As I've been reading through previous posts and thinking about posts that are still swimming around in my head, I realize that there are several times that I've told you there would be a part two to a post or that more would be coming. Here's my first attempt to catch up! This post started in early October, and it's goes with this teaser.
I just got back from the MOPS convention in Grapevine, TX, and it was absolutely amazing! If you ever get the chance to go, don't think about it, just pack your little bags and go! This rousing endorsement comes from a mama who is never away from her kiddos overnight (okay, my big girl goes to Mawmaw's or Mimi's about once a year).
When it came to leaving, I worried. I fretted. To be honest with you, I went because a week or so before I had to give my answer, the little guy would not go to Daddy on several occasions. I don't know if Daddy got it, but I felt like the kiddos needed some one-on-one with him.
So on Thursday morning, four days after we got back into town from our "hurrication", I got out of the way. I packed my bags and got myself on that church bus by 9:30, and off we went.
Now, if you know me outside of blogland, you know that I am not the world's most outgoing person. In a group, a little shy, a little reserved (okay, sometimes more than a little)...that's me. Little did I know that this convention was going to speak directly to that part of me. That fear part of me. That paralyzing, I'm not good enough part of me (ahem...did I mention that today is "let it all hang out day"?).
Fear is an awful thing. Not a virtue. When I think of all the good gifts that God has given out, fear is nowhere on that list. Common sense, yes...as in, if I jump off of this bridge, I probably will not live to see another day. That kind of healthy fear...I would say that's a good thing!
But fear that keeps moms from talking to other moms, women from talking to other women, girls in grade school from talking to other girls in grade school, that kind of fear is an opportunity-stealer, a life-thief, really. It's the kind of fear that tells you that the other mom will think that you don't care about your child because you didn't breastfeed (or not for long enough) or in my case that you did breastfeed, but in their opinion, for way too long.
So, as I said, this convention was coming right for that part of me, and I didn't even have a clue. I thought I was just...getting out of the way.
The bus ride was really, um, cozy. For this shy girl. We were blessed with transportation on the school's little bus all the way up there. It was really a blessing not to have to drive, but it meant that we all had to sit very close together and, you know, make conversation. For several hours.
But again, a blessing. I was forced to think of things to say to these other mamas about things that had never come up at our tables at MOPS. And I had a chance to listen to who these other mamas were.
My seat mate, an amazing mom who has four children by birth and two adopted children (she's waiting to go get the third!) talked a lot about adoption--a subject that is newly interesting to the hubby and I. Several of us talked about the current political happenings.
Then we got to the hotel. The buzz of mommy adreneline all around--it was really a sight! Hundreds of mamas chatted in the lobby, in the coffee shop, in front of the fireplace, in the bar, up and down the halls, on the patio, everywhere that you could think of. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw a stray man here or there...
And then the convention started. Five thousand mamas. Five thousand missionaries to their own families, to their own MOPS groups, to other mamas in their communities. Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.
Throughout the weekend, we were inspired by other ordinary mamas whose lives and families had been changed through the ministry of MOPS. Mamas who then went on to be a part of the change in other mamas' lives. It was powerful. Each speaker was wonderfully polished yet very open in her presentation.
That first night, I heard what I already knew but really needed to be reminded of--God knew what He was doing when He put each of my babies in my arms. He knew my imperfections, and He still put them in my arms. I really needed to hear that. Because I love these babies more than I could have ever imagined. And sometimes I think that I'm not half the mama that lives next door (figuratively speaking!).
And then one of the speakers said, "I used to think that God gave me these children mainly so I could shape them to be more like Jesus. And then, I realized that He gave me these children so they could shape me to be more like Jesus." Yeah.
Now, I promise you, there really is more to come on this post! I'm gonna' get right to work on it. Check back tomorrow, and you'll see it here. Here. From my mouth, uh, fingers, to your eyes. Tomorrow. See you then!