When MOI Missed the Mark
A mother wrote this week with some very sincere and candid questions along with her impression of a recent MOI gathering. She said:
"I went to a MOI group and left feeling inadequate for not decorating for holidays enough and quite uncomfortable as people spoke of energy healing and the like. I admire and respect all those I have met here, but how do we embrace everyone's story? How do we converse and mingle ideas and lift and become edified (and quell racism and hatred) instead of converse and end up in the mire? I guess I wonder if I have missed something because I feel so out of place."
It reminded me of a comment Marlene made earlier this week, "We are going to need each other even more in the days ahead ... The Arts that are the topic of your [MOI] meetings will literally heal hearts and keep hearts from failing...You may think that WEH (and MOI) is a homeschooling group ... I hope you understand it is much, much more."
I'm so grateful to this mom for her willingness to let me openly share her thoughts. There's so much to ponder in what she has said. I sense she is longing for what we call Encircling Reach - an essential and vital component to Mothers of Influence. When we talk about arts, we're actually talking about allowing the work of heaven to flow through us. We are the instrument and God is the artist. We learn, practice, and refine... the art of mothering, the art of being a wife, mother, sister, friend, neighbor, the art of creating sanctuary, the art of "home"-making, the art of gentleness, the art of unity, the art of civility, the art of kindness, the art of love, Jesus Christ is the creator and exemplar of every one of these arts. All of these things are acts of creation. They, themselves, are largely "unseen," and (dare I say it?) mothers are given the gift to wield this creative power alongside God. It flows through us. If the enemy to our hearts can keep women from uniting or confuse us onto a false road of "girl power," he can stop the movement that must roll forward.
The real strength of MOI is in the gathering. WEH has the meat... the substance, but the uniting of mothers is a critical piece in all of this - and relationships are everything! MOI is the nursery where we will practice finding and widening our common ground. It's where we'll practice how to navigate and negotiate these differences. Yes, it's messy. Yes, it's hard. But how can we begin to heal hearts if we can't mend the gaps among ourselves? I heard this phrase about unity the other day: "same-ness has never been the goal — one-ness is the goal." Amen! While it is true that MOI is currently made up of women who are typically similar in backgrounds, beliefs, educational philosophies, and even ethnicity, that's not where we'll stay.
I'll tell anyone who will listen what I'm desperately trying to teach my children; find the common ground - seek to discover and understand a person's core values — identify where agreements can be made and build on those things. Soften your own opinions enough so that there can be room for someone else's. That doesn't mean let go of it- just make room for both to exist together -take time to examine the other side and "see" with genuine kindness and understanding.
The work of MOI - when it is working as it should - is to address the very things this lovely mother is feeling and expressing. I'd like to link arms with her and say don't give up! We need her, and we need you to continue opening the dialog. Return kindness for rudeness and persistence for despair.
(Passing Favors by Caitlin Connolly)
"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse. We need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed. We need more goodness. We have enough vanity, we need more virtue. We have enough popularity, we need more purity." --Margaret Nadauld