I could hardly hear my thoughts over the clattering of teacups at Bible study. It was time to share prayer requests, and it was my turn. For two years I dreamed of gathering moms from all over Sarajevo and surrounding areas with the purpose of mutual encouragement.
What prevented me from starting? Fear.
What if no one will help me and I'm overwhelmed? Or worse, what if I start it and no one comes?
However I decided it was time to take action. So I opened my calendar, picked a date and nervously announced when the first Mothers' Encouragement Group (MEG) would meet.
To my surprise, a new friend Julie approached me. "My passion is to encourage moms," she said excitedly. For several weeks we planned our first meeting. We agreed it would be quarterly, include brunch, with only lap babies present so we could enjoy conversation. Each gathering should have a theme, the first being ‘Vision in Motherhood.’
A month later the clatter of teacups chimed once more, along with the sweet aroma of conversation filling my apartment nestled in the Sarajevo valley. Julie and I were amazed as we watched the women walk in--older moms with grown children, younger moms just starting, and all in need of encouragement.
My dream had become reality.
But I was nervous. What if it flops and women hate it? What if I make a fool out of myself? After we filled our plates and sat together, I realized that this wasn't about my insecurities. It wasn't about me at all. This was about what God was doing.
A new mom who just returned to work shared, through tears, the difficulty of leaving her baby every morning. Other working moms nodded their support. She no longer felt alone. Another mom shared about feeling friendless in a world of strangers. She cried looking into the faces of 16 new like-minded friends. We spoke about perspective and what we want to see in our children once they leave home. As we brainstormed, we filled a document with beautiful words we wanted to be true of our families. How empowered we all felt at the end of those two hours to do what we are called to do!
Starting a Mothers' Encouragement Group isn't difficult and it makes a big impact when you have limited time. Here are tips to start your own:
1. Pray! Ask God if this something He wants to start in your city. Pray for moms around you.
2. Find another mom who has a similar passion. Agree to meet and plan a group.
3. Decide the details. Location? Date and time? Childcare arrangements?
4. Essential Elements:
Food (people asked to bring food)
Ice breaker: (As simple as introducing each other.)
Theme Ideas: Mommy Guilt, Meal Planning, Boundaries, finding beauty in every circumstance, discipline.
5. Fun extras:
We enjoyed this video and and this one too.
We asked local businesses to donate door prizes.
Starting a MEG is a great way to serve the moms in your community. It provides the opportunity for new and deepening relationships you would not experience otherwise and opens up doors for being able to share the Gospel and talk about how Jesus fits into every day life and talk about how Jesus gives hope, strength, perspective and and rest for our souls as moms.
Interested in starting MEG? I'd love to help. Click Here to send me an email.
Taylor has lived over half her life desiring to know God and make Him known. She is the wife to Josh Irby and the mother to four beautiful children. She lives in Bosnia working with college students and young moms. She loves creating art and music and teaching her children piano. You can read more on her blog: Irby Road.
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