I did not need MOPS when we lived in Hickman.  I only had one little boy, and our country church had a strong women’s group that already met every other Friday morning.  Fellowship for me when my husband was at work.  But when we moved to Lincoln, I was a bit lost.  So I started attending E-Free MOPs, very sporadically.  Back then, you could pay per meeting and that did not do me any favors.  I never seemed to have cash on hand and going across town seemed like too much effort.  Not to mention trying to get a 2 year old and a new baby ready – too hard!  Plus I never felt like a part of the group (somehow I didn’t grasp that that feeling could have been because I didn’t go consistently).

Since we lived on the northwest part of town now, I decided to attend Calvary MOPs the following fall.  My friend, Jess, who was going to be co-leading there, had invited me to lead a discussion group.  This forced me to make a commitment to attending.  Once I became really involved in MOPs, I was hooked.  I met a lot of great people at Calvary but decided to move back to First Free when we were pondering moving again.  I was blessed to be in Andrea’s group that fall, and MOPs became a huge priority to me!  With 3 kids age 4 and under, I desperately needed a place to belong.  I haven’t looked back and have continued to stay committed and continued to stay involved beyond the twice monthly meetings.

I strongly feel that every mom needs a place to connect – a place to find camaraderie and support.  There are quite a few great options out there.  Many churches have wonderful programs for women that already meet during day.  I have enjoyed being a part of our church’s group and have appreciated the insights of women from many ages and stages of life.  Our church is smaller, so our events are usually in the evenings.  I am not always able to sneak away from my family at night, so that is why MOPs  has been a great addition to my church events.  During the day with childcare – exactly what I have needed.

That being said, MOPs may not be for all moms during the time period that it is available to them.  I have had many friends leave a year or two before officially graduating – as their older preschoolers have started elementary school, demands on their time had become greater, necessitating a schedule change.  Or sometimes moms need to find a job once their children are becoming a bit older and more independent.  Or maybe moms need to choose between the MOPs more casual meetings and a serious Bible study – sometimes fitting in both is a challenge!  If this Thursday will be your last MOPs, please know that we wish you God’s blessings as you hopefully are able to serve Him in a new capacity.

What we don’t want to see – moms not coming back because they don’t feel connected to the group or because they don’t feel appreciated.  If you are feeling that way, PLEASE talk to your friendship group leader or to a MOPs mentor.  Maybe they know of a mom or two that live in your area that you can try to organize a few playdates with.  Or they can also brainstorm with you ways that you can feel more of a part of MOPs.  Involvement was the key thing for me.  Once I started attending extra meetings and events, I came back to see friends, not just because I wanted a break (although the brief time away from my kids on Thursday mornings has been beneficial for all of us! 🙂 )

This Thursday is the last day you can register in person for MOPS next year.   We do want to see as many of you back as possible next year – you are what makes First Free MOPs a special gathering place!  We cannot wait to see what God has in store for our group in the year to come!