Jesica Swanson: Adios

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Today when Sara opened up the floor to share about MOPS, I couldn’t even THINK of getting out of my chair without tears springing to my eyes. How could I share all the ways MOPS changed me, and my children for the better, without crumbling into a sobbing heap on the carpet? Obviously I couldn’t.

It’s too much to think of all the women, mentors, sisters, friends, volunteers who have given so much to me, when I came with so little to offer back? I think back to all those I’ve labored with in countless meetings, FB chats, group text messages and phone calls. We’ve shared tears, prayers, laughter, frustration, defeat, victory, and encouragement and it has left my life so incredible more full than it was 6 years ago. I’ve grown, but more than that, I’ve seen others grow. We’ve seen death, divorce, dysfunction and we’ve seen life, reconciliation, restoration. God has been faithful in each life, in each sorrow, in each joy, in each theme, and in each meeting.

MOPS is not magical, but it has provided a recipe for connection. It has given me sisters. It has given me mothers. It has made me feel the sting of conviction when someone shares something that challenges me. It has given me hope, when I was pretty sure I was the very worst mom/wife/friend of all time. It has made me feel like the dumpiest girl in the room (because we all have those days when everyone else seems to have it together) and it has made me feel like the prettiest girl in the room (because some days I actually did my hair, wore a non-boogered shirt, and brushed my teeth all in the same morning and someone noticed!). I have come empty and left filled. I have come filled and able to empty myself out to encourage someone else. It has given me a place to find my gifts and to grow in them. It gave me a place to be me, during a season when I had forgotten who I was. However, the very best thing God has given me through MOPS are my people. They know me at my worst and my best. They love me, they support me, they call me out, and they are better than a therapist. They are one of God’s overwhelmingly good gifts to me.

MOPS has been more than I ever thought it would be.

As a MOPS senior, it is only fitting to leave with my final will.  So, MOPS underclassmen, I will you the ability to be vulnerable and honest about the hard parts of this season and the good parts of this season. I will you the privilege of mourning with one another and rejoicing with one another. I will you the ability to give at least one person a compliment at every meeting. I will you the strength to leave your sobbing child in the arms of a loving volunteer and the knowledge that they will be ok (eventually). I will you leaders, the ability to leave it all on the table, when you serve. The ability to let your yes be yes, and your no be no. I will you the confidence to lean into your gifts and watch God use them in amazing ways. I will you the ability to keep going, when you don’t know if you can, because at least one mom will be changed for the better because of your selflessness. I will each of you the joy of the sisterhood of mothering, the grace to know you all will have that day, that kid, that hot mess of a moment and the kindness to allow everyone else to have theirs, too. Most of all, I will you the deep knowledge that you are loved and that you are enough.

With love and deep affection for you all,

Jes