Step out into community!

For any moms of young children, I encourage you to get involved in a moms’ group this fall!  It was one of the best things I did when my girls were little.  This post is for you.  Even if we don’t have young children, we still need community!  We all have times when it takes courage to step out.

I was nervous the first time I visited the mom’s group at our church with my baby girl.  I was tired and anxious, still new to the rhythms of motherhood.  It was hard getting out the door and to something on time!

It took effort and courage, but Ellie and I made it there.  Afterwards, I was so glad I went!  We kept going back, and this group became community for both me and my girls in the next few years.

ducks stepping out!
Bravely step out into community, like these ducks that surprised us at the park!

It’s so easy for us women to hold back and not join community.  This is true not only when our children are small, but all through life!

Some reasons we hold back include:

  • We are tired.  It’s hard enough just to get up, change a diaper, and find breakfast! Can we really make it out the door?!?  We’re physically and emotionally tired.  But this tiredness can hold us back from things that reenergize us and meet our needs.  Being part of community is one of these things!
  • We’re not sure we’re enough.  We forget who we are.  We have the gift of friendship, care, and encouragement to offer.  Each of us is shaped to connect with particular people and give in special ways.  Just the same, we need the friendship, care, and encouragement others can offer us.  We’re shortchanging ourselves and others when we hold back from joining community!
  • We’re not sure we’ll be accepted.  We fear we won’t feel part of the group or understood.  We let fear hold us back.  Instead, we can be courageous to focus on other women rather than ourselves.  We could let our value for acceptance motivate us to be the one who extends welcome and acceptance to other women!  And as we give love, we’ll find we receive it in return.

When we step out with courage to be a part of community, the benefit far outweighs what holds us back!  Community with others moms is big part of what brought me through those early stay-at-home mom years. It gives us:

  • Belonging with other moms.  We have so much in common!  I could meet a new mom and connect because we shared this season of life.  It was so easy to find things to talk because of this!  Of all the seasons of womanhood, these years when our children are little give us so much in common to bring us together.
  • A sense of normalcy.  Interacting with other moms gave me a sense that I was normal, and that my kids were normal.  I’d heard that ninety percent of what our kids do is developmental, and I discovered this was true!  Getting perspective on normalcy was helpful is so many ways, from how your toddler responses to a fever, potty training, and preschool fears. I remember thinking, “Oh, your child has an imaginary friend, too! It’s OK that my daughter says she sees Bob the Builder!”
  • Learning from each other.  There were some amazing moms I learned from in the mom’s group I was part of.  Their kids might have been older than mine, or they were in the same parenting place as I was.  And it was exciting when I could share what I learned with another mom and encourage her.  It’s meaningful to learn and grow together!
  • Strength for the hard days.  When I arrived at my mom’s group exhausted, other moms understood.  Really understood.  When I had a miscarriage, there were moms there who I could quietly share with and who cared.  When we are courageous to step out and be part of community, we have the opportunity to bear each other’s burdens:  to help with a meal or childcare, offer a listening ear, and give a hug.  And we put ourselves in a place to receive when we’re in need, as well.

We weren’t created to go it alone!  God created us to live in relationship with Him, and also to live in relationship with each other: to love, encourage, and support each other. When we do life in community, it helps us remember who we are: beautiful women who are meant to give and receive love!

How will you be courageous … to step out and be part of community?  To notice another woman and show love to her?

 

Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. She’d like to encourage you in your journey! Write her a note or see her Coaching page.

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