Before becoming a mom, I was focused on my career as a Clinical Therapist. I loved what I did and I loved each child and family God entrusted to me for treatment. They, outside of my husband, became my life. You see, my husband and I had been married for eight years and the idea of becoming parents was seeming like a dream that we would not actually realize. I think that my husband had made peace with that but I know I was not there. Becoming a mother was a deep desire and I was still praying that it was in God’s design for my life. When we learned, about four months after our eighth wedding anniversary, that we were pregnant, I just couldn’t believe it. I took 4 tests just to confirm it! Finally, I was going to have all I desired, a great family and a blossoming career! But God had another plan for my life.
My son was born at 23 weeks, a mere 520 grams and 11 inches. Life as we knew it, or even expected it to be, was over. It became clear to my husband and I that I would not be able to return to work as we had planned. I needed to be available for our little miracle’s countless doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. In a blink of an eye I went from a thriving career to meeting after meeting with doctors, nurses and therapists. My new reality was consisting of baby talk, children’s songs, PBS, dirty diapers, crying in the middle of the night (sometimes mine), toys everywhere and no time for me. Most of my friends had children early so I didn’t have many options for respite. A friend recommended MOPs a couple of years ago, she had been a part of her local MOPs in North Carolina, but I didn’t think I had the energy to meet new people. However, last Spring, while watching my son play on the playground at his preschool, I was invited to a MOPs Mommy Brunch. In the months prior, I had asked God for Godly connections with other women/mothers and an avenue to learn of His Word.
I attended the Brunch and felt so welcomed. I watched as women, of diverse backgrounds, cared for each other’s children and encouraged each other but I still wasn’t sure about joining yet. I did some research on online of the organization and decided to attend the next meeting. It was important for me to be connected with authentic women and not those putting on a “face” for company. The following week I attended the group, it was a more intimate gathering but I felt a sincere friendship and Godly love amongst the ladies. I joined but I was still cautious, sitting in each weekly meeting quiet and observing.
I was preparing for a surgery a month later and decided to request prayer for the procedure and recovery process. I wasn’t expecting much more than prayer but these ladies loved on me like they had known me for years! I received calls and texts, offers to help or to watch my little guy and meals for my family. They demonstrated their love for me and God, in a tangible way and I will forever be thankful for that.
I don’t feel alone anymore as a mother because I have my MOPs family–women from various cultural and spiritual backgrounds, who love God and love His people.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25, NKJV)
–Quiana M. Hardy