She was pretty sure she knew it all. She’d read all the books. (Months of bed rest gave her the opportunity to do plenty of reading- beyond the learning she’d been doing in college.) Besides- she’d spent the past few years teaching preschool and was convinced that her ability to have children obey her, better than their parents, was a mark of her preparedness.

Only, not so much.

The truth is, at 21 she was about as knowledgable as any other 21 year old- way more convinced than experienced. Way more falsely confident than competent.

Pregnancy should have been a clue that everything about mothering does NOT go according to the books. She didn’t take that hint. She thought the struggles with threatened miscarriage and emotions etc were just an anomaly…. that once the baby arrived everything would fall into line. Not so much. Babies- apparently- don’t read books, and hence-don’t follow their recommendations. Who knew?

A  few months into her new role as mommy… she realized that no matter how many books she read….she was in over her head. Physically, emotionally and socially. She loved her baby. Loved her husband- but was tortured by the fear of wrecking both her child and marriage. No matter how hard she tried to be perfect- she just couldn’t. And even in those perfect moments she occasionally managed to create-…. something was still broken. Her. Like most of us- she had a list of issues longer than santa’s naughty and nice lists’ combined. Parent’s divorce, struggle with substance abuse, depression, insecurity- she was a walking DSMV of issues.

One day- while crying in lonely desperation, she heard a radio interview with Elisa Morgan- on Focus on the Family. It was about this group called: MOPS. Mothers of Preschoolers.  The interviewee didn’t give her a list of how to’s to be a better mother…. (She’d already read all of those and had failed at maintaining most of them.) Instead, she told stories about what mothering is really like. She told the truth about how desperately we need each other. That no one should mother alone. We aren’t supposed to be able to do it all by ourselves. We need each other.

And the know it all, learned something new. She didn’t have to do it perfect- ad she wasn’t designed to do it alone.

Learning this new information- the know it all went to her pastor and (of course) asked about starting a MOPS group at her local church. “We have someone working on that- you should meet her.” And she did- some might say she accidentally sat behind the beautiful brunette holding the giant binder on her lap while they waited to  “practice’ for their infant’s parts in the Christmas patent at church. But, I think it was a divine appointment. After an introduction – the know it all found out that this was the mom starting the MOPS group… and that what they were really praying for was a MOPPET Coordinator…. someone to help organize children’s activities and volunteers….

That was the day this know it all- became involved in MOPS. Yes, I was THAT 21 year old. Newly married and convinced I was reedy to be a mommy- until- I was one. Thankfully-I’ve been with MOPS International ever since. God has used MOPS to grow me from that desperate know it all- into a passionate follower and leader. Almost 24 years later- I now serve on the MOPS International Board of Directors. I write and speak to encourage other mothers. I know I don’t know it all. And I know- that’s okay. I’m (still) passionate about MOPS because while the world has changed- the core needs of Mom’s hasn’t. We still try to be perfect. We still fear we will wreck our kids- and we think we should know and do it all. And somewhere in our hearts, we also know that we can’t.  Not by ourselves.

We aren’t supposed to.

We’re better when we mother together.

Today is December 9. It’s pretty close to my 24th anniversary of involvement with MOPS International. It’s also the day before Colorado Gives- a great program that matches donations to non-profits. The best part- you don’t need to live in Colorado to give- you only need to want to help young mothers all around the world- to connect to each other and grow in faith, experience, knowledge and confidence.  Would you consider donating what you can to reach the next generation of Moms? Although as my readers know- it’s been a tough year here-I’m matching donations up to $500.00 because MOPS Matters.  And because God used MOPS to make a difference in my life.

Dear lord- thank you for the influence and opportunities you’ve given me through MOPS- I pray for your continued guidance and provision as MOPS meets the needs the coming generations of mothers- in Jesus name- amen!

mops2 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.