Monday, May 10, 2010

On Being a REAL mom

Mother's Day was a special one for me this year--crazy, but special. It wrapped up a wonderful, insane week. Friday we had our final REAL moms meeting of the year, then Saturday evening was a wrap-up leadership meeting of the same group (and dinner out--Yay for girls' nights!). Sunday morning we had Jonathan dedicated at church because we have three of four grandparents currently in the country--not a small accomplishment. We even got the bonus of extra grandparents--my sis-in-law who is expecting a baby imminently (actually overdue as I write!) has her parents in town and they stood in as part of our family, boosting our family representation :) . Then to add to the excitement of the week, I had the privilege of sharing with our church about what REAL moms has meant to me.

The dedication went off beautifully. One of our dear pastor friends, John, who dedicated Keren and did her funeral was the one doing the dedication. My friend Laura and her hubby were dedicating their youngest daughter, which made it even more sweet. I love Pastor John's dedications because he always prays over the child using the meaning of his or her name and how that will be significant in what God will do in the child's life. Of course, Kraig and I have been pretty obsessive in choosing our children's names based on the meaning, so this dedication was the icing on the cake. And John had us in tears (in a good way) as he prayed about Jon being "God's gracious gift" (the meaning of his name), and though we had so much grief, God had given us joy as well. Jon's middle name, Lewis, means "lionlike," or "mighty warrior," or as Pastor John put it, "victorious." He prayed that Jon-boy would be victorious in this life, living for Christ. Everything was so perfect--a powerful blessing. We don't take it lightly....

...And I had to follow it up. I was so excited to have the chance to share about our group and what it's meant to me. It's been a good year, but tough, as it's been my first year as coordinator, and our first year as our own church group and not under MOPS, Int. Many of my team are stepping down this spring as they move into new stages of life and ministry, so we're in the process, too, of seeking out new moms and women who can fill the roles to keep our group functioning. I know that God is in control of this, but it's been a continual process of handing it over to Him and trusting Him.

Everything went well with the testimony, though I managed to pull off some "real mom" proofs of life--I went up on stage way before I was supposed to, and wore extremely uncomfortable shoes in an attempt to look a little more polished than my everyday Mary-Jane Sketchers :) . Then, after the whole heady morning, my humility was kept firmly in place when out in the parking lot I backed our car right into the door of another family's car :( ..... Oh, the life of a "real mom" never ends.... But my prayer is still that God will use these words to help our group. Here's basically what I shared:

May 9, 2010

Hi, my name is Loren Warnemuende, and I am the Coordinator of REAL moms, formerly MOPS.

Six years ago I did not feel like a “real mom.” I was a mom, but our two-year-old daughter Keren, whom many of you knew and loved, had many special needs. My world was full of doctor specialists, therapies and strange equipment like g-tube buttons and sleep apnea machines. I couldn’t imagine what I had in common with “typical” moms.

But I knew I needed to connect—I was desperate for friendships with women who were at my stage in life, even if their roads were different. I knew our moms group here at Calvary was a strong group, so I decided to take the plunge, and I signed on…as a small group table leader :) . It was definitely not my forte! Not only that, but the majority of the women at my table all had older kids, so they weren’t even at my point in life!

Despite the vast differences between my life and those of the moms at my table, I had a wonderful year and built up relationships with these women, a number of which have continued long past their time in our group. My second year I took over the newsletter (much more my comfort zone) and over the next few years I got to know the women in our group better, and the relationships went deeper. As Kraig and I had more children, I learned more of the ropes of “normal” motherhood, but I realized, too, that the friendships could be built no matter who our kids were. We were all real moms.

When you’re a mom of little ones, it’s hard to make friends—there’s always the logistics of the constant interruptions, running after kids, naptimes, and getting out the door. That’s where a group like REAL moms is so helpful. It gives us a chance to chat with other moms and find those connections, so that we can push further and find the time other places to build the friendships. It’s helped me realize that the things I face are normal and gives me tools to work on challenges. When Keren died January a year ago, I had a group that surrounded me with love and encouragement.

Last spring, our former coordinator Gwen H. asked me to consider taking on the coordinator role. As I prayed about it and thought about it, I came to realize that the role of this mom’s group—that of lifting up and encouraging each other, providing help for the mom journey, reaching out to moms who may be floundering because they don’t know our foundation, Jesus—this role had become my passion. I wanted to help other moms who have been like me (feeling that they weren’t possibly “real moms”) to reach that comfort zone of knowing that they are loved by God and accepted for who they are as individuals.

Our group continues to have that goal today. When we left the umbrella of MOPS to become our own group at Calvary last year, we opened our doors even more to moms of different walks of life. Our focus will always be primarily on moms of young children—those expecting babies, adopting, etc., through lower elementary school. Now, though, we can encourage women to join our team who may have older children—even grown, but still have a heart for moms of young kids, and can be there to minister to younger moms and help raise them up into leadership.

Already we’re gearing up for our second year of REAL moms that will begin in September. There are so many opportunities for Calvary moms of all walks of like to get involved in this wonderful group, and we would love to welcome you. If you have questions, or would like to join our morning or evening group, please see me or Pam C., our evening coordinator, check out our table in the west narthex, or see our contact information in your bulletin.

Come join us and become a “real mom!”