Wednesday, March 30, 2016

three things I've learned...



For the past three years, I co-led the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program at our church.  That time was an unexpected gift...most likely one of the most growing and self-revealing seasons of my life.  And to think that I almost said no when I was approached for the role!  How I would have missed out on some amazing times, friends, and discovering impact that I didn't even know I had in me.  

My life has definitely not had a linear trajectory.  I've not followed a traditional career path or had one singular thing that I've pursued.  At times that makes me sad, because I feel like I'm constantly pouring myself in and then saying goodbye.  And then I wonder, "What was it all for?  Did I make an impact there?  Will anyone remember me?  Did I leave any sort of legacy?"  But if I REALLY look back, I see that, as God has moved me to new things as seasons in my own life change, one constant has remained.  His story for me has always been about loving and encouraging women - college women, women in my church, women in my dance company, women in motherhood, women at MOPS.  I had to search for that thread through it all, but it's so very obvious now.

As I step into a new season, three things I learned during my time leading MOPS have been impressed upon my heart to share with you. 


1) When you feel called, but ill-equipped, say yes anyways. 


I definitely did not see coordinating MOPS in my future when I stumbled into this ministry (bleary eyed and feeling defeated in motherhood), but then somehow I was unexpectedly asked to step into this role.  At first I thought, "I can't do this.  There's no way.  They must have the wrong person."   But as I processed through my decision with a good friend of mine, she said to me, "Amy, you've always had a heart for women.  These are just women in your season."  That was a lightbulb moment for me!  Then I couldn't shake the feeling that God was calling me to this, that He believed I could do this even when I didn't believe I could.  I still had doubts and struggled with feeling like an imposter.  I never felt ready or courageous or sure, but I said yes anyways.   

And this amazing thing happened.  The more challenged and ill-equipped I felt when I said yes, the more the Lord showed me that He had things to do and say through me.  I never knew that I had words to share with other women that were worth anything to them.  I never knew that my seemingly meaningless story would resonate so deeply with some people.  I never knew that I could write words that anyone would want to read or speak words that anyone would want to hear.  

He showed me so much about myself through this whole journey...good things...and some not so good things to work on. :)  But most of the time I was completely and totally out of my comfort zone just trying my best, and because I showed up, He showed up too.  My time with MOPS was a time of intense growth, but also a time of intense support.  I loved every minute of it, and I would have no idea of God's next step for me if I hadn't said yes to this one.  

2) Always serve a greater purpose. It'll inspire you beyond your own capacity. 


My personal mantra while coordinating MOPS was that every woman feels cared for and connected.  I've said it at least a thousand times.  It's not just a slogan to me, it's a phrase that motivates me to love more, be more, and do more.  It gets me out of myself, my weariness, and my desire to sit on the couch and do nothing (which is also an ok thing to do when you are bone tired with little ones under 5!).  But when things need to get done, I needed something more.  The obvious, "Well, God would want me to ________," didn't inspire me enough.  I needed to not only know what God desired of me, but also how exactly my impact looked on an individual woman...how my time and energies would influence her for the better.  

So, when you need to do the task at hand and it seems there is no more margin in your life to do it, look beyond the task to the greater purpose.  Maybe it's seven layers out, but its there.  Search for meaning behind that fifty-seventh email, planning that event, or organizing that meeting, and squint down that long and windy path to where that meets a woman in need.  It's worth it.  

A writer I love and admire penned the phrase, "More love, less hustle."   When all the tasks to be done overwhelm, and I just feel all hustle, I think of my greater purpose in it all, and somehow the hustle becomes more love.  

3) Never underestimate the power of speaking encouragement and belief into a woman's life. Your singular impact can be huge!! 


I've long had a history of not believing in myself and struggling with self-confidence.  Maybe it keeps me a little more humble in a leadership position, but mostly it's just downright destructive.  When I was asked to coordinate MOPS, one person spoke belief into my life.  She told me that the Lord kept putting me on her heart to co-coordinate this ministry with her, even though she didn't know me at all.  And then throughout the years we served together, she spoke words of encouragement to me like I had never known.  I can tend to err on the side of comparison, of wanting to be better than the next person, but this woman showed me what it is like to be striving for the same things and to care more for reaching across and lifting me up, than getting there without me.  When I spoke at MOPS the first time, I clearly remember her smile as I sought her face in the crowd.  She was like a proud mom, who afterwards didn't hesitate to lavish me with the words that essentially said, "I believe in you."  Time and time again, she has encouraged me and lifted me up by going out of her way to speak belief in me.   ONE person spurred my confidence to coordinate MOPS, to love other women more deeply, to pursue the things I love but didn't believe I could do.  ONE. PERSON.  

Can you imagine if we each did that for one other woman?  What kind of positive ripple effect could we create?  How many lies from the enemy could we stifle?  How much joy could we share?



I don't know what God is doing in your life, but I do know that He will use you mightily if you let Him.  Be open to His authorship on your life...let His pen write the words a step before you walk them.   And know that if you trust and follow Him, your days and your impact will not be in vain.  





5 comments:

  1. This is something we all should look at in every aspect of our lives and our relationship with God.

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  2. Thank you for the reminder about speaking love and truth over other women. You spoke truth into my life many times and it had a powerful impact!

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    1. I love that, Emma. Loved our time together. I know that you are speaking love and truth over others as well!

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  3. I finally sat down to read this. I love you Amy!! This was just what I needed to see this morning. The sermon yesterday was all about how its when we pour ourselves out that the Holy Spirit can fill us which is essentially what you wrote in point #1. You should listen to the sermon. I loved it and it made me think of you. ๐Ÿ˜˜

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    1. I love you, Kelsie!! You know you are totally my person in point number three. I can't thank you enough for your belief in me and your encouragement. Seriously. I will have to listen to that sermon! Thanks for the suggestion.

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