A Note from Chris Adams: We are starting a new series directed at women’s ministry leaders who seek to minister to moms in all stages of life. Our desire is to help you rescue moms from the invasion of negativity we see in our culture today. Deb Douglas, minister to women at First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., has written this article to get us started in this series.
By Deb Douglas
It’s time for us as leaders of women’s ministry to come to the rescue of moms everywhere. A wave of depressing blogs on motherhood is silently drowning them. What began as a healthy shift to authenticity and honestly has slowly shifted to an “I can’t do this motherhood thing” type of atmosphere. The negativity is contagious and leaves moms feeling like if bloggers (who always look so very put together) can’t get it together, how can anyone else possibly survive motherhood? We’re not going to ignore these blogs because they do have value, but we’re going to take them for what they are: one person’s feelings at one moment in time rather than a guide for life.
While it’s great for moms to know that they are not the only ones who struggle with the challenges of motherhood, we must acknowledge that while it is hard, there is help available. Let’s focus on what we as leaders can do to help moms feel less isolated:
1. Be Positive.
The first step is accepting that being positive is not cheesy. Some of the motherhood blogs do a literary eye roll at anything with a positive attitude. Moms become fearful of being uncool for championing the things they love about being a mom. It’s as simple as adding a story on your women’s ministry blog or website that celebrates one mom’s story of success or talking about the sweet moments of motherhood at a women’s event.
2. Give Practical Help.
One of the moms in my church has a fabulous blog on meal preparation. We link to her site on our women’s ministry blog. That’s practical help. It’s as easy as sharing articles on cooperative childcare, education options, discipline, or clothing exchanges. One of the best attended events of our women’s ministry has been about extreme couponing as part of a series of events featuring practical helps for moms.
3. Provide Resources.
Isolation is a primary factor in the negativity of moms. Busy schedules have pushed us further away from one another and the encouragement received from others. An isolated mom looking for answers will turn to social media, blogs, and websites for solutions. A women’s ministry bold enough to encourage women can make a difference in how women see their overall lives.
Resources to include:
- Creative Mentoring: Organize short term, casual mentoring partnerships of older moms with younger moms.
- Short-Term Small Group Bible Studies with Childcare. Check out Beautiful Mess.
- Online Bible Studies: LifeWay Women just started an online study of Rebekah Lyon’s Freefall to Fly.
- Prayer Partners: Partner older prayer warriors (homebound women love this!) with younger moms. The younger mom gains courage knowing her personal prayer warrior is praying daily for her!
- Book Clubs: Choose encouraging books that will impact women in big ways. Come up with a fun name for the club like, “Brown Bags and Books.” Do it a couple of times a year, making it informal with no pressure.
4. Ease Expectations.
There is no perfect child. There is no perfect mom. And that’s OK. We all make mistakes, yet somehow God works through them to do some amazing things in the lives of our children. And isn’t that what motherhood is all about? What a joy it is to see God work in the lives of our children.
Here’s My Story
I’m a mom to two children who have miraculously made it to adulthood. (How did that happen so quickly?) I faced challenges of all sorts on top of completing two seminary degrees while my children were at home and having a husband who traveled for work. I made mistakes. But my children do not remember those mistakes. They remember the times we spent together, the silly little moments, the times we spent serving God together. When we expect perfect, we fail. A healthy expectation for moms is to show the love of Christ to her children. (See Matthew 22:37-39.) That’s it.
Women’s Ministry Leaders: Let’s help moms change the focus from the challenges of motherhood to how God works through those challenges. Let’s help them see that God works in spite of our mistakes and through our mistakes. Let’s encourage them with words that say, “You will survive this” and “God is at work in this.” Motherhood is a gift to enjoy and celebrate!
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts of Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline.