Good things can happen when you talk to strangers. I found that out after I struck up a conversation with a lady at my neighborhood pool last June. The kids splashed in the water. I was probably in the water with them, too, wearing my maternity suit. Lori was there with all her kids, and her ever-sunny, attractive disposition. After chatting for a while, Lori invited me to join a semi-monthly mom’s group at her church. I liked this lady. And her group was similar to MOPS, and I loved MOPS. I missed MOPS. So, I said yes.
I knew when I walked through the doors of Lori’s church last fall that I had made the right choice to come. For starters, the smell of coffee permeated the building. There’s nothing that screams “welcome” more loudly than a freshly brewed pot of coffee. But even better, there were so many other moms who were there with smiles on their faces and open hearts—not perfect women but women who wanted the same thing I did. Transparency. Growth. Consolation. Empathy. Encouragement. Time to learn. Time to laugh a little. Space. A place where I could stop working and striving and just be. Just be me. Just be me, and be accepted and loved.
The year before, I had weekly homeschool group. But that didn’t cut it. That was different. Homeschool group serves its own important place, to keep you accountable in your work teaching your children. It’s not a place to relax and be loved on for two hours.
At this mom’s group, older women made us a hot brunch and came to speak to us, and encourage us, and help us recharge our batteries, so we could go home and be better moms.
Last year, I felt so depleted, I cannot adequately explain to you, even after all this time, space, and distance, how depleted I was. I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist but when I think something is important, I will give it 100%. Homeschooling took over my life. I wasn’t able to find balance. All the forces in my life collided together and took me to the brink of desperation.
It is hard for me to write when I am still trying to process my thoughts. In a way, writing helps to distill my thoughts. But, ultimately, I need to ruminate for a while, before I can put it down on paper. I’m still not sure I’m done processing everything that happened last year. But I am starting to get more clarity. In fact, a friend sent me an article (I will repost at some point) a few months ago and suddenly more lights went on. I think I am almost at a point of feeling recovered and like I can put my finger on exactly what happened, where I’m at, and where I want to go from here.
A gal can plan her way, but God directs her steps. I know the things that happen in my life all happen for a reason. All of life is about adjusting and adapting to new situations and new ideas, as we live and read and gain experience.
In any event, I am thankful that I meet Lori at the pool last summer. I am thankful for the very timely mom’s group I have participated in. I am thankful for the love that has flowed down into my life, because of the investment of others. I want to give back more, too, and help others, too.
Here are some cards Clara and Sophia made today for their teachers at this mom’s group. Clara’s teachers are two very sweet, teenage homeschooled girls. Sophia’s teachers are an older mom and a dad who is currently unemployed and enjoys working with kids. They loved their classes so much. They were as blessed as their mom! These volunteers didn’t have to give of their time. They could have been doing other things on those two Friday mornings a month. But they did give of themselves. And we are grateful.
Thank you God that you provide our daily food. And it’s not just literal food. Sometimes the “food” we need is smiling faces, offered friendship, and fresh coffee.