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13/09/2017

Doing life with mums in Cowplain

mumsgroup 
Sue Roseblade lives in Cowplain with her husband and runs the mums and babies group at Cowplain Evangelical Church. She told us about running Life Explored with a group of mothers.

Although I have been married for almost 40 years and have four married children and four little grandsons, in the last five years I have re-entered the world of babies and young mothers.
 

Bumps and Babes 

I run the mums and babies group, ‘Bumps and Babes’, at our church in Cowplain.

We keep the format very simple. The church has bought a professional coffee machine and we have a stalwart Grandad who comes every week and makes drinks ‘to die for’. The mums all love him as much as they love his fancy hot chocolates!

So we have coffee and cake and our team of helpers are devoted to asking those familiar questions as we welcome each new mum into the group:

  • How’s the feeding going?
  • How are you doing at night?
  • Do you have family nearby who are supporting you?
  • Have you made friends with some other mums since you left work?


Conversations about struggles with health, sleep or partners who don’t help out, sadness over miscarriages and broken relationships and questions about whether or not they should get their child Christened come up over and over again as the mums open up their hearts to us.

Few of them have any Christian faith or other Christian contacts, and so this is a mission field that has come to us!
 

Pushing the boat out

We started thinking about what we could do that was more than just listening, empathising and letting them know that they are not alone. We started with a bookstall of discounted parenting and relationship resources, then a parenting course and a book group on relationships.

This led me to ‘push the boat out’ and advertise a Life Explored course at my house earlier this year.

I chose Life Explored, because it didn’t have the word 'Christianity' in it – so it came out in conversation a little more easily, without people’s shutters coming down quite so soon.
 

I chose Life Explored, because it didn’t have the word 'Christianity' in it – so it came out in conversation a little more easily, without people’s shutters coming down quite so soon.

Eventually we got started on a fortnightly basis and there were five of us in total, including a Christian friend of mine. I argued with God about whether it was worth it.

The smallness of the group quickly proved to be a good thing from the point of view of getting comfortable with each other. Each week I was nervous about how to keep the conversation flowing and we found that the intro films helped break the ice.

Everybody really liked the talks by Rico and his team. It was refreshing to hear such down to earth explanations of how the gospel relates to people’s lives and circumstances.

 

A ruined day but a changed heart

One of the sessions particularly stands out. Earlier on my day had been turned upside down when my car broke down. My agenda had gone out of the window and then the question came at Life Explored that evening: ‘What keeps you going in difficult situations?’

I felt I had nothing to say that compared with the difficulties I knew that each of the other four in the room had been through in their lives. I hoped that being the one asking the question I might not have to answer it. But somebody turned the tables on me, and suddenly I was in the hot seat. So I said that although I’d not experienced trauma in the way that some of them had, perhaps I could just tell them about my day.
 

I felt I had nothing to say that compared with the difficulties I knew that each of the other four in the room had been through in their lives.

Four sessions later when I was asking the group what had been the most significant thing about the course for them, one mum said that it was hearing how I dealt with that car breakdown ‘without effing and blinding’ that got her ‘off the fence’.

The next week she prayed a very detailed prayer for salvation and she has been coming to church regularly since. 

 

Was it worth it? 

So was it worth it? Of course it was! Experiencing God at work in the life of just one lost sheep is always worth it.

And although the group was small, I had time to invest in these women in a way that I couldn’t if the group had been bigger. 

Life Explored has been the most exciting and purposeful thing I have done this year. 

Find out more about Life Explored

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