Our MOPS group is a dynamic, inviting environment where moms can come just as they are to build friendships, be encouraged, and gain practical parenting strategies. All while their children are lovingly cared for in the MOPPETS program.

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Week at MOPS

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We hope everyone's heart was changed in some way this week after hearing Michele Barnes speak.  Michele is Real Life's Business Administrator and is on the Worship Team.  In addition, she and her husband, Dr. Jeff Barnes opened Wellspring Christian Counseling Center together.  Michele talked to us about female relationships and just how important it is to find a few true friends to confide in, confess and tell us when we're wrong.  Michele referred to these true friends as "Soul Sistas," which her daughter used to define her truest friend who knows her inside and out.  Here's the outline from Michele's speech:

God and Soul Sista’s

I. Women often feel alone even in a crowded room

a. We feel as if no one really understands us

b. We can not share the deepest part of ourselves

II. Why do women feel alone?

a. Look at creation

b. Each thing God created became more intricate and wonderful

c. We think God’s great symphony ended with His most prized creation; a man created in God’s own image.

i. Walked and talked with God

ii. Appears to be perfect ending

d. God said that it was not good

i. Eve was missing

ii. Eve is God’s flourishing touch to His creation symphony

e. We sometimes miss the significance of this

i. Women were also created in God’s image; to reflect His image in a different way than man

f. God desires an intimate relationship with every individual

i. Woman was created to demonstrate this desire

g. Satan deceives us into feeling alone so that we will not develop a Godly, intimate relationship with each other

i. Vital to our emotional well-being

ii. Vital to our spiritual well-being

III. Root causes for not creating intimate relationships

a. Pride – Proverbs 16:18

i. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

ii. Pride destructs…especially relationships.

b. Exalting Pride

i. Constantly showing off the accomplishments of our children.

ii. Exaggerating, because the simple truth doesn’t get enough reaction.

iii. Serving or volunteering just to be noticed.

iv. Feeling entitled to star treatment, especially during times of sacrificial work.

v. Maneuvering for a preferred position in our extended family, community, or workplace.

vi. Luke 11:43

1. “You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flatter.”

vii. When we exalt ourselves, we aren’t exalting God; we are seizing the credit that belongs to God and claiming it as if we achieved our position through our own merit.

c. Worthlessness

i. Deceptive form of pride that masquerades as humility, but is really a reverse method of attracting attention.

ii. Women who overwork and let others take advantage of them.

iii. Women who have a difficult time accepting help, gifts, or compliments because they don’t feel worthy, or who feel like it’s shameful or awkward to need help.

iv. Perfectionists who secretly try to prove they are worthy by absolutely controlling some area of their lives.

v. Women who are down on themselves and are constantly pointing out their shortcomings, failures, or areas where someone else is better.

vi. Many women tear themselves down so that someone will notice and build them back up.

d. Pride from a judgmental spirit

i. Attacks others be devaluing them and tearing them down

ii. Women who are critical

iii. Women who are irritable

iv. Women who are intolerant

v. Women who are argumentative

vi. Women who are self-righteous

vii. Attacking others and trying to change them is commandeering the place of the Holy Spirit in other people’s lives.

e. Pride that ignores others – women who are too proud to receive input

i. Not being teachable. The attitude of “I already have my act together” closes women to the efforts of others to speak into their lives.

ii. Remaining stuck in bad patterns. Some women see their past and their personality as a trap in which they’re stuck, instead of realizing they can choose either to stay the same or change their behavior. For some, the statement “You need to accept me the way I am” is a smoke screen they use to avoid changing bad habits.

iii. Never admitting fault. This is the “hard of hearing” woman, who doesn’t seem to perceive or internalize any words of correction, advice, rebuke, instruction, or warning.

iv. Ignoring others is a refusal to be influenced by those the Holy Spirit is trying to use to speak into your life – telling God: I’m fine just the way I am.

f. Second root cause is hidden insecurities

i. Due to childhood abuse

ii. Due to past betrayal in an important relationship

iii. Due to perceived physical defects or deficiencies

iv. Due to perceived personality deficiencies

v. Psalm 27:10

1. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.

vi. Isaiah 54:10

1. For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart. The God who has compassion on you says so.

vii. 1 Peter 3:3-4

1. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate your inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

g. Third root cause is hidden sin.

i. Confess the sin to God

ii. Repent and move/RUN in the opposite direction

iii. Confess the sin to a trusted friend who will pray for you and hold you accountable to your decision to flee from sin.

iv. James 5:16

1. “Make this your common practice: confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”

2. When we confess our sins to each other and pray for each other we will live together WHOLE and HEALED. A great lifestyle!

v. When we are living right with God, our prayers are POWERFUL! – verses 17-20:

1. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring them back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the way of error will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

IV. What do we need? A Soul Sista’!

a. Helps guard are hearts and souls from the enemy

b. Phrase came from my daughter, Morgan, and is how she describes her relationship with her best friend Nikki

i. They share their deepest longings, hurts and fears with each other

ii. They know the other person as well as they know themselves

c. What a soul sista’ isn’t

i. It’s not just a surface relationship

ii. It’s not a sexual relationship

d. What a soul sista’ is

i. An intimate relationship without walls

ii. A friend we can go to and share our most secret shame, our deepest needs and our most joyous triumphs

iii. Someone who helps guard our souls from Satan’s lies, tricks and schemes

iv. Helps restore the intimate relationship with God that we each desire.

V. I want a soul sista’!

a. I prayed for years for a soul sista’

b. Discovered that to find a soul sista’, you must first “be” a soul sista’

c. Throw off those things that hinder a soul sista’ relationship

i. Comparisons

1. When we compare ourselves to others, we either come out better, causing pride, or come up short, damaging our self-esteem

2. We each have wonderful God-given gifts to offer each other

3. We should embrace each other with acceptance and love

ii. Gossip

1. Galatians 5:15

a. “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

2. 2 Timothy 2:16

a. “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”

3. Proverbs 17:9

a. “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”

4. Ephesians 4:29

a. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

d. Why does my soul sista’ relationship work?

i. No pride aloud. We each have eliminated the pride that hinders friendships and have allowed ourselves to be open, honest, and vulnerable in this relationship.

ii. God-esteem has replaced self-esteem. We have allowed our value to come from God instead of from others. In this way we do not feel the need to compare ourselves to each other.

iii. Confidentiality. We know that the things we share in confidence will stay in confidence. Because of this, we can confess our short-comings and sins and eliminate any hidden sin in our lives.

iv. No Judgment. We know that we will not be judged. This does not mean that we do not confront each other’s sin, but it is only out of love and for the purpose of holding each other accountable and this is something we have committed to each other that we will do for each other.

v. Laughter. We enjoy each other’s company. We share the same humor and can laugh together.

vi. Love. Most importantly, we love each other with the love of God. We understand that God has placed us in each other’s lives to show His love to each other. Our relationship is an example of the intimate relationship that God wants to have with each of us.

1. Have you currently or in the past made comparisons to other women? If so, how has this affect your own self-esteem as well as your relationship with other women?

2. How has gossip hurt your friendships?

3. Do you currently have a “soul sista’”? If so, what makes this relationship so valuable to you?

4. If you don’t have a “soul sista’” what is it about this kind of relationship that you find appealing?

5. Name the one biggest hindrance that currently exists between you and a “soul sista’” relationship.

6. What will you do today to help eliminate that hindrance that you identified above?

Thanks to everyone who brought in items for our Homeless Kits.  Keep them coming as we'll be collecting all month long.  We are also continuing to collect pre-school friendly snacks for the Fall Festival at Real Life.  We only have one more meeting this month before we'll need the snacks for the MOPS booth on Friday, October 29th. 

If you couldn't make it this week, you were missed.  We will see you in two weeks!