Saturday, September 27, 2008

MOPS: Adventures in Mothering

Do you remember your first trip to the carnival as a young child? The whirling, blinking rides; the fragrant funnel cake booth; the carnival workers shouting from the midway, “Step right up! Winner every game!” My own early impressions of the carnival are full of wonder and excitement, coupled with a bit of being overwhelmed at all the sights, sounds, smells and crowds that are a part of the whole.

Motherhood brings its own carnival-like experience to our lives, doesn't it? The constant barrage of little voices, dinners, diapers, playdates, baths, shopping, and more can leave us as dizzy as if we had ridden the ferris wheel all day. Yet the little victories—first steps, quiet snuggles, moments when the kids get caught doing good—bring as much excitement as if we had just won the giant teddy bear from the ring toss booth.

Our MOPS theme this year is “Adventures in Mothering.” In salute to all those carnival moments, we will bring you topics such as “Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster” and “Surviving the Relationship Tilt-a-Whirl.” Through this theme, we hope to convey the deeper adventure of experiencing Christ's love in our hearts.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul shared what is our unifying thought for this year: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:17,18)

For years I translated that thought to simply refer to the fact that we cannot get away from God's love. But then I took a moment to think about the significance of each word. The love of Christ is wide, encompassing the whole earth. Truly, I cannot get away from it. His love is long, lasting from the beginning of time and through our lifetime and beyond. Christ's love reaches deep enough to grab us from the pit of doubt, discouragement, and despair; and then reaches high enough to place our rescued selves in the very throne room of God. What an amazing prayer this turns out to be!

We know life with children is a never-ending adventure, and we at MOPS desire to be here with you as you navigate the carnival rides inherent in early childhood. It is our hope and prayer that through your participation this year in MOPS, you will have a chance to be rooted in love, and may have a fresh understanding of how wide and long and high and deep is Christ's love for you. Blessings to you as we journey through this year together.

This article was first published in the newsletter of my local MOPS chapter, targeted at mothers of preschoolers. The national theme for this year is "Adventures in Mothering." This entry was the first in the series that will continue throughout the school year.

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