Mommy lesson #62: Experience doesn’t always mean it gets easier, and other lessons learned in MOPS leadership

Last Friday was our first MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers) meeting of the year. This was my second year as co-coordinator and I must say that I expected this year to go much more smoothly, you know, since we now had a year of experience under our belt as a leadership team and all (last year we were all brand new). Ha. How silly of me to think that experience equals easy. The surprises and unexpected challenges piled up so quickly it began to feel a bit like we were caught in some sort of Candid Camera episode.
A week before our first meeting my fantastic co-coordinator and Moppets organizer, Mindy, (childcare is the most stressful, unpredictable facet of the whole program) informed me that we were short at least three workers, and would possibly be losing three of our most reliable volunteers because their family was moving (we rely heavily on our homeschooled volunteers who help out in our classrooms each meeting). In the meantime we had a metaphorical avalanche of moms registering every day. This was fantastic of course, but not so wonderful if we didn’t have enough workers to care for their kiddos. 
Next, our uber-organized registration coordinator, Sarah, reminded me that she wouldn’t be able to make it to the first meeting because she would be out of town with her husband while he had surgery. Gulp. We counted on her to check everyone in, hand out name tags, and give kids their room assignments. It’s a huge job, especially the first meeting.
Then I got an email from one of our most dependable sponsors (we rely heavily on local business to sponsor our group to help off-set childcare costs) asking if they could come do a short program at our first meeting. They are a children’s gym, and wanted to make our moms aware of what they have to offer before their fall classes kicked off. Fine, completely understandable, except that we already had a very packed meeting planned, and I had no idea where to carve out the extra 15-20 minutes.
The night before our first meeting during set-up our communication coordinator, Jenn, who was supposed to cover for Sarah at check-in and make important announcements during the meeting, told me her son was having some tummy trouble and she wasn’t sure she should bring him. Sure enough, the next morning she texted and told me he’d been throwing up all night. Definitely not the kind of germs you want to bring to the classroom.

The morning of our first meeting I got another text from our hospitality coordinator, Kristy, saying her son’s in-office procedure had been moved from 7:30 to 8:30 that morning, and she didn’t think she would make it to the meeting after all.
This was about where I started to feel the panic set in, as I realized our seven person leadership team was down to four, and I knew we didn’t have enough workers to cover all the classrooms if all the registered moms showed up, which of course they were bound to do because who wants to miss the first meeting and…deep breaths. I felt completely overwhelmed and discouraged. I felt like we were under attack. Which of course we were. Our Enemy saw us as a threat, and was throwing everything he could to try and sink us. But we serve a victorious Savior, who is so much greater and more powerful than the Devil. Ephesians 3:20 flitted through my mind, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”
And He came through in ways that still feel miraculous as I think back on them. We got an extra worker and volunteer at the last minute, and although our rooms were still straining at the seams we had enough help. One of the guest speakers I had lined up voluntarily offered to come another time after she heard how packed our meeting was, so we had enough time for everything, even a quick group picture at the end.

Jenn left detailed notes on everything she was supposed to say, and Kristy showed up right at the end of the meeting to help with clean-up. Our creative activities coordinator, Amanda, stepped up to fill every need, from helping me man the registration table to giving the announcements to making coffee. Two of former leadership team members quietly came alongside and did whatever needed doing. Moms introduced themselves to one another, laughed together, shared their hearts, and made connections. We felt grace and peace flow from the Lord to each soul in the room. What could have been an exasperating, frustrating experience turned into a beautiful expression of God’s care and provision, and it took my breath away.

Of course there were a few hiccups, like we forgot to pass the food sign up sheet around for next meeting. Oh, and as I got up to give my devotional talk Amanda slipped in the back of the room and gave me a look that made me ask what was wrong, right there, in front of everyone. She informed me that my precious daughter had fallen in the toilet. Apparently C decided during her class’s potty break that she needed to go too (no, we are not potty training yet) and instead of waiting for her teacher’s help she climbed onto the toilet fully clothed. Unfortunately the toilet had just been cleaned and the janitor had neglected to put the seat down. Worse, I had been too busy to take my daughter’s bag down to her classroom, so she had no diapers, no change of clothes, nothing. Thank goodness Amanda found the bag sitting on the counter and took it to C’s teacher. Yeah, just another illustration that we are all in this together, and we are nowhere near perfect, but that’s ok because God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.
So our first meeting of the year was both a catastrophe and a success. The leadership team was reminded in a very forceful way that we are not in control, but that’s ok because God is. I can’t wait to see what happens at our next meeting. 🙂
Are you a part of a MOPS group or in leadership? I’d love to hear your story of God coming through when everything seemed to be falling apart…I know I’m not the only one!

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