Mandy, CEO and President of MOPS Intl., had the honor and privilege of speaking this truth and prayer over the moms at MOMcon 2021. If you find yourself in a place where you need to hear honest, powerful words of freedom and truth, we invite you to read the words below with courage and an open heart.
We aren’t a community that pretends we have it all together or that needs to hide our pain or shame or hurt from one another. And I’m certain it’s because we follow the way of Jesus who shows us how it’s done.
There is a story in the Bible, in the book written by a guy name John, that sums this up perfectly.
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11, NIV)
When it seemed like everyone, most likely herself included, thought she had messed up beyond repair, Jesus stands up and protects her, speaks life to her and reminds everyone pointing fingers at her that they’ve messed up too. Then in private, once everyone had left, Jesus encourages her that it’s time to get rid of the shame, habits and decisions that are hurting her.
We have all come to this room with things on our minds. Which is why we are going to take a few minutes right now to talk to God about all of it. I am going to pray, and as I do, you can just be open to whatever God wants to say to you.
God, right now in this moment as we sit quietly, will you speak so clearly that we each hear specifically what you want to say to us?
I want to pray for those of us who are exhausted. Mentally or physically tired. The ones who have done everything for eighteen months but still don’t feel like they can let their guard down. And for the ones who have put up a hard shell around them, who are afraid to be soft or gentle because they are afraid of getting hurt. Remind them you are our protector, so we can take off our armor.
For the ones who feel like they are falling behind. Those who are worried about how to pay their bills, or whose anxiety or depression have become unmanageable. The ones who are lacking friends or lacking a job. The ones who are worried about a kid who seems to be falling behind. Jesus, will you show up and remind us that you are a God who provides and protects? There is no lack in the kingdom of God. We don’t need to worry or fear, because you are already providing a way forward.
God, I want to lift up the ones who show up and smile and laugh but still carry grief with them every day. The mothers of the miscarried. The ones who feel like they can’t fall apart because they have to keep it together for everyone else. The ones who are mourning the loss of a loved one. For those who have been physically or sexually assaulted and carry the trauma with them. God, right now would you give them relief. In their bodies, right now would you bring peace, comfort and the knowledge that you are with them in all of the unbearable pain. Right now, would you free them from the weight of grief and replace it with the lightness of joy. Not that the hard things are not there but that they wouldn’t feel so all-consuming. You are a God who restores what has been lost.
God, for the ones in this room who are doubting. Doubting their marriage is going to survive. The ones who doubt that they can make it one more day and have thought about taking their own lives. The ones who doubt they are enough. Those who are facing fears about their health, or who are wrestling with whether you are even real. God, I appreciate so much that you are not fazed by doubt or impossible situations. Instead, you are a God of power who does exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine. So God, we pray for miracles. Show up with so much force and certainty that we stand completely astounded by what you are doing.
God, for the ones who are sitting here and feel left out. The ones who have been mistreated because of the color of their skin. Jesus, the people who others discount are the ones who you raise up to do world-changing things. Remind anyone feeling misjudged or talked about behind their back that you see them and love them.
And for the parents, the ones who are worried about their kids’ health or the choices one of their kids is making. The parents who yell too much or say mean things or have hit a kid out of anger and feel so much regret and shame but still do it again. The stepparents and the parents whose kids have joined their family through adoption or fostering and have come with trauma. God, would you change the course of their family and create through them a legacy of love that extends for generations.
And lastly, I want to pray for the ones who feel like they have been fighting the same battles, dealing with the same crises and grappling with the same issues but still don’t see a way out. For the ones who partake in too much of something — something that makes us feel better for a moment but then leaves us feeling terrible after. Too much wine, too much shopping or porn, too much food. Anything that numbs our pain in the moment but leaves us feeling horrible after. God, you aren’t disgusted by our messes. Our mistakes don’t disqualify us from good things. You couldn’t care less about what we have or haven’t accomplished. Remind us that you love us unconditionally. God, whatever it is that we feel enslaved to right now, break off the chains that have been holding us captive. God, would you radically and immediately free us from our addictions, our coping habits, the things we use to numb. God, may today be a day of freedom.
God, we know that the hard part about getting free from our stuff is that we have to go through it. It won’t work to go around or pretend it’s not there. Transformation always requires that we stand up to it and get honest about it. Which is why in a minute, I am going to give everyone an opportunity to stand up and declare that today is a day of getting free, of asking God for a fresh start.
But let me be perfectly clear, if you are sitting there and worried about what other people are going to think about you standing up, or if they are going to wonder why you are standing up, then let me assure you of one thing: We care more about your healing than about your reputation. And not one of us, including myself, can honestly say that we don’t have an area of our life that doesn’t need prayer.
If you are sitting in this room and there is something that you need healing from or freedom from or something you are worried about, if there is a part of your life that feels broken and you need Jesus to show up, if today is the day you want transformation, then I want to invite you to stand up right now so that we can close by praying for you.
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