Charise McNutt has had quite a journey that includes leading her California group while going through the trial of Multiple Sclerosis. Be encouraged through her to step out with your own mustard seed-sized faith!
Charise (right) and her co-leader, Joanna
I was a young mother full of ideals with no idea how to walk in them. It was 2005 and my firstborn was a baby. I longed for a biblical mentor to walk the journey of motherhood with me; building me up with words of life. One sunny Saturday I heard Sally Clarkson speak and I knew this was the very mentor I needed. I picked up Mission of Motherhood and devoured it.
God brought a beautiful friend named Joanna into my life who also loved Sally’s books. We both had a desire to lead a small group bible study with Sally’s books. We started with a once-a-week Park Day for the ladies to hang out and get to know each other while our young ones played. After attending the Mom Heart Conference in Irvine, CA we felt empowered to start the Mom Heart bible study. We had mustard seed faith and knew God would have to guide every step for it to grow healthy and strong.
For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. Matthew 17:20
We invited our Park Day and church friends and we started with Mission of Motherhood. Many months later, we moved onto Ministry of Motherhood and continued through each of Sally’s books. We had an average of nine women coming and Joanna and I would trade off watching the children and teaching. Vulnerability was a thread, knitting each of our hearts together.
In May 2012, I was diagnosed with an illness that causes damage to the brain and nervous system called Multiple Sclerosis. I was unable to drive safely for nine months and I was limited in physical abilities. God used this group to come alongside our family and we continued Mom Heart through that time. It was a lifeline for my heart and leading the group kept me sharp and humble through the process of mothering with an illness.
It feels like so long ago since we began the ministry in Moreno Valley, CA. Joanna is now living in Alabama and God has expanded her ministry. She is now a licensed counselor ministering to couples, individuals and children.
I moved to Menifee, CA in April 2014 and began a new Mom Heart Group. We have around nine women who come hit and miss but we have an average of three women each month. It just depends on the week and circumstances of life surrounding each woman. God is faithful and He is knitting our hearts as we dig into His word, work through Sally’s book, Own Your Life and live in vulnerability with one another. We have a concoction of working moms, stay-at-home moms, home school moms, public school moms, married moms, single moms, etc. It is truly a joy to see God knit our hearts as we come together, drawing closer to Him and growing as women and mothers. Each of us value our once a month meetings and although we would love to meet together more often, we find once a month is doable for our busy schedules. Sometimes we plan a Girl’s Night Out at Panera Bread or a movie night at home. We text often and encourage one another through the week.
Multiple Sclerosis still hinders me physically, mentally and emotionally but God enables me to continue leading this precious group of women. My four children, ages 5-11 help get our house ready for guests and the ladies and I trade off providing a snack. I am learning to let go of my expectations of a perfect house or presentation and God is always faithful to show up and minister to our weary souls.
I am still in contact with many of the women from our Moreno Valley group and these women are still clinging to all that we learned during those years.
God used mustard seed faith to grow up a strong tree of women who love Jesus, raise wholehearted children and pursue the calling of God on individual lives. We offer our fishes and loaves to God and He multiplies. We offer our abilities and willingness and God uses it to change the world around us. If He can use me, little ole me, then He can use you.
In the book of Isaiah, God says,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
May each of us say, “Here am I. Send me!”