Sunday, April 21, 2013

Refining and Redefining

Note:  I wrote a special post yesterday reflecting on the events in Boston.  You can find it by scrolling down on my blog page.

I recently read an insightful article.  As I was preparing to speak at a dinner for women in ministry, I wanted to find something that could be helpful to all the women who were attending, regardless of how they were using their gifts for the church.  That is when I found "Strategies for Fewer Regrets in Ministry," which is written by Pastor Kim Martinez.  Although there is a definite ministerial focus, the article has insightful pointers for women in general, including moms.

The first pointer she mentions is about managing our expectations.  This is an essential skill, for we do encounter curve balls.  Those curve balls can sometimes abound in family life.  The key is to not let them derail us and to trust in God's overarching plan.  She states, "Just like Joseph, your path might be convoluted or curvy, but God has the big picture, and He will take even the most frustrating parts of life and make something wonderful out of them."  What a great reminder of God's providential care in our lives.

She also emphasizes that it can be helpful to take a step back and try to discern God's will rather than acting on our own.  She states, "Recently, I listened to my 21-year old daughter deliver great wisdom on this topic. She told me: 'I'm learning to manage my expectations. Instead of setting my agenda and trying to accomplish it, I am waiting for God to direct my path. I've decided that as long as I get closer to Jesus every day, I've accomplished my goal.'"  I like this message because it gives me permission to not sweat the small stuff and encourages us to focus beyond ourselves.

Pastor Martinez reflects upon the fact that her career path hasn't been linear as a result of staying at home with her children.  She does not view her time at home as lost time.  Instead, she appreciates the value of it, for she grew in wisdom.  She states, "You don't have to walk the same path as your male counterparts in order to have a valued voice. You do need to let God develop you through all of life's detours and experiences."  So whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, God is growing you through the experience of motherhood and giving you a perspective that is unique and needed in the world.

What is vital in our respective journeys is that we have good support.  I especially liked her encouragement to form what she termed "mastermind" groups.  She describes them:  "The point of a mastermind group is to find five or six of the smartest people you know and make them a part of your life. Meet regularly, and let them give you input. Some of the most productive people I know have two or three mastermind groups — one for their spiritual walk, one for their ministry walk, and one for life in general. The term 'mastermind' is new, but the concept is old — at least for women. Women walking together can make a difference."

I want to provide an opportunity to refine our work and find support as mothers in this blog.  That appears to be the focus of mastermind groups too.  There indeed is power in numbers, especially in collective prayer and discernment.  It is intriguing to explore Pastor Martinez' suggestion creatively and with intentionality.  Some of you might be in a moms' group or small group that is functioning in this way.  If the group is too big, you loose intimacy and sometimes honest feedback.  But what a difference strong supporters by your side can make to propel you forward in your goals and Christ's plan for your life.

Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" (Matthew 18:20, NRSV).

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for not being done with us yet!  Grow us in our ability to esteem our important work as mothers and intentionally build good support structures.  When we are functioning healthfully and happily, with our eyes focused on you, we know that you can work great wonders through us.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

To read the full article referenced above, click on the following link:

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