As we move through Different, pay close attention to your group members’ reactions. If someone suddenly goes quiet or gets defensive, treat her very gently. Ask privately after the group is over if there’s something she needs prayer for. Remember, we gather to encourage each other and point one another to God and His word, not to give advice or solve each other’s problems. When there are big reactions, God’s spirit is working!
Page 33 “Perhaps as you read these words you will think of someone you know, maybe someone you love, who fits the characteristics of being different. But maybe, just maybe, there have been times in your own life when you felt that no matter how hard you tried, you simply couldn’t see life like “everyone else.” Times when you’ve felt the whole world turn against you. Times when no matter how hard loved ones tried, they simply couldn’t understand what you were going through. Times when you yourself may have felt different.”
How can you relate to this?
When have you felt that you couldn’t see life like everyone else?
Page 34 “All too often, in a culture that demands conformity, we try to suppress the traits that just don’t fit in, when in reality the things that make us different can be the things that make us beautiful, and are the traits that God wants to use in our lives to bring strength to others and reflect his beauty.”
Considering the previous questions, how has God used your differences to bring strength to others and reflect His beauty?
Read aloud the italics section at the top of page 39.
What does this stir in your heart?
On page 42 is the LAUNCH acronym that Sally used to remind her how to love Nathan in his differences. Click here to find a printable PDF that you can share with your Mom Heart groups.
Page 53 “I believe that the longing to live a meaningful life resides inside all people. Not everyone is motivated by epic tales, by swords and swashbuckling and high romance. But each of us has the deep desire to become a hero in our own story-the person we were meant to be, accomplishing what we were created to accomplish. And I am convinced that each of us is designed to play a significant role in the history of the world. God created us with personality, strengths, weaknesses, passions, and preferences we need to play our part. But to do that, most of us need inspiration. And stories can give us that.”
What other ways have you found to inspire your children if they aren’t engaged by “swords and swashbuckling and high romance?”
As most children (though not all) ARE inspired by stories, there are some helpful resources at the bottom of this post.
Page 54 “I had always avoided allowing Nathan (and my other children) the crutch of too much “screen time” – TV, video games, computers, and so on. But that meant I needed to be resourceful about offering creative and engaging alternatives to fill their time. So I did my best to fill our home with that I call “tools of imagination”-games, supplies, and materials that would engage their interest and help them grow in thinking skills and imagination as they played.”
With your group, brainstorm some tools of imagination to inspire your children. Try to think of things for different age groups- inspiring an 8-year-old is vastly different from inspiring a 14-year-old. Share your lists here in the comments or over on the Mom Heart groups Facebook page– we’d love to hear them!
Page 57 “If I wanted [Nathan] to be all he could be- all God created him to be- I needed to see both his realities and his possibilities and then keep my eyes on what God could accomplish. Then I needed to invest my energies into training my little boy, expanding his horizons one day at a time, one small step at a time.”
How has balancing reality vs. possibility been a challenge for you with your children?
Page 59 “So our personal family story was written through days of teaching, training, and celebrating life that required not only patience and diligence, but also thoughtfulness, creativity, and a willingness to engage in cultivating a home alive with imagination, a delightful environment for learning and developing a love of learning.”
Patience, diligence, thoughtfulness, creativity, willingness to engage: Which of these areas would you like to grow in? How will you do that?
Spend some time closing in prayer with your group.