Typically when I have experienced the Holy Spirit putting words in my mouth it has been during challenging situations, like sharing my faith with a non-believer, or helping a friend through a crisis. This time, however, it came right out of the blue: "I think I want to start a support group for YWAM Ethiopia moms," I heard myself say to Becky.
We were chatting above the cacophony while dozens of children enjoyed the Tacoma Children's Museum at a YWAM fellowship gathering last May. After the words left my mouth I immediately felt silly for saying them.
Who was I to do this?
Why didn't I think before I opened my mouth?
God has so much more work to do in me, but one thing I have managed to learn is that it's no good arguing with the Holy Spirit. On the way home that night half of me was giddy with excitement and the other half was secretly hoping Becky would forget our conversation.
No such luck on the latter -- by the next day Becky had already emailed all the YWAM Ethiopia moms in the area and told them about the group, listing me as the leader! As emails started coming in from other moms excited to meet together, willing to help, and wanting to participate, my anxiety faded. God was in this, and I was along for the ride.
A few of the local YWAM adoptive moms
(They promised more photos to come!)
Our group has been meeting monthly since June and I cannot begin to describe how much it has blessed me already. The Holy Spirit put the words in my mouth to get things started, but His work didn't stop there. As we have met together He has been faithful to bless, grow, teach, encourage, and comfort us through one another, through prayer, and through His presence with us.
If you are a YWAM mom in the greater Seattle / Tacoma area, we would love to have you join us at our next meeting! We meet the 2nd Friday evening of the month - contact me for more details (go to Haley's blog and leave a comment). If you are outside the area, maybe its time to get a group started where you live! Here are a few suggestions to get things rolling:
*Pray! Prayer is always a good place to start. :)
*Start connecting with other adoptive moms in your area through social media -- blogs and facebook are a great way to make initial connections. Search for a facebook group for adoptive moms in your area, or start one of your own if there isn't one yet.
*Decide what your focus will be for the group (fellowship, education, topical discussions, prayer, etc), and arrange the format of your time together accordingly. For example, our group is focused on building relationships and prayer, so we spend time connecting and sharing with each other and then praying together. A group focused on education might want to bring in guest speakers, read books together, or watch teaching videos. Of course your focus can change over time, or you can mix things up from time to time, but I think it helps members know what to expect if the focus is clearly communicated from the beginning.
*Be open and flexible with the group -- if there aren't very many Ethiopian adoptive families in your area, think about widening the scope to international adoptive families, transracial adoptive families, etc.
*Don't let insecurities stop you -- this is about providing space for God to work through community, not about having all the answers. If you (like me) are not a long-time veteran adoptive parent with lots of experience, that's OK! You can probably still write emails, make snacks, rearrange your living room furniture into a circle, and pray for God to work, right? Yes? Then you can do this! Go for it.
We were simply not made to do this alone - adoption, parenting, life - all of it was meant to be experienced in community. My prayer today is that God will draw us to one another as we follow Him down this crazy amazing adventure of adoption and the even crazier and more amazing adventure of adoptive parenting!