Every year for the last few years - our youth ministry at church has put on a weekend conference for teenage girls called "String of Pearls". It's SUCH a great weekend for those girls. Last year our youth minister's wife and a few others decided they wanted to do a similar thing but for the moms in our church.
I'm so glad they did!
So Friday night and Sat morning we had a conference at church just for moms. This included moms of ALL ages - of babies to grandmothers. And I think it applied to all ages well. It was SO SO SO good! The theme was Courage and it was just about being encouraged as moms.
We had over 100 women come. I only took a couple of pictures but here are a few of my sweet friends!
I love these girls all so much!
In case you EVER think that writing this blog would give me a big head (TRUST ME - if you know me at all - you know that I'm mortified and humbled that anyone reads here)..........you can all be happy to know that my friends all LOVE to make fun of me and tease me and put me in my place. And I love that they like to make fun of me. It makes me happy. Kind of like this picture where I tried to get in it and was posing like a dork not knowing they were pointing at me to mock me. ha! (They knew I would put this picture on here).
If any of you are going to Dot Mom in 2 weeks - I'm coming with 11 of my close friends! You need to meet them! They are all WAY more fun and interesting than me. I'm just lucky they let me stay in their circle.
Anyway - we had a great speaker, Cari Trotter, who also spoke to the youth. My friend Maegan (our youth minister's wife) spoke and she was on FIRE just challenging us as mothers. We had two Christian counselors talk to us and gave us practical help. And my favorite thing were four different mothers of grown children (all amazing Godly grown children) either speak or do videos just talking about motherhood and things they did or things they wish they had done differently. It was SO encouraging to me. I cried so hard Saturday morning I had to put on my glasses that afternoon.
I've been in a place the last few months in mothering that is just really in the trenches. I'm in that deep deep stage of discipline. It's tough and frustrating and physically exhausting when you feel like you are at it day after day and not really seeing any progress or fruits. Thankfully I am seeing fruits with Harper and that gives me hope. It's a job I wouldn't trade for the world but it's not for the weak.
The overwhelming theme that all four "older" mothers shared were two things and they were the two things I desperately needed to hear. They all shared about how they were "tough" parents. They didn't try to be their children's friends and they were strict. They fought HARD to keep their kids in the battle. They didn't give up when their kids had bad relationships or made wrong decisions or were prodicals for a season. And yet all of them are SO close to their adult children now. And the MAJOR thing they all said was the biggest thing they did in parenting - it was to pray pray pray! I'm pretty sure these are the two things MY parents would share too.
Prayer is SO important. You can't pray enough for your kids. Pray for their health. Pray for their safety. Pray for the friends they have or will make. Pray they are surrounded by good influences. The friends your kids have can drastically alter the decisions they will make. Pray for their future spouses. Pray for their character. Pray daily. Pray with them and over them. Pray scripture over them.
Yesterday afternoon through today was the retreat for youth girls. I went last night for part of it and it was so good. Some of us who are a little older than teens but not moms of teens yet like to go and just be there. So thankful for my church.
I was thankful for Scott for hanging out with these two so I could be gone and I feel so renewed to be back at my "job" today with these cuties!
I hope you are challenged by these verses as moms as much as I am:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. Deuteronomy 11:18-21