Why We’re Better Together

Closing Keynote at Better Together Conferee

Closing Keynote at Better Together Conference

I’m back! I know that you have enjoyed our guest bloggers while I was on the road speaking. Stephanie Shott started out our guest month with telling us about her new book The Making of a Mom. Lillian Penner inspired all Grandparents to pray for their grandchildren on National Grandparents Day in Calling All Grandparents. Debbie Alsdorf’s Challenge in “90 Days to a Physical Renewal” broke all records on my website. Many of you told me how Cindi McManimen’s post on “When God’s Gift Is No” was just what you needed to hear. A big Thank You to these godly women who shared their experiences and God’s faithfulness with you.

The M.O.M. Initiative Better Together Conference

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of my trip to Florida to speak at The M.O.M. Initiative Better Together Conference. If you’ve been following me, you know that I am on the Mentor Mom team for this great ministry that focuses on moms mentoring moms, one mom at a time. Our first conference was July 31-August 2 in Jacksonville, Florida. I had the honor of presenting four workshops and giving the closing keynote talk.

Twenty other author/speakers came with one purpose—to equip, encourage, and engage other moms in their walk as a mom and in their relationship with Jesus. The speakers donated their time and covered their own travel costs—which gives you a window into the kind of serving ministry this is and how passionately The M.O.M. Initiative team feel about the missional ministry of mentoring moms.

Women Are Lonely

The theme of the conference was Better Together, and many of us used Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 in our messages because it says so succinctly God’s plan for all of us while here on earth—whatever our role—we’re not to be Lone Ranger Christians. I love the Message version of this Scripture passage:

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

Women are lonely today. The common reason women say they join the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry is because they are lonely and they want to meet another Christian woman. They would rather be matched in a mentoring relationship with a Christian stranger then continue trying to make it on their own.

There are lonely women everywhere—even in the church.Many women who shared their story in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? said they felt the loneliest at church. When I was a single working mom, I felt isolated and lonely. Doesn’t that just break your heart? It does mine.

What Can We Do About Loneliness?

Last week, the news carried a story of a young mom of a 9-month old and 6-year old in Oregon who committed suicide and her body was found in a remote wooded area where she went to die. I don’t know the circumstances that led her to this dark place where she felt no hope, no help, and no future, but I can only imagine how lonely she must have felt in her pain and anguish. Maybe others noticed and did reach out to help her ease her burden . . . but maybe they didn’t.

If you are that lonely, distraught, and depressed woman, I beg you to get help. Seek out a Christian counselor who will assure you of God’s love and plan and purpose for your life. Join groups of other women at your stage of life. If you have pre-school children, MOPS is a para-church organization with moms who have felt just like you do. It so helps to know you are not alone. Or maybe your church has a group for moms of all seasons. For sure, there is a Women’s Bible study—go! You will find a group of women seeking to apply God’s Word to their life and they can help you find answers in the Bible. Of course, if there is a Mentoring Ministry at your church, join it and seek out a mentor who will pray for you and help you through this tough time.

I always say the first step to healing is helping. So get involved by serving in a ministry or community or your children’s school. There you will meet other women to fellowship and serve with and relationships will develop.

If you are a woman who has had some “been-there-done-that” experiences in your life and you notice women around you and in your church who are displaying signs of loneliness, befriend them and encourage them to become involved in women’s ministry at your church. Maybe you’ll start a Mentoring Moms group and Stephanie Shott’s new book The Making of a Mom could help you in that endeavor.

It’s time that we Christian women step out, speak out, and reach out to our fellow sisters-in-Christ and those who don’t yet know Jesus as their Savior. You never know when God might be using you to save a life—both here on earth and for eternity.

Because remember that we are always—Better Together!

Here are some pictures from The M.O.M. Initiative Better Together Conference and I hope to see many of you at the next one. Stay tuned for when and where!

Just arrived at Cracker Barrell

Some team members meeting for the first time while rocking together on the porch at Cracker Barrel

Ready for Opening Night

Gathering in the hotel lobby…ready for first night!

 

Kicking Up Our Heals Ready for the First Session

Kicking Up Our Heels Ready for the First Session

cupcake tree

Yummy cupcake tower

 

Teaching a workshop on Balancing Life and Ministry

Teaching a workshop on Balancing Life and Ministry

Introducing the speaking team

Introducing the speaking team

Closing Q&A

Closing Q&A

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The Making of a Mom

In May, I  introduced you to you my friend Stephanie Shott who has a heart for moms and a burden for moms mentoring other moms, one mom at a time. Stephanie is the founder of The M.O.M Initiative, where I am a mentor mom!

God divinely brought Stephanie and me together from opposite corners of the United States–Stephanie lives in Florida and me in Idaho. But when we met face-to-face last year, it seemed as Stephanie talked, my words came out of her mouth and vice versa. God has give us the same passion for woman to woman mentoring, following the Lord’s direction in Titus 2:3-5.

Today, July 14, is the release of Stephanie’s book the Making of a Mom, which I had the honor of endorsing. We both hope to meet many of you at The M.O.M. Initiative’s first conference July 31-August 2.–Better Together. There’s still time to register.

Following is a glimpse into Stephanie’s story and her call from God to start The M.O.M. Initiative:

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I caught a glimpse of her as she walked across the parking lot. She looked to be about sixteen. Young in years, but great with child.

Reflecting on my own teen pregnancy, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was ready for the journey ahead. Did she grasp the greatness of her newfound role and how everything she had ever known was about to change? Would someone walk with through her motherhood or would she have to go it alone?

I was eighteen when my son was born and had no idea what it meant to be a mom. Oh, I thought the whole mom thing was going to be a breeze, but it didn’t take long to learn that my dream of motherhood was very different from my reality.

I wanted to be the mom who did all the right things, never had to count to three, and baked her own bread.

But instead, I was a single mom, without Christ, without a mentor, and without a clue.

As the years passed, I married, and not long after that I became a Christian. Everything changed except that I still didn’t have a mentor and I barely had a clue.

For me, motherhood was like a messy experiment and my kids were the guinea pigs. 

That was twenty-seven years ago, and as I reflect on the way I muddled my way through motherhood, I can’t help but wonder where all the mentors were. I remember looking up to several women in the church, yet for some reason I was never able to wiggle my way under their wing.

But it shouldn’t have been that hard, and no mom should have to go it alone. After all, mentoring should be woven into the fabric of the church. Right?

Mentoring moms is powerful. It’s how you and I can change the world. It’s not only a God-given way in which we can leave a legacy of faith, but it’s also an amazing tool to help us reach our communities and this culture for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Two years ago I started The M.O.M. Initiative—a ministry devoted to helping the body of Christ make mentoring missional. Evangelistic in nature, the mission is to begin M.O.M. Groups that not only minister to moms who know Christ but that we reach those who don’t.

Ultimately, our goal is to reach a MILLION MOMS for Christ. And if only 3 women in 1/2 of the churches in the United States would mentor just 3 other moms, that would translate into reaching a MILLION MOMS for Christ and impacting over 2.5 MILLION CHILDREN as a result.

Sitting in the parking lot, a ministry was born and a book was conceived. I wrote The Making of a Mom to be a unique dual purpose resource. A book to help lay a solid biblical foundations for real moms who are in the trenches of motherhood…to help answer the deep questions of a moms heart and to help each mom embrace the significance of her role as a mother. I want moms to know they are deeply loved and profoundly influential.

I also wrote The Making of a Mom to provide and in-reach and an outreach resource for the church.

To help the body of Christ weave mentoring into the fabric of the local church. As an outreach, The Making of a Mom equips local churches with a unique resource that will help them weave mentoring into the fabric of the church and to reach their communities and this  culture for Christ by mentoring moms in urban areas, in low-income apartment complexes, neighborhoods, prisons, homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, the mission field and wherever young moms can be found.

You see, if we reach the moms of this generation, we’ll reach the heart of the next generation. but if we don’t, I’m afraid we’ll lose them all.

Today, you and I have an opportunity to change the world one mom at a time through the power and beauty of mentoring.

I didn’t have a mentor . . . and I don’t know if that young girl at the gas station will have one either. But no mom should have to go it alone. So, let’s step into our Titus 2 shoes and begin impacting our community and this culture for the Lord Jesus Christ.

We’ll have forever to be glad we did.

To find out more about how you can begin a M.O.M. Group, click this link.

To find out how to sign up to be ONE in a MILLION MOMS who would like to be connected with a mentor and raise your children to know Christ, click this link.

To find out how to order The Making of a Mom.

TheMakingofaMomsmall

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Because We’re Better Together

I’m so excited to be a part of The M.O.M Initiative’s First National Conference and I wanted to share all the details with you. I will be keynoting and presenting four workshops along with many gifted speakers, authors, moms, and grandmas! Following is all the information and please let me know if you’re attending.

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Need to know you’re NOT ALONE? Ready for a fun weekend GETAWAY with your GIRLFRIENDS? Need to be REFRESHED & REFUELED?

Join us at BETTER TOGETHER where 19 authors & speakers CONVERGE in ONE PLACE to minister to YOU with over 40 WORKSHOPS to meet you where you are!

BETTER TOGETHER is a conference by The M.O.M. Initiative, for women of ALL ages and in ALL stages of life!

SOMETIMES…we just need a weekend to laugh together, cry together, and discover you’re not alone in your journey. BETTER TOGETHER is a weekend to connect with women just like you….moms, wives, single moms, moms in blended families, divorced moms, moms of teens, moms of toddlers, grandmas, working moms, stay at home moms, mentors and ministry leaders.

With powerful keynotes from moms and ministry leaders just like you, and over 40 breakout sessions that are taught by experienced leaders and include a wide range of topics such as:

  • When Motherhood Should Come with a Training Manual
  • You Can’t Be 1/2 a Mom (for moms in blended families)
  • Walking Beside Your Child with Special Needs
  • The God Who Sees You
  • Bully Proof
  • Balancing Life and Ministry
  • Fight for Your Family
  • The Making of a Mom
  • Lord, Help My Marriage
  • Building a Top Notch Team
  • Reaching the Hard to Reach Child
  • Nothing Too Broken (Find hope & healing for even the deepest wounds)
  • Godly Girlfriends: The Sprinkles on the Cupcakes of Life
  • Praying for Your Prodigal
  • Lifegiving Hospitality ~ Start Simply but Simply Start (Hands on cooking class)

And MANY MORE BREAKOUTS that will meet you right where you are!

You’ll experience an amazing time of worship with The Journey Worship Band, you’ll learn, you’ll share, you’ll grow in Christ… and as a woman… and as a mother… and as a mentor… and as a ministry leader.

Expect to have fun, meet other moms, find hope and encouragement, and laugh…a lot!

  • Great worship with the live band
  • Lots of giveaways!
  • Late Night Bash with the M.O.M.s on Friday night!
  • Lots of opportunities to shop in the Exhibit Hall!
  • 15 Minutes w/M.O.M. appointments where you can meet a M.O.M.
  • Lots of workshops (over 40) to help you in practical, personal & powerful ways
  • Panel Talk on Saturday with some of YOUR questions answered by the M.O.M. team!

Here are the details:

When: July 31st – August 2nd, 2014

Where: Trinity Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida

How Much: Only $49 ($39 for groups of 10 or more)

How: To register or find out more information, visit www.themominitiative.com and go to “Conferences”

Seating is limited so you will want to get your tickets now and invite your friends!

You’ll be empowered, encouraged, refreshed and refueled…ready to fulfill your God-given calling with the confidence of knowing you don’t have to take your mom journey alone.

Don’t miss THE Southeast’s MOM conference of the year, BETTER TOGETHER by The M.O.M. Initiative…

Because we are ALL better together!

So come, BRING A FRIEND and make it a CONFERENCE EVENT FOR THE WOMEN IN YOUR CHURCH or MINISTRY!

CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU THERE!

 

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Mentoring Tips on Raising Godly Children By Crystal Bowman

In my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I point out that every parent of a prodigal wishes we had done things differently and started praying for our children when they were young, before they became prodigals. In the following guest post, Crystal Bowman author of My Mama and Me—Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child, shares mentoring tips on raising godly children.

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No Greater Joy

One of my mom’s favorite Bible verses is 3 John 1:4 — I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

Now that I am a mother and grandmother, that has become one of my favorite verses as well. My husband and I have raised three amazing children who are all walking with the Lord. As I mentor many young mothers through MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers), they want to know how we did it!

I believe you can be a wonderful, godly parent and still have children who walk away from the faith when they grow up. Many times it is only for a season, but for some, it is longer.

A Solid Foundation

The best thing we can do as parents is give our children a solid biblical foundation by teaching them about God from the time they are babies to the time they leave home. Since most of my books are for preschool children, I pray that the books I write will be a helpful resource for parents as they read and talk about spiritual things with their little ones. Reading with your children is one of the precious gifts of motherhood, and sharing your faith is the most important gift you can give your child.

Kid-friendly Devotions

Making time for bedtime Bible stories or mealtime devotions is a great way to teach children about God and encourage meaningful discussion. My newest book, My Mama and Me—Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child features twenty-five devotions, each including a rhyming message that teaches children about God, a Scripture verse, a prayer, and an activity that reinforces the theme. The devotions are spiritually solid, yet fun and enjoyable for young children.

The Importance of Prayer

Many of the moms whom I mentor were not raised in Christian homes. They know it is important to pray for their children, but at times they feel inadequate. I remind them that God knows their hearts and they just need to talk to God like they talk to a friend. With that in mind, I wrote a prayer at the end of the book for mothers to pray over their children.

Just Released

My Mama and Me has just been released by Tyndale House Publishers. If you get a copy of the book, you will notice the book was written by two authors—Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley. I am Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley is my daughter. I have no greater joy!

Bio: Crystal Bowman is the author of over 80 books for children including The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers, and My Grandma and Me—Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Grandchild. She is also a national speaker, a lyricist, and a regular contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine.

www.crystalbowman.com

www.facebook.com/crystaljbowman

 Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley

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