In the gorgeous beach rainforest setting of Alexandra Headlands, among women of a shared vision, we were issued a challenge to “go over the Blue Line” by Marg Sanders, our keynote speaker.
Referring to a snorkeling experience in PNG some years ago, Marg recounted how she had been filled with an irrational panic when she had unwittingly snorkeled out, a little further than usual, to the point where the ocean floor drops away, and the water beneath her appeared to suddenly change colour. She reflected that her overwhelming fear was not founded on truth and that she was, in fact, in no more danger when she had passed the Blue Line than when she had been in the still-deep closer waters. Here we were pointed to our own emotions when we are faced with situations that push us out past our comfort zone. Marg suggested that we fear these times mostly out of ignorance and instead we need to prepare ourselves to know how to recognise and handle dangerous or challenging situations. So, under the official theme of “Plunge – Love as if your life depended on it”, our unofficial catch phrase was launched… “Are you prepared to go over the Blue Line?”
Over the weekend we were presented with a number of Blue Lines. One of the first being the issuing of a Secret Sister… someone who we were to perform random acts of kindness on, throughout the weekend. From then on the weekend was punctuated with quiet sighs and loud squeals of delight as notes of encouragement were discovered, presents were delivered with a “someone asked me to give this to you”, and treats mysteriously appeared.
While some Blue Lines were for the weekend, others were for the coming year. Jillian Ross asked us to brainstorm ways that we could love our MOPS mums, drawing us back to the core reasons for needing to love these women deeply… things like to allow genuine friendships to grow; as an example to our children; because Jesus commands us to do so; and because some mums have very little other supports around them. We were reminded that “the purpose of MOPS is to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realise her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Of course, a whole lot more brainstorming took place over the weekend. Suffice to say that I have never before contemplated so much plunging!
Another Blue Line came in the form of a Beach Party. With costumes (congrats to Sunnybank and Rockhampton for their inspired outfits), team sports, a mechanical surfboard and sand castle building, there were many opportunities for us to practice being over a few Blue Lines… and find that it wasn’t a bad place to be, unless you happen to come off a mechanical surfboard at the wrong angle! (You can see more photos of the beach party and more on the MOPS Australia Facebook Page courtesy of Kylie Walls.)
Many thanks must go to our extremely gifted first-time convenor, Jude Gardner. Her ideas and attention to detail, along with the decor furnished by the “locals” Lifepointe (formerly Maroochy Baptist) group got us fully immersed into our theme for next year! It was wonderful to have so many relaxed opportunities to interact with ladies from different groups, outside of the teaching sessions. Evening pampering sessions for “Mummas in pyjamas” were greatly appreciated, courtesy of Karen Askey-Doran (out-going NT Regional Coordinator) and her team of pamperers.
For me, some of the most powerful moments came with the stories and testimonies of God’s unfailing love and grace in the lives of some of the Mums who were at conference. To be reminded that God holds us through our stupid mistakes and their lasting consequences, and through the worst of what life throws at us and our families. His love reaches into our darkest moments and finds us when we are trapped in holes of our own digging. This Love is why we have MOPS and it is what will allow us to Plunge into deeper friendships; family relationships; and relationship with God. With complete confidence in His love and grace, we will LOVE AS IF OUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!
Publicity, Toowoomba MOPS, QLD