Mom Heart Ministry http://momheart.com Coming home to God's heart for motherhood Tue, 30 May 2017 11:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 http://momheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-backgroundHeart50-32x32.png Mom Heart Ministry http://momheart.com 32 32 Different Discussion Questions | Chapters 7 and 8 http://momheart.com/different-discussion-questions-chapters-7-and-8/ http://momheart.com/different-discussion-questions-chapters-7-and-8/#respond Tue, 30 May 2017 11:00:03 +0000 http://momheart.com/?p=6477 [Read More]]]> We are making our way through Different!  Have you connected in a new way with any mothers around you?  We love to hear how God is using this book to reach parents.  Click here to find the previous posts about Different.

Rembrandt’s Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (public domain)

Chapter 7: Wrestling God

This chapter talks about how Nathan had doubts and feelings of discouragement and anger that he needed to express to the Lord.  From page 99, “”God loves it when you wrestle Him, Nathan,” she said.  “Because wrestling is a full-contact sport, and God loves it when you are in contact with Him.  Maybe He has a bigger view of your life and is willing to do more than you can presently see.””

How do you react when your children question God or faith?

Page 103, “So many years later, when each of my children came to me with deep doubts, I understood.  Their pathway was one I had walked, and I knew their need for compassion, sympathy, and support.  So I would put aside the screaming demands of my own busyness, listen to their words, and seek to comprehend their soul issues.”

How do you set aside your own “screaming demands” to listen to your children’s doubts and needs?  How can you remind yourself that life is short and the relationships you build are the most important thing?

As mothers, we sometimes have the same doubts and struggles as our children.  Consider in your mind, who do you go to with your own doubts and insecurities?  Who is one person with whom you can initiate a more intimate relationship?  Share some ideas for building a closer one-on-one relationship with a woman around you.

Chapter 8: Different Drumming

On page 106, Nathan describes how mental illness and personality traits are not something we choose.  They are not able to be turned off and on.  We and our children all have things like this even if they aren’t as difficult as the issues Nathan struggles with.

What personality traits or thought patterns are like this for you?  Anxiety, depression, insecurity?  Some of these things are extremely deep rooted and aren’t easily walked through.  Where do you find yourself getting stuck?  How do you need the Lord to change your perspective?

One page 113, Sally shares how “Many times [she] just felt a need for someone to listen, to sympathize, to understand and to pray.”

We all need both: someone to listen to us and someone who can share openly with us.  Often, these are found in two different people.  How can you cultivate and choose these types of relationships?   Are you committed to listening to someone?  Have you reached out and asked someone to listen to you?  The book Safe People by Cloud and Thompson has helpful  guidelines on healthy communication.

Page 117, “Part of my learning to deal with him was to accept the fact that (1) I would never totally understand him or know how to respond to him, but that (2) that was okay!  Carrying guilt for being unable to anticipate all his needs would just add more burden to our lives.  An emotional backpack loaded with feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and failure can perilously slow us down or even stop progress entirely.”

How can you let the Lord carry your emotional backpack in order to be okay with never getting it exactly right or having all the answers?  Do you need to ask for help to unpack your emotional backpack?  The freedom of walking lightly through life is worth getting help.

Sally and Nathan

On page 120, Sally shares how she and Clay came to the understanding that Nathan “was an essential part of the particular story that God wanted us to live out, the place we could best glorify Him…We had to accept Nathan with God’s unconditional love- just as he was.”

What issues or circumstances in your life are you struggling to accept as part of God’s story for you?

On page 127, Sally gives a list of decisions and actions she had to take in order to effectively reach Nathan and disciple him along the way.  What do you need to do or make peace with in order to help your children thrive?

Wrap up your meeting by taking some time to pray about some of the things you discussed with your group.

Different Chapters 7 and 8 printable

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Different Discussion Questions | Chapters 5 and 6 http://momheart.com/different-discussion-questions-chapters-5-and-6/ Thu, 04 May 2017 11:00:33 +0000 http://momheart.com/?p=6460 [Read More]]]> Have you been following along with our series on Different?  Using this book in a Mom Heart group can be tricky because it touches such deep parts of our mother hearts, but it is also an opportunity for intimacy and close friendships to blossom as we hear the hurts and fears of those around us.  Here are all the posts with discussion questions for Different.

Chapter 5: A Heart Like Superman

Page 67 “Stories put me in the context of something bigger than myself and help me to see my day-to-day struggles as enemies to overcome for the sake of a greater purpose.  Whether as a teenager dealing with mental illness or a young adult struggling with the anxiety of living alone in a big city, I have found these tales help remind me that I myself am living a story.  That every little experience or decision I make affects the meaning and the outcome.  Which means I have a choice in what kind of story my life will tell.”

What stories have helped you put yourself in the context of something bigger?

What stories have helped your children in this way?  If you need ideas, Caught Up in a Story and Read for the Heart, both by Sarah Clarkson, are excellent resources.  Storyformed.com is also an amazing place to gather life-giving suggestions.

Page 78 “But when I put myself in Nathan’s shoes, I realized that my constant correction could easily be a source of frustration, insecurity, and anger in my already-fragile child.  That constant feeling of just not measuring up can build a lifelong legacy of insecurity and even despair. Feeling like a disappointment on a regular basis can actually shape the brain patterns of a growing child.  Failure and helplessness can become self-fulfilling prophecies.”

How do you decide which issues need correction and which you can overlook?  When do you tend to over-correct your children?

On pages 74- 79, Sally writes about her determination to give Nathan positive affirmations, modeled after Jesus’ words with his disciples and others around him.

Ask someone to read aloud the affirmations of Jesus on page 75.  What are some positive affirmations that you would like to say more often to your children?

What’s preventing you from saying positive things?

Chapter 6: The Grand Performance

At the beginning of chapter 6, Nathan remembers an experience of viewing God’s glory in creation that has stayed with him to this day.  On page 84 he says, “There are moments in life so beautiful that everything in us wants to praise the Creator.  Maybe it’s stars- or an ocean view, a magnificent sunset, the birth of a child.  It’s important to put ourselves in places and situations that bring us those moments- and to recognize them for what they are.”

Share about a time you had an experience or moment like this.

Page 90 “God was the first artist, after all, crafting masterpieces that would be discovered throughout all eternity. Exposing out children to His handiwork as often as possible was a priority for Clay and me.  Placing our children (and ourselves) in the face of this creator God seemed to increase their sense of delight in Him and left a taste of pleasure in their souls.  It also provided respite and relief from our stressful daily lives.”

How do you make time to enjoy the outdoors with your children?

Page 90 continued, “So much of our life as parents is focused on our children’s external behavior: manners, speech, work ethic, accomplishments in school, respect.  And all that training is vital for their future.  But how wonderful it is to make time together when no outward performance is required- only play, love, fun, pleasure, and rest where we can all feel okay about making a mess.”

If it’s difficult for you to turn off the need to “check all the boxes” in your day or in your child’s life, how can you take steps toward allowing your children time to just be when no performance is required?

On page 91, Sally shares some of the ways she incorporated creation into the lives of her children.  Spend a few minutes brainstorming local places that you and your group members could explore with your children.

Different Chapters 5 and 6 printable

We’d love to hear how this book is impacting you and the women in your groups.  Is it challenging to discuss sensitive topics or are your finding new friendships and intimacy with the women in your group?

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Your Love is Irreplaceable http://momheart.com/your-love-is-irreplaceable/ Tue, 02 May 2017 11:00:52 +0000 http://momheart.com/?p=6344 The love of a mother in God’s divine design is an irreplaceable influence on a child’s heart, dreams, self-image, and potential.IMG_2686

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But I’m Not a Teacher http://momheart.com/but-im-not-a-teacher/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:00:51 +0000 http://momheart.com/?p=6451 [Read More]]]> Are you afraid to read a book in your Mom Heart group that doesn’t come with discussion questions?  It’s not as difficult as you might think.

“I’m feeling called by God to lead a group but I’m not a teacher.”

“I’ve never been trained to lead women’s ministry.”

“I’m an introvert.”

Have you ever said anything like these to yourself?  Did you know that you can start a Mom Heart group without being a teacher?  Mom Heart groups gather for the purpose of restoring moms’ hearts to God’s heart for motherhood.  When you gather a small number of women together for this purpose, you just need to be willing to initiate and then facilitate a conversation.  The goal is to get the women talking to each other and to explore ideas and scripture together.

Here are some tips in writing questions to generate discussion.

First of all, you need to become thoroughly familiar with the material.  Read the chapter once, twice, even three times to internalize and understand what it says.  (This is for both scripture and other books.)

As you are reading, mark the passages that jump out at you or that the Lord impresses on you as being for your group.  Make notes in the margin if something occurs to you.

Once you are familiar with the chapter and you’ve marked a few sentences or passages that stood out to you, begin to form them into questions.  Take the passage and turn it into a question that causes women to think or apply it to themselves.

For example, in this recent post, you can read a passage that struck me and then read the question that I wrote merely by rephrasing the sentence into a question that can be discussed by the group.

Here’s another example from page 26 of Different.  This passage jumped out as meaningful so I marked it on my first read-through.  After a second read-through, it still seemed like something that would apply to the women in my group.

Here’s the passage:  “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.”

Here’s the question I wrote down and asked during my group:  “Who needs your slowness and attention?  Are you willing to give it?”

Can you see how I took the passage and just rephrased it into a question?

Here’s another example from page 67.

The passage: “Will I choose to be a victim of my circumstances, using my differences and difficulties as excuses for why I failed to do great things?   Or will I decide to view my differences as superpowers that can enable me to live better and live out a story worth telling?”

The question:  “When have you chosen to be a victim of your circumstances?  How did you make a choice to rise above the problems and move forward regardless?”  <—– notice that none of these questions are yes/no questions.  I could have asked, “Have you ever chosen to be a victim of your circumstances?”  That only generates yes/no answers, it doesn’t elicit discussion.  Always double check your questions after they are written and make sure they can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.

Here are some general questions that you can use to apply to many different topics or thoughts within a chapter.

-How will you implement this in your home?

-What feelings does this stir up in you?

-How has God used circumstances such as these to bring growth in your life?

-What is one thing you can try to apply this week?

Leading a Mom Heart group might feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or scary.  God will reveal which passages from a book or scripture are those that apply to your group.  Trust Him to bring thoughts to mind as you prepare before hand.

What is keeping you from jumping in to lead a group?  Are you feeling called but not qualified?  So were the disciples and just look how God used them!  You can do it.  We are here to support you and answer your questions.  If God calls you, He will provide what you need.

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Compelled to Tell http://momheart.com/a-cure-for-loneliness/ Thu, 20 Apr 2017 11:00:56 +0000 http://momheart.com/?p=6441 [Read More]]]> Today’s post comes from Jacqui Wakelam, a Mum Heart group leader and the overseer of the Mum Heart groups in the UK and Ireland.  She and her friend, Amy, hosted the very successful Mum Heart conference in London recently.  Read her thoughts on how our stories can impact others.

I remember hearing a Holocaust survivor being interviewed once on a leading U.S. talk show. His words were arresting and the stories gripped my imagination and soul. Why had he written his memoirs? His narrative was one of ultimate hope but also of such horror and human darkness, so why share, why talk, why tell others?

“You have to free the ones you find,” was his profound reply.

This response and insight has always stuck with me. This is why we have a deep, burning desire to convey to others the truths that have shaped our own journeys – we want to see others walk in more freedom, to learn from our own journey, and feel a shared connection.

I love when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). She was so impacted by this encounter she left all her stuff and ran back to the village and dragged half the town out to meet Him! Many went on to believe in Him, not just based on what she’d told them, but because they’d now heard Him first hand (John 4:41-42).

This is why we share; we’re compelled by our own divine encounters and want others to get in on the feeling!

When we’ve been changed, we desire that change for others, to ‘free the ones we find’. When we’ve been reached in our isolation we want to reach into other’s loneliness and bring them to that fullness of life! So we throw all the toys behind the sofa, get out the tea stained cups, the chipped side plate, light the candle, unwrap the biscuits, hide the laundry upstairs…we provide a simple space to come hear more.

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A Testimony of Goodness http://momheart.com/a-testimony-of-goodness/ Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:00:57 +0000 http://momheart.com/?p=6341 How am I exercising God’s kindness toward my family members, and toward others, so I will have a testimony of goodness?

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