How Far Am I Willing To Go? {www.boldlytanya.com}

I have spent a lot of time this week working on our MOPS steering retreat. So naturally, it is on the forefront of my mind.

This year, the idea of reaching EVERY mom just resonates with me. It isn’t a new idea. It has been part of the vision at least since I have been in this group. We are supposed to reach EVERY mother of a preschooler. We want EVERY mom to know that MOPS is for her. We want EVERY mom to feel welcome and accepted. We want EVERY mom to be challenged to grow as a woman and mother. We want EVERY mom drawn one step closer to Jesus. We want EVERY mom to know she is part of God’s master plan.

But do we?

Really?

Or do we just want to deal with moms like us?

If we removed our ability to speak or hand out propaganda with that vision spelled out, what would our actions say?

What efforts are we making to reach moms who aren’t like us?

With these questions churning in my brain, I began to think of my relationship with my biological mom. I wondered what my life would have been like if my mom had found MOPS. What if she had gone to a meeting and felt the love and support she was lacking? I wonder how the founding members would have embraced a young, single mother of twins. Would they wrap her in encouragement and understanding? Would they cry with her? Would they teach her how to care for us? Would they pray for her? Would they share Jesus?

Or would they talk about how every mom was welcome, and then ignore her because they couldn’t relate to her position in life? Would they gossip about her alcoholic mother or her cheating husband? Would they judge her because of her impending divorce? Would they talk down to her because of our dirty clothes and faces? Would they single her out as different and make her feel inadequate? Would they stand over her flaunting their togetherness and their supremacy until she got the message and never came back so that they could stop feeling uncomfortable by her poverty and divorce and crappy low wage job and rough ways?

What kind of group will I lead?

More importantly: How do I reach those moms – the ones like mine. (because doing the same old thing isn’t going to reach new moms)

Do I have the courage to hand a business card with our meeting dates on it to the woman with the screaming kids and case of beer at the grocery store? Or am I going to save them for the ladies in scarves with upscale strollers and lattes?

Will I hang a poster in the prison waiting room? Or trust that these same moms will see the sign at the library?

Will I put brochures in the bar? Or leave them in the foyers of community churches hoping that counts as ‘evangelism’?

Will I put fliers in the social security office or the planned pregnancy center or the courthouse? Or just hand them out at our posh preschool, or neighborhood coffee shop or the salon?

Will I seek out the least of these, or will I find the just like me’s?

How far am I willing to go to reach all mothers of preschoolers in our community? How will I share Jesus through my actions? Will be able to practice what I preach?

I can’t say that my life would have changed if my mom had attended MOPS. I can’t say that she would have attended if she had been reached. I like to think, though, that the bonds forged at a MOPS meeting would have, indeed, made her a better mom. (perhaps one who didn’t feel like she had to give us up.)

I believe, that through God’s grace we can reach that mom on the brink of exhaustion, battling circumstance and wondering if someone could do a better job raising her babies than her. I believe God can use us to provide what she needs to keep her family together. I believe that God will equip us to show her love and support and to encourage her so she can make it through the day.

Ultimately, I believe that, by God’s grace, she will come to meetings, feel love and acceptance, and be drawn closer to the One who really can help her. The One who genuinely loves her right where she is.

By His mercy, I want her to feel safe and comfortable enough to explore a relationship with Him, so He can speak directly to her heart, telling her how beautiful she is and how vital she is to His plan.

But that only happens if I am willing to go where she is and share Him.

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  

John 13:34-35 (NIV)