“What if mothering was invigorating, transformative, and the most fun work we will ever do?” (‘Have More Fun’, Mandy Arioto).
Are we connected – but disconnected? Are we too busy doing for God but too busy to be present with God? Our lives as women and mothers are very full, but are we LIVING TO THE FULL?
The Queensland MOPS Conference held on 23-24 August was a weekend in which MOPS leaders from throughout the state, were blessed by teaching, encouraged by relationship training, and inspired for the year ahead.
On Friday night, in a beautiFULLy adorned meeting room, we were introduced to the new theme of “TO THE FULL’. Sarah, Jo and Heather explored the opportunities of the three elements to Have more fun, Fear less and Find your people. God created us for fun but we forget how to have fun under the pressure and challenges of motherhood. So, how do we live life to the full? How do we enjoy, savour and delight in your life NOW – not just create a fuller life?
“The thief comes only to steal and kills and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) The ‘thief’ comes to steal the good and abundant life from us. This year at MOPS we have reignited the flames of our passions by living expectantly, surrendering daringly and breathing freely. But God wants us to live life fully – without fear of rejection, failing or not making the grade; to have the courage to be brave. (Isaiah 41:10)
A powerFULL illustration of this was the testimony shared by Jessica, Coordinator of Townsville MOPS. We heard of her conviction of God’s call on her to lead, and how the ‘thief’ threw significant personal hardship and challenges to dissuade her. Jessica shared how it was in these times that she pressed in closer to God, how her tribe surrounded and lifted her, and the reassurance from God to keep being brave and bold kept her from giving in.
The Hands of MOPS Award was another testimony of faithFULLness and perseverance. Heather Mortensen from Bundaberg, not only a mother of 10 and grandmother of 15, has also been committed to the mums of MOPS as a mentor for – well, forever! What an inspirational and dedicated woman! Congratulations Heather.
Our keynote speaker, Lexia Smallwood, MOPS Managing Director, explored the passages around our theme verse to give us an appreciation of how we, as leaders, are mandated to give mothers a glimpse of what an abundant life in Christ is. A new publication from MOPS Australia, “Share Jesus” (recommended for all teams), prompts us that we already “share the thread of motherhood”. Their (mums) salvation is in God’s hands, not ours. Ours is to show them grace, acceptance where they are at. John 11 is an image of what an abundant life looks like – one that defeats death and overflows into forever. “There is a powerful message in our theme verse. Life TO THE FULL is accessible and inclusive. The certain hope of resurrection is too good not to share. This is life truly TO THE FULL.” (L Smallwood)
Delegates then laughed, performed and mused our way through an inspiring relationship workshop by Helen Lang. Admittedly, the laughter was provided by the so capable Yining and Belinda who role played, to perfection, the impact that intentional conversation and questioning can have on helping us go deeper in relationship building. Helen reminded us that the Christian faith is based on relationships and that these take time, authenticity and trust to develop. The five principles we were led through can be foundational to our ability to facilitate meaningful conversations. What a beautiful alignment with our call to meet mums where they are at.
Just when we thought our full mum hearts couldn’t fit anymore, Kylie from Wynnum MOPS, bravely shared the journey of her family with their son Ezra. Born 14 weeks prematurely, their story is one of miracles and answered prayer, amid intense anguish, uncertainty and sheer upheaval. While they still have a long and unknown road ahead, Kylie testified to her unwavering hope in God who has never given up on her.
So, the challenge was assigned as we joined around the unlit campfire (fire restrictions!) – are we as leaders, called to this by God, willing to remember what it feels like enjoy ourselves, to have faith over fear and live life to the full?
Thank you to the team of dedicated women who work tirelessly to pull together our conference with the heart to inspire and encourage us – knowing that what we do DOES made a difference in transforming lives.
Mentor, HumeRidge MOPS