The Sioux Falls tornado took out our fence. All sides were destroyed.
“We have to get this fixed,” I told my husband. “The dog.”
He responded with confidence, “I don’t think we have to worry about her. She’s stayed in this space her whole life. She’s not going to explore now.”
But the next day Zoey proved him wrong, trapsing her tiny little self right over to undiscovered territory in the boulevard.
I took a picture to send Charlie’s way just to be a smart aleck, like any good Proverbs 31 wife would, and then I watched her.
Because I was intrigued.
She’d always lived happily within a boundary but with walls down there was new opportunity to be examine grass and leaves and cement that she wasn’t about to pass up.
I often live my life in safety. I do what I know I’m good at. I prayerfully dream with purpose but admittedly make calculated decisions.
I like the fence and, as I watched an exploratory Zoey, I knew Charlie’s comment was striking me.
When the barriers blow over and the gates open wide will you try something new, Melissa, or will you keep to what you’ve always done?
Motherhood is hard. It’s busy and taxing and we question if we are getting it right. Meanwhile, we see everyone’s highlight reel in public and on social media and the lonely “not enough” feeling creeps up, uninvited and crushing, in our minds.
One day in my work I was visiting a mom friend living some tough stuff. Sharing real life and nurturing relationship over a good cup of coffee, we shared stories and I asked her if I could pray. Then she looked up at me. “I’d like to use this time to grow my faith.”
I’m giving you space to explore something new.
The Holy Spirit stirred in me.
My inkling was to create new community for moms to cheer each other. A book study done differently than any way I’d ever done one before was on my heart. One that any mom could do regardless of her work schedule, volunteer commitments or timing she needed to be her child’s Uber.
But I didn’t feel confident in having all the answers so I gave God my safe “prayerful considerations” and remained in territory I knew well.
Then a mom messaged me. “It seems like you have it all together. How do you do it all?”
And I replied in truth, “I don’t.”
There is community in this. We moms belong together in that we all feel imperfect. Our common thread is that we are trying our best each day to meet life’s demands, honor our commitments, and love our children well but rarely do we lay our head on the pillow at night and think, “Well, I got today perfect.”
Lucky for us, we are loved by a perfect God.
I’ve cleared the way. Take the steps. Make it happen.
Our church is beginning a Belong series. In true form, I began planning like a boss. An Inside Out Movie and Pizza Shuffle to create meaningful parent/child discussion about feelings in a fun way. An original Skittles Chat Take Out Church to generate conversations around belonging in homes. Kindness Rocks in the hallway for people to share with loved ones and friends in need of prayer. A Make and Take Snack Plate Cross+Gen to gift to another in this season of gratitude.
Congratulations. You nailed your strengths. And what of all the siloed moms? Go there, too.
So, I’m saying “yes.”
OverBOOKed Moms will take place through a private Facebook group (confession: I spent a nerdish amount of hours researching best ways to do an online study together) for mothers with a birth to twelfth grade child. Our read will be Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequst. I’m praying the format allows mothers to grow closer to God, engage in conversation at any time of the day or night that works for their family schedule, and that in hearing understanding we might be more comfortable in our own skin. For it is only when we are filled that we can give our best to our loved ones around us.
I sent an email to my families at church and the group requests instantly came. Responses brought tears to my eyes and I once again found myself humbled and saying to the Lord, “You were right.”
I invited our mothers to let their friends outside of our congregation know about this community, because they belong, too. And that is happening. So I invite you, moms of birth through twelfth grade children, as well.
It’s new territory for me, and there’ll be a little learning as we go, but I can’t wait to see how God meets us here and look forward to joy in cheerleading each other on.