“To the Hilt”

by Gretchen Garrison, former First Free MOPS publicity

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot, (martyred missionary to Ecuador)

 A year ago, I was excited and a bit nervous about going to my very first MOPS convention.  Planning to be away from home without your kids is complicated and maybe even a bit scary.  But I clearly remember that first night when we were there, God whispering to my heart, “You are here because I wanted you to be.  You are my daughter first before anything else.”  Tears began to stream down my face (as they actually are now) as I knew that I was exactly where God wanted me to be.  Those days away were filled with laughter and refreshment and growth.

When I started MOPS last fall, I knew that my season with MOPS was about to end.  While I could still qualify for MOPS for two more years, I was feeling that my older ones were starting to need more time actually being home for schooling and that we needed to free up Thursday mornings.  Having to let go of something that has been such a part of my life was definitely a struggle at times.

But, two different times, I ran into Charlene, a former MOPS coordinator, whose kids are out of the preschool stage.  A woman who loves Jesus & her family and who I greatly admire!  Without even knowing it, she encouraged me to stay engaged throughout my last year in MOPS.  To stay committed. To not back away even though there would be some pain at the end at having to let go.

So, I did.  I went to every meeting, other than the leadership one where I had sick kids.  I went to mom’s night out.  I went to MOPS & POPS night with my husband.  And I filled everyone’s inboxes with more e-mail than they probably had time to read.  I stayed in the game, and I am so glad that I did!  My relationships with others grew stronger and deeper.  While I may not get to see my MOPS friends as often now, when I do, my contact with them is meaningful.  Because over time, the connections I made were strong enough to last.

While I definitely struggled in May with letting go, two weeks later I was pondering how on earth I ever had fit MOPS into my schedule.  Life continued to go on and fill up.  I had hoped to come to some summer MOPS playdates to continue seeing friends, but now I will be lucky to make it to one event!  God has begun to reveal new plans for me, and I am excited about the new direction!

That is not to say I won’t miss MOPS this fall.  Especially the date when you all are having your first meeting.  I will long to be with you and would certainly not be opposed to someone dropping off a serving of breakfast casserole on their way to church! J  But when you know you where God wants you to be, it’s all good.  And I have no regrets about the time that I spent fully engaged in MOPS.  My time spent there made me a better mom, a better friend and a better person.

So, that is my last bit of encouragement to you.  Whether this is your last year of MOPS or you have many yet to come, be all there.  Attend summer events.  Don’t miss a meeting.  Come early or stay late to help.  Become more involved.  While your days of being a preschool mom will come to end, the person that you have become will not.  Especially if MOPS has helped you to delve deeper into your relationship with God and with His Word and with His people.  Living out His will to the hilt is a great place to be!

 P.S.  I promised that I would let you all know if I started a blog.  I actually ended up starting two.  One about Nebraska (learning/traveling with kids).  I am hoping that one may even lead to more writing opportunities, so that one will be a fairly active blog!   https://odysseythroughnebraska.wordpress.com/

My other blog will be similar to the style of the MOPS blog.  I hope to write 1-2 entries per week.  https://sacredline.wordpress.com/

So if you have time to check one or both out, I would be honored!  Thanks for allowing me two years to share my heart with you through MOPS!  God bless!