracing who and where I am, not trying to hold onto something I'm not.
Do you know the scariest part? This new territory is, um, new. It's unknown. I know moms' groups. I know what they look like, what it feels like to walk in the room, how the conversations will go, even what kinds of food is likely to be served. But this writing and speaking thing, it's still pretty new. And I don't know where it's headed. Will it stay pretty local, or will it grow? Will I ever write the books I've been outlining? Will I get articles published? Find more blogs where I can contribute? Will I stay right here at the zoo?
I don't know the answers to these questions. It reminds me of Roo's first week on earth, sitting in the hospital, and day after day hearing something new that wasn't going as it should in his tiny little body. And I prayed, "God, I don't mind having faith, as long as I know it's going to work out OK."
(In case you're wondering, that's not faith at all.)
I don't know how this is all going to work out. I don't know where it's all headed. I only know one step at a time. And as hard as it was, the first step I needed to take was to walk away.
OK, Lord, I'm ready for step 2!