I became a MOPS mentor completely by accident. Imagine a mother of college-aged kids (that’s me) crashing a MOPS meeting with the sole purpose of introducing herself to the guest speaker, who happened to be a published author.
As I walked into our church foyer, amongst a gaggle of infants in car seats and toddlers holding their mama’s hands, I felt a little out of place. Thankfully, the MOPS leaders who welcomed me didn’t pass judgement. They merely handed me a copy of the author’s book, suggested that I help myself to a hot breakfast (really?) and told me to enjoy the speaker. Mission accomplished!
My plan was to introduce myself to the author, Abbie, and get her insights on self-publishing versus pitching my book to publishers. There was one tiny flaw in my caper – I found myself chiming into the discussion that followed Abbie’s presentation and admitting that I was, in fact, a mother of college students.
After I had successfully cornered Abbie and was heading out the door, two of the MOPS leaders approached me. I held my breath, certain that they were going to chastise me. Instead, they earnestly asked if I’d consider being a MOPS mentor. I agreed on the spot, despite having no idea what a mentor was or what it entailed.
A few weeks later, as I was leaving the gym, I noticed one of the very same MOPS leaders at a splash pad outside. I went over to say, “hello” and she introduced me to a group of moms who had just moved to Park City. One was from the Midwest, just like me, and we connected immediately.
Fast forward to my first MOPS meeting as a mentor. I was cutting steaming casseroles and arranging yummy baked goods on the brunch table, when a young mom with a toddler on her hip approached. I offered to hold her daughter so she could help herself to breakfast. She reminded me that we had met at the splash pad. That was the beginning of my first experience as a MOPS mentor and the start of a beautiful friendship.
Over the next few months, I got to know each of Erin’s three kids, all under the age of six, at MOPS meetings and during playdates. She and I talked about the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom and the importance of date nights with our husbands. We laughed and cried, hugged and prayed together. Even though I was mentoring her, Erin filled a void in my heart that had been there since my kids went away to college. While I was blessing her as MOPS mentor, God was blessing me right back with a much-needed friend.
As I start my second year as a MOPS mentor, it’s easy to see now that it really wasn’t an accident at all. God, who loves us so much and has a purpose for every single one of our lives, knew that while I had a heart to serve, I was also in need of enriching friendships while I adjusted to the empty nest. So, he blessed me not only with Erin, but with an entire leadership team full of new friends to pray with and do life with.
Even my conversation with Abbie, the author, during my not-so-stealthy escapade was part of God’s plan. When I explained to Abbie the premise of my book, she looked at me with total certainty and said, “It sounds like you’ve got a really great idea. I’d self-publish a 100 books on Amazon and never look back.” And that’s exactly what I did.
Liz Yokubison is a proud mother of college-aged twins and lives in Park City, Utah with her husband and their rescue dog Cooper. In addition to being a MOPS mentor, Liz is also the author of They’re Ready. Are You? A Parent’s Guide to the College Transition. She regularly writes blogs for parents of college students on her website: lizyokubison.com.