Ministry Helps Moms Pursue God's Wisdom
- Whitney Von Lake Hopler Contributing Writer
- 2003 21 Mar
Raising another human being from birth to adulthood is one of the most significant, rewarding and challenging jobs anyone can ever tackle. So mothers need wisdom - and lots of it. That's exactly what Denise Glenn was looking for when she poured over a myriad of parenting books as a new mom in the early 1980s. But each of the books she read in her local Texas library offered different ideas, and much of the advice conflicted. After a while, she recalled, "I became more and more confused and desperate."
It was only when she began plumbing the Bible's wisdom on parenthood that Glenn discovered what she needed. "The Bible is really the only good place to go to get answers," she said. "They are always true, always relevant, and they're not ever going to change."
As Glenn encountered God's wisdom for herself as a mom to three preschool-aged daughters, she sensed God calling her to share her discoveries with other moms. So she met with several other moms at her house every week to pray together, and soon began writing informal Bible studies in the form of handouts. It was 1981, and the MotherWise ministry had been born.
By 1997, Glenn published her first full-length Bible study, Freedom for Mothers, which focuses on John chapter 15. Several others have followed since then - Wisdom for Mothers (based on Proverbs chapter 31), Restore My Heart (which highlights the books of Ephesians and Revelation) and FatherWise: Freedom for Fathers (based on John chapter 15, and written by Glenn's husband David Glenn from a man's perspective).
Now moms gather weekly in more than 600 MotherWise groups across the United States to study the Bible, pray, and mentor one another. About half of those groups also participate in aerobic exercise together. ("Exercise is a great way to release stress, foster openness among the group, and warm up minds as well as bodies," Glenn said.) And since the ministry has recently expanded to include dads, about 20 FatherWise groups currently meet as well.
"MotherWise isn't a formula, just as Christianity isn't," Glenn said. "It's about growing in a relationship to Jesus Christ. Motherhood is really the perfect opportunity to learn what it means to be surrendered to God's will and heart for you."
Besides the weekly meetings and Bible studies, MotherWise provides resources such as videos, e-mail newsletters, retreats, workshops and radio shows.
While other groups give mothers opportunities to pray together (such as Moms in Touch) or share information and social time (such as Mothers of Preschoolers), MotherWise places its main emphasis on Bible studies.
"These studies have kept me in the Word and taught me many biblical truths that I can apply to being the wife and mom God wants me to be," said Pam Griner, a Georgia mom who has two children: 5-year-old daughter Kendall and 1-year-old son Colby.
Glenn said she tried to make the Bible studies challenging as she wrote them. "These Bible studies are not for sissies," she said, laughing. "They don't take long - just 20 to 30 minutes a day. But they're challenging because they call you to trust God at deep levels, to really be obedient to Him." The Bible studies are designed to motivate moms to think and pray about what God says in His Word, rather than simply outlining biblical principles, said Glenn. "I didn't want just to give out all the answers and leave it at that," she said. "I wanted them to be discovery studies."
Texas mom Tammy Moore had an 18-month-old daughter and was battling cancer when she first encountered MotherWise. "I was totally stressed out!" recalled Moore, whose daughter Alexis is now 6 years old. "Basically, I did not attend church very consistently, prayed only occasionally, and lived life totally on my own strengths. Living life like
that is very unfulfilling and stressful. But, the Lord totally changed me and saved me through MotherWise. He has taught me how to live life on His strengths alone. He has taken me down the path of cancer with an amazing peace - the kind of peace He promises us in His word that surpasses understanding. He's taught me how to be a godly mother and wife and live to serve Him and others instead of myself."
Participating in MotherWise has been a significant blessing, Moore said. "I had never studied the Bible before I was in MW [MotherWise] and I had never prayed aloud. I'm so thankful the Lord has taught me how to do these things because it is such a blessing to learn more about Him through His word and to pray for others. I don't know where I'd be right now without MW and what God has done in my life through it, but I know I wouldn't have the happiness and fulfillment I now have."
Griner has been meeting with other moms through a MotherWise group for nearly three years, and "we were, and still are accountable to each other," she said. When she first heard about MotherWise, Griner recalled, she decided to attend a conference simply to spend a fun weekend with three close friends "to get away and do a little shopping." However, she recalled, "Little did we know that God had other plans for us. After hearing Denise teach on being a godly wife and mom and the Holy Spirit really working on my heart I realized that I needed to make some changes and MotherWise seemed to be the jumping-off point. We came home and started MotherWise at our church. Almost three years later God has worked miracles through MotherWise and has changed numerous marriages and families through these Bible studies."
Participating in the group has greatly enriched her prayer life, said Griner. "Probably most significantly, MotherWise taught me the importance of prayer and how to pray with and for other women. As I have stayed on my knees God has opened doors for me left and right to share my faith, encourage others in their walk, and to serve Him."
Glenn said she hopes that all mothers - no matter how many children they have, or how old those children are - feel welcome at MotherWise. "Every child is different, every situation is different, but God wants to speak to everyone. God has been extravagant in how He has poured out His heart for this ministry."
Visit MotherWise at www.motherwise.org