This is my sassy, sneaky, bright-eyed, social butterfly of a daughter.
She loves everything pink. Butterflies and skirts and dresses make her world go round. She constantly prays and thanks God for her hair.
She’s also rough and tumble. She’s been known to bite her brother to make him leave her alone. Annabelle is a climber and a jumper. She used to do crazy physical stunts with her daddy until she got Nursemaid’s elbow and we had to put an end to it.
Everyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with Annabelle comments on how sweet she is. Which is true. But I warn everyone that she can be sneaky. Turn your back for two seconds and she will draw all over your walls. She used to strip naked in seconds flat and go streaking around the house. And dear Jesus in heaven, thank you so much that she has outgrown the playing with poop stage.
I made up a song about Annabelle and she makes me sing it to her every night before she goes to sleep. This child loves to be loved on. And she loves to pour out love on others. She adores baby dolls and babies. In fact, if you’re in the grocery store with her and she gets cranky, hand her a bag of chips and tell her it’s a baby. She’ll immediately cheer up, say, “Aww baby. So cute,” and sing the chips to sleep.
This child has been the source of so many hilarious stories and so many sweet moments. I am so thankful for our Annabelle Grace.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
Yes, I adore the food. More than I can explain, actually. But the idea of an entire day completely set apart to live in a posture of thankfulness for all God has given? It makes my heart sing.
Taking the time to stop and give thanks for the blessings, and even the hardships, in our lives brings us to a place of humbleness. It keeps things in perspective, reminding us of what is most important. Living in thankfulness is a way to stop consuming, stop desiring, stop coveting. To be content with what we are given.
Every night, each member of our family says three things we are thankful for. Sometimes they are big things – financial provision we were desperate for, answered prayers of deep and sincere friendships, body parts saved and reattached by skilled surgeons. Sometimes they are small – a moment of laughter, discovering an unopened box of dryer sheets stashed back on a shelf in the laundry room when we ran out and had a really small grocery budget, a favorite food for dinner. My daughter’s favorite thing to be thankful for is her hair.
But I think all of these things – significant and insignificant – become big, important things when we recognize them and say thank you.
I’ve been so very humbled and challenged by a question I heard at church this past Sunday – “If I woke up tomorrow with only the things I thanked God for today, what would I have?”
So, God, thank you.
Thank you for the solid roof over our heads. For the food in our bellies. For the dryer sheets. For peanut butter cookies and the dog who ate half the batter. For my husband and my babies. For my church family and my dear, precious friends. For my blood family and my opportunity to serve beautiful women through MOPS. For air conditioning and a working car. For the hardships that have refined me to look more like you. For the joys in my life that have reminded me of your goodness. For my salvation and my dishwasher and music and my daughter’s beautiful hair. For all of these things, I am thankful.
Dear MOPS mamas,
Today is the day. Today is our first meeting of the year. Today you will join us in this holy, set-apart, safe space and our lives will begin to be woven together.
Some of you will come in with joy and familiarity because you’ve been here before and you know the hope this year holds for you.
Some of you will be scared to death as you walk in this room – because meeting people is scary. And trying to make friends as a mom who worries that she’s lost her identity and her personality to the beautiful, energy sucking world of laying your life down to raise children is, quite honestly, terrifying. (Will they like me? Will I be able to string together a coherent sentence after my kid kept me up all night? What if I unknowingly have poop or spit up on my shirt? What if they ask me what my hobbies are and my mind completely goes blank other than “showering alone” and “drinking a hot cup of coffee that didn’t have to be reheated five times”?) You may be so focused on your anxiety that you can’t even bear to hope that the relationships you gain in this place will change your life. And that’s okay. We know you will be surprised by that grace.
We have prayed for you, prepared for you. We have been neck deep in spreadsheets and documents and lists and planning. We have figured out logistics that would make your head spin. We have decorated and brainstormed and poured over your names and information. We have loved you before we have met you.
Mamas, you matter. You are worth it. You sacrifice yourself so that your children can gain. So often what you do is thankless and invisible. You are in the hard years of never getting a quiet moment or a solitary trip to the bathroom and while you are never alone, these years can be so very lonely. We get you. We know where you are. We see you.
This is a place of rest. Of grace. Of restoration and hope. It’s a place to be safe and let others in and encourage each other.
So come and share your beautiful selves. Bring your funny stories, your hardships, your dark moments, your worries, your victories. Come and share yourselves with each other and leave as better mamas who are filled up and ready to pour out on your kids again. Come and be filled.
We love you.
The MOPS Steering Team