Sisters and friends, many are wondering these days how to help children process the tragic suffering in Newtown– loss that’s hard enough for adults to comprehend. We are also continuing to pray for the Elliott family, and for Kirah’s swift and complete recovery. As you hug your children a little tighter this Christmas, remember that the greatest gift you can give your children is the Good News of our Messiah! (Even Joseph and Mary witnessed the horror of young boys – 2 years old and under – being slain throughout Bethlehem and the surrounding region. They no doubt wondered how to tell their little son someday and protect him from such evil. Matt. 2:16) For sure, the sweet hope of our ultimate Christmas Gift, Jesus, was born into a broken world in need of Him! If you’re debating whether to share God with your children, consider this recent article.
Mom to Mom Outreach (M2O), is a ministry designed to encourage and equip Mom’s of preschoolers to continue the good work of raising children to know they are loved – by them, and by God. This week we’re going to peek into the heart of our M2O Leader this year, and see what God has been doing in her life...Michelle Price!
Michelle, just so we can get to know a little about your background, how long have you been at GFC? It’s been right around 6 1/2 years (and yes, I had to get the calculator out for that one).
Are you married? Do you have children? What occupies the majority of your time in the week?
My husband Josh and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary last week. Man, I could really go for a Caribbean cruise right about now! We have two kids. Jackson is 6 and is a kindergartner this year and Ruthie is 3. I am a stay-at-home mom, but I also keep the books (Quickbooks, that is) for a campus ministry organization and I’m the administrative assistant to a local Christian entertainer.
When did you give your life to Jesus and make Him Lord of your life?
I can remember sitting on my mom’s lap in the blue rocking chair in our living room and praying to accept Christ when I was about 5 years old.
Did you know at that time what it meant to follow Him as His disciple daughter?
For sure, not. I understood what it meant to be a “believer”, but I’m still learning what it means to be His “disciple”.
As you’ve grown as a woman, how has your view of following Jesus as a woman changed, if at all?
I think my understanding of being a “Christ Follower” is constantly changing. Every day is an opportunity for growth and I definitely do NOT have it figured out! (Phil. 3:12-14) This last year God has brought women into my life in different seasons from my own. On one hand, I’ve been blessed as women who have been through my stage of life, have intentionally invested in me and my family. These women have simply followed Jesus beside me. On the other hand, I’ve had the opportunity to invest in the life of someone younger than myself – to follow Jesus beside her. (Titus 2:4-5)
God has also blessed me with growing friendships with women who are walking through the same stage of life as me. We get to take turns building each other up, following Christ together (sometimes one of us dragging the other). (1 Thess. 5:11) The thing I’m learning now, is that each of us has both something to learn AND something to give. And we can (and should) do both!
As we grow with Him, God stirs in us a desire to serve others. Have you ever been afraid to step out in service? If so, what held you back and how did you overcome? I worked with a para-church youth ministry called Ground Zero for about 8 years (that’s actually what brought us to Johnson City...and then to Myrtle Beach). When I interviewed for the position back in 2001 (while on our honeymoon), my husband and I caught the vision for the ministry immediately. As a teenager, my life had been significantly impacted by a similar ministry, so it was easy for me to get excited about the opportunity to be a part of something like GZ. BUT, as a non-profit organization, all of the staff raised their own support as missionaries to America’s teenagers. So I had the passion and an incredible opportunity to use that passion...with a catch...no promise of a paycheck. It was scary, but we were 100% sure that God had led us to GZ and we learned pretty quickly that He would provide. Our job wasn’t to “sell” the ministry and convince people to send a check every month. Our job was simply to share the vision of the ministry and an opportunity to partner with us to reach teenagers for Christ. There were definitely times when this seemed very uncertain and scary, but we can look back and see time and time again where God provided and confirmed for us to step out in faith.
How did you get involved with Mom-to-Mom Outreach (M2O)?
I got involved with M2O when Jackson was 2. We had just moved back to Johnson City from Myrtle Beach and had started attending GFC again. I believe it was M2O’s second year of ministry. I didn’t know any other young stay-at-home moms and I was lonely! M2O was exactly what I needed during that season. The meetings were so encouraging and I was able to develop some wonderful friendships with other moms in the same life stage. I joined the leadership team the following year as a small group leader and have been a part of the team ever since.
I hear all the time from mom’s about “Mommy guilt”...where women just feel like they cannot ever measure up to the image of “the perfect mom” they have set in their minds. Have you or do you ever struggle with that? What do you do with it? Oh no! I NEVER struggle with “Mommy guilt”! Life is just great all the time and I excel at everything! I mean, look at my Facebook page and my Pinterest boards. I am clearly the “model” mom! I’m kidding of course! This is something I struggle with every day. I’m sitting here answering these questions, feeling guilty about not playing with Ruthie (because that’s what “insert another mom’s name here” would be doing right now.) I feel guilty because sometimes we eat hot dogs or frozen pizza for dinner. Guilty because I can’t relax if my floors or kitchen counters are dirty. Guilty because the TV was on all morning. Guilty because I didn’t read my Bible today, or because I look forward to bedtime. Or because I didn’t exercise today. Or because I don’t let my kids play with finger paint. Or because I ate cookies for lunch instead of salad. Or because I wore yoga pants (read “pajamas”) to the grocery store and I never let Ruthie push the little carts because I’ll lose my mind and I completely blew my grocery budget AGAIN. Guilty because...the list goes on and on...
It is so easy to look at Facebook or Pinterest and imagine the “perfect” lives of our friends and think “Why am I such a disaster?” We see the craft or recipe they’ve pinned or that photo filled with smiling faces pop up in our news feed and we assume that it represents their entire life: homemade crackers and smiles 24/7 (by the way....a friend and I tried to make those homemade crackers and they were terrible!).
So what do I do with all this guilt? Usually I cry about it. Then, when I’m done crying, I pray that God would change me into the mom HE wants me to be. I’ve learned that I’m NOT going to measure up to “the perfect mom” I have set in my mind. She doesn’t exist.
For me personally, I’ve also learned that I really need to limit the time I spend on Pinterest and Facebook. What should have been fun, became an impossible, inaccurate measuring stick. God is teaching me (yes, that’s current) that HIS Word is the only measuring stick I need.
Why do you serve in leadership for M2O? You aren’t getting paid, you don’t get praised from the platform each week, you don’t get VIP parking or special discounts to anything…why do you do it?
You know, M2O has been such a huge blessing in my life! During that season when I desperately needed encouragement and relationship, God used M2O to provide those things. I feel very strongly about the mission of M2O and I KNOW that there are moms in our church who need it today, just like I needed it 4 years ago. By serving on the leadership team, I pray that God will use me to bring others the same encouragement, hope, support and friendship that I received. Plus, M2O continues to be a blessing in my own life. I may be serving on the leadership team, but I’m still in the same stage of life as the rest of the women in our group. We are ALL mommies of preschoolers and M2O continues to be a source of encouragement and insight, just now with an opportunity to intentionally invest in others as God raises up the next generation of leaders.
What do you all do at an M2O meeting?
We meet at the church on the 2nd Thursday morning of each month, as a large group. Our monthly “meetings” include a time of food and fellowship as well as our study (this year we are doing “The Life Ready Woman”) and discussion time. As table groups, we plan an activity for the upcoming month (like a play date or mom’s night out). These are activities that everyone is invited to attend. We also have a mom’s night out once a month, which we call “Etcetera” (“Etc...”). This is hosted by someone on the leadership team and is a time for food and fellowship as well as an opportunity to continue talking about becoming “Life Ready Women”.
If you could say something to a woman who has young children (or is expecting a child) and has an image in her mind of being “the perfect mom” but is experiencing something FAR from her mind’s image -- what would you say to her today? Being the “encourager” that I am...I would say: “It’s IMPOSSIBLE, so quit trying!” Besides, I’m certain that OUR image of the “perfect mom” is far from what GOD has in mind for us anyway. Philippians 4: 6-9 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Also, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) The "perfect mom" doesn't exist, so let’s stop beating ourselves up about it! Instead, you can come to my house and bake homemade bread and I’ll come sweep your floors!
Michelle, thank you for your friendship to me, and for opening your heart up a bit today for our women to savor and from it gain encouragement and strength. You are a woman of wisdom and we praise God for you!
Posted on Wed, December 19, 2012
by Heather Yates