The “Real” Mom Myth

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My journey toward adopting our beautiful girls started when I was 13 and learned that when the time came for my future husband and me to start a family, adoption would be the only way for me to become a mother (that is a whole other blog article). Like many events in life I could not foresee the emotions, challenges and struggles that would come with adopting. I also could not foresee the joy, love, and opportunities adopting would bring.

When I was asked to write this blog article, I discovered that there were so many things to share. But, one stood out. It may not seem earth-shattering, but to me it was: I AM A REAL MOM.

Not too long ago, God solidified this for me. Over time, it eventually sank in that I was their mom. I am a mom. These are my daughters. I realized that every parent, whether through adoption or birth, was chosen by God to raise their children.

I often wondered and was even brought to tears many times because I would not have that oh-so-hallmark-channel “hospital” scene with the anxious, pacing husband and extended family waiting. You know the scene – the one where friends visit with flowers and baby gifts. I would not have the picturesque pregnancy photo shoot or a “gender reveal” party. Honestly, it made me feel not quite “womanly” at times, as if I was missing out (and as the youngest of 4 kids, I HATE missing out).

Then, one day God reminded me that I was every bit a mom, woman and child of God as any other woman who may have given birth the more conventional way. He helped me see that adoption, while different than pregnancy and childbirth, has many similarities. Adoptive moms wait anxiously for their child’s arrival – some longer than others, some shorter (like ours, which happened in a matter of hours – yet another blog article).

IMG_0812I found out most moms also worry about making mistakes and sending their child into therapy sessions with Dr. Phil. Sweet mommas who gave birth to their children may also have a hard time “connecting” with their child at different stages along the way. Adoptive moms and biological moms both get asked silly questions at the grocery store by total strangers! Who knew?!

I want to encourage adoptive mommas that you are “real” moms, and you’re not crazy for feeling like you aren’t at times. I want to encourage all moms that when you see a fellow mom in the trenches, having a moment or feeling “stress-paralyzed”, remind them are a good mom (yes, like the “Mom’s Night Out” scene!). We all get a little critical of ourselves and could use the encouragement.

Adoption is a blessing, but we are not heroes. Adoption is simply how God ordained us to have the blessing of children. And, God has certainly used our adoption in many ways. I am still humbled at the opportunities He brings us because of our sweet girls. Because of adoption, we have met people we wouldn’t normally have met and we’ve had conversations with people we may not have talked to otherwise. Adoption Awareness month is a great reminder to pray for those who are on this amazing journey! Pray for children waiting for their life-long families and pray for families deciding if adoption is what God is calling them to do.


{This article is written by Emily Roten.  Emily is a wife and mother who works from home as a beauty consultant.  Originally from just outside Seattle, she loves coffee (of course) but has adjusted nicely to the florida sunshine since she and her family moved to florida in May of 2013.  She and her husband Michael have 2 darling daughters ages 5 and 6, so life is NEVER EVER dull.  From an early age Emily has felt a calling from God to encourage, disciple and minister to women, particiarly in the areas of marriage, adoption and infertility.}

Katie’s Story

I’m not going to just serve anymore.   Before you judge me, read until the end and decide if you will stop just serving too. I’m not saying serving is a bad thing to do, I’m just suggesting another way of thinking about it. There’s more to serving… here’s my story and the event that happened that has changed me.

I grew up in church. I watched my dad serve as a deacon and Sunday School teacher; my mom served by providing meals and ice cream at our church fellowships (yes, you might guess… I grew up Baptist and we ate a lot!). As I got older, it became my turn to serve. I kept the nursery, led some youth groups, and took meals to the sick. You know, the usual. Serving was a family tradition.

Over time, I began to view service as an act of worship. And that hasn’t changed for me. I spend time serving in the preschool and special needs ministries at Chets. Sometimes I am with children who are able to understand the spiritual lessons of God’s creation and His love for us, but often the work is rather ordinary. Nevertheless, I am convinced that every diaper changed, every lego picked up, every snack provided, and every baby rocked is as much an act of worship as the lessons taught (Colossians 3:23-24).

I agree with Rick Warren who teaches that we are created to serve God. The Bible confirms this truth. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). In addition, serving is also rewarded. Hebrews 6:10 says “ God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (NIV).

So if serving for me is tradition, worship, and rewarded, aren’t those all good reasons I should serve? The fundamental word here is should. I don’t know about you, but the word should just does something to me. And that something is called guilt! Not healthy guilt related to godly sorrow, but destructive guilt that leads to self-condemnation, and distorted thinking. The “shoulds” related to serving have “wiggled” into my thinking attempting to rob me of the joy of service and the blessings.

But God very lovingly dealt with me on this issue. Last Fall, I agreed to facilitate one of the Tuesday morning women’s Bible studies. My motives were not should-driven, but rather a Yes-response to God’s prompting. Our study was on the book of Esther. If you are familiar with the story, you know that a very pivotal moment is when Esther has to make a decision. She is either going to participate in God’s plan to rescue the Jews from destruction, or His plan would be accomplished another way. Mordecai says to Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.” (Esther 4:14, NIV). Esther indeed gave God a Yes-response to His prompting, and through her willingness to participate she received tha blessing of witnessing God’s plan unfold.

During the study of Esther, I experienced the blessing of seeing God’s plan unfold in the life of a beautiful young lady in the class. Katie had moved to Jacksonville for the purpose of awaiting a double lung transplant. We had met the previous Spring while members of another women’s study at Chets. Katie always had a bounce in her step. I never heard her complain about carrying the oxygen tank or her illness. When she entered the room, it always seemed brighter. Her smile was contagious. As I got to know her, I learned that she was godly young lady, seeking Him in all her life. When she came to the Esther study I was facilitating, I was thrilled to have her as a member. I knew she would be a blessing to the group.

About four weeks into the study of Esther, as I was driving my daughter to school, we were preparing to say our prayers, as is our custom. I sensed a prompting from God to pray specifically for Katie. I knew she had been waiting a couple of years for her transplant, and I felt God leading me to pray specifically for her and her transplant. I told my daughter about Katie and we prayed. Two days later, I hear from Katie. She had received the call from Mayo. The time of transplant had arrived. Now, let me be clear. There was nothing magical about my prayer. Neither God nor Katie needed me to pray. His plan was already in place whether I participated or not. But like Esther, God blessed me by allowing me to witness His work. Had I not participated in the Spring Bible study, had I not agreed to facilitate the Fall study, both my daughter and I would have missed out on watching His plans unfold.

So now, I no longer agree to serve… I choose to participate! I choose to participate because I know that whether His plan is revealed to me or not, my yes-response puts me in position to be a part of His work. As Mordecai told Esther, and I paraphrase…. “with or without you, God’s plan will prevail”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out! God’s plan is exciting. I don’t want to spoil a future post here, but Katie is doing amazing!

The double-blessing here is that through this experience God has relieved me from those feelings of guilt associated with the “shoulds” of service. Recently, we have had several unavoidable times in which we have been out of town and I was not able to serve on Sunday mornings as usual. Instead of feeling the guilt associated with not serving, I now feel a sense of longing to return to the areas of service God has allowed me to participate in. I can’t wait to see what else God is going to do! How about you?


{This post was written by Eve Huntley. Eve is a wife, mother, business manager, student and Southerner. She and her husband Joe married five years ago, blending their families. Their five children range in age from 12 to 23. The two oldest now live on their own, leaving three kiddos at home with three rowdy dogs! In other words, they have a super quiet and peaceful home environment…. NOT!  God has given her a passion for helping families with marriage, parenting, and family-of-origin issues.}

Triads – Now What? (Triad Series: Part 3 of 3)

Progress in living the Christian life may have been steady and incremental throughout a believer’s life to this point, but with entry into a triad there is a gear shift to warp speed.

Greg Ogden

Ogden says we are in the “Holy Spirit’s Hothouse of Transformation” when the following three ingredients are present: 1. Open hearts and transparent trust; 2. the truth of God’s Word; and 3. the spirit of mutual accountability.

So, let’s say you’ve got two other women and you are ready to embark on your Triad. Now what? It’s very easy………simply utilize the preferred curriculum, “Discipleship Essentials”, by Greg Ogden. Then just take it one week and one chapter at a time.

Always remember that Disciples are not made quickly. When the Triad is built slowly and solidly it promotes an atmosphere of honesty, accountability and vulnerability. As a result, the ensuing relationships provide a safe place for intimacy, personal care, deep friendships and spiritual bonding (Ogden, page 127). The overwhelming majority of women who have completed a Triad report that they are sweet and beautiful times of deeper study and fellowship.

Since Disciples are not made quickly, your Triad covenant should include the agreement to wait on your sisters. Let’s face it – Life happens! People get sick, go out of town, and have deaths occur in their family. When these things happen it may be necessary to postpone a weekly meeting until the following week. That is okay. You are all three committed to completing this study so you will pick back up the following week. Or, you may decide to meet on another day for that particular week so that you can remain on your weekly schedule. Whatever works best for your three is most important.

Triads are not support groups in and of themselves, but make no mistake… support for one another comes naturally with the growing intimacy of the relationships! Some women with whom I have done these triads have been going through some “major stuff” in their lives – even to the point that they have doubted whether or not they could commit to such a study. Yet, in nearly every single situation, a triad has a been the very thing they have needed the most!

Disciple making and transformation are fanned by the biblical pattern of investing in a few at a time. Triads are a practical strategy for these investments. They provide hope that we can truly fulfill Jesus’ mission statement for the church, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19, Ogden, page 18).

I highly encourage each of you Chets Women to become actively involved in a Triad. If you still have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to email me at layton.2004@gmail.com. I will be praying for each woman within our ministry to be transformed in a beautiful way as the result of a Triad.


{This article was written by Leslie Layton.  Leslie left the corporate world to pursue women’s ministry and she obtained her Master’s Degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She hopes to help women of all ages through her writing and her volunteer work.  Leslie oversees the Transformation and Discipleship portion of the women’s ministry leadership team.  She is currently involved in two discipleship Triads and she facilitates a Bible study on how to convene successful Triads.  Leslie has been married to her husband, Charles, for over 10 years. She and  Charles have 3 grown daughters from his first marriage and they are parents to 2 special needs dogs, Chester and Gracie.}