Leading a Mom Heart group through the book Different might make you feel nervous. After all, these are extremely personal thoughts and struggles for mothers who might never have shared with anyone before. I encourage you to be very gentle as you address these topics in a group. Please read this post first that includes some tips for safety within your group. If you create a safe place and don’t force anyone to speak who isn’t ready to, you can have a dynamic and intimate conversation, creating amazing friendships with the women in your group. Don’t be afraid of tears and tender hearts and go ahead and pause the conversation to pray over a specific circumstance if the Spirit prompts you.
In our group, after fellowship time and any “getting to know you” questions, we open in prayer and then start with a very general question such as those below to get the conversation started.
How did reading this section affect you?
Did anything cause you to view yourself or your children with a new perspective?
Our group only meets once per month, so we will discuss two chapters at each meeting. Here are some suggestions of discussion questions to help you get started. Keep in mind that each group is different and the Lord will prompt you with appropriate questions that befit your group. Take time to think ahead, pray and ask God to use you to speak His words of life.
On page XXV, Sally shares how Nathan found her a safe person to confide in.
Do your children have a safe place in you?
What do you need to change in the power of the Holy Spirit so that they will find you safe?
On page 5, Sally discusses how she was influenced profoundly by her family, and in particular, her mother. “She also (inadvertently) taught me a valuable lesson that has served me well as a mama- that it is easy for parents to pass on unnecessary guilt, shame, and insecurity to their children because we fear the rejection of critical and judgmental people in our lives.”
How has being rejected caused you to pass on guilt, shame and insecurity to your kids?
How can you grow in this area in order to bring them health and security instead?
Page 7 “Learning to love ourselves, to be humble enough to admit our limitations, to truly appreciate the gifts our differences bring while also being willing to accept help and healing for the most painful ones, gives us greater mental, emotional, and spiritual health.”
Where might you need to accept help and healing or how have you done this in the past?
How did reading of Nathan’s experiences affect you? Did hearing from his perspective bring new compassion for anyone in your life?
Page 21 “Patience and focused attention would often help him to respond and talk to me about what he was feeling. I prayed, pondered, and sought wisdom and education to find a way to reach him in the impossible moments, which still happened so very often.”
What have you noticed about your children when you’ve paid close attention? Are you calm and attentive enough to really see them?
Page 26, “I am not a naturally selfless woman, nor a patient one. I’m the type to fly through life so that I can get a lot done- now! I usually have a strong sense of the way life should be, and I tend to get irritated when someone gets in my way or I can’t make things “right.” But none of these qualities were practical or effective in responding to this one who needed my slowness and my attention in the midst of my busyness. And I had made a commitment to God to begin to see Nathan as a blessing.
Who needs your slowness and attention? Are you willing to make the sacrifice and find the self-control to give it?
Did anything else in this section stand out to you?
Keep in mind that these are a lot of questions and depending on how deep you go into each one, you might only get through a couple. Listen to God’s spirit and follow His promptings. After discussion, we spend a few minutes sharing about how we can pray for each other and then close in prayer, being sure to end on time in order to respect people’s sacrifice of being away from their families.
Are you reading Different together? I am finding that this book is reaching women in a new and amazing way. How is it going in your group so far?
Below is a printable PDF of the discussion questions.