Mothers of Preschoolers: “MOPs Raised Me as a Mom”

With three little ones younger than 2.5 years old, Danielia Mateja came to her first Mothers of Preschoolers meeting out of sheer desperation.

“I was almost in a comatose fashion,” Danielia said. “I wasn’t looking for friends; I was just in survival mode. I used MOPs as a place to go, and a place to breathe. For awhile it was just to survive.”

Motherhood wasn’t what she expected, Danielia explained.

“I thought I was going to put our kids in daycare, but my husband wanted me to stay home,” she said. “So I said, ‘Sure, I’ll try it.’ In my naiveness, I thought I would play games and read with them … but motherhood ended up being a lot of function without a lot of connection — there was endless diapers and cleaning and feeding. When one would end, the next would begin.”

A depression of sorts set in for Danielia as the reality of caring for so many small children at once showed itself day in and day out.

Mops2014log“Yes, there were adorable and sweet moments,” she said, “but a lot more often it was just working at keeping them alive, clean and safe. And all of that was blowing my mind. I felt like a zombie walking around, and I didn’t savor the moments like I wish I would have because I was  always looking at the next thing coming.”

At MOPs, Danielia didn’t just find a break from the chaos of motherhood {children are cared for onsite in the MOPPETs program}, but she also found women on a similar path who poured into her life, offering friendship, wisdom and practical help in her motherhood journey.

“MOPs helped me refocus my expectations so I could enjoy that season of motherhood simply because then my expectations were more realistic,” she said. “And there were other women who felt this way. I thought ‘Wait! I’m not alone!’ I thought I was the only one with a chaotic life.”

Danielia found great guidance from the leaders of MOPs, too.

“The MOPs leaders and speakers helped me see that {motherhood} was a beautiful thing I was doing, that this was what God had planned for me,” she said. “After {motherhood} had felt so icky, it went from stressful to beautiful … MOPs has really helped raise me as a mother.”

Now further into her mothering journey with children ages 13, 12,11 and 3, Danielia volunteers as a MOPs contact mom who enjoys investing in women’s lives at this stage of motherhood. She encouraged moms — no matter where they are on their journey — to come experience it for themselves.

“Part of the beauty of MOPs is that can be whatever you need it to be in the beginning,” she shared. “Women come in with all different kinds of needs but they connect at the same place {of motherhood}. There’s not a lot of places where that happens.”

MOPs begins Thursday, Sept. 5 for group one and Thursday, Sept. 12 for group two.

For more information about MOPs, please contact Dani Halverson at delcomrocks@gmail.com or Katie Lind at ktlbc95@gmail.com.

Or learn more about Immanuel MOPs here!

The Monday After: Annual Celebration Sunday {Anita}

You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, August 25, 2013: Annual Celebration Sunday

By Anita Everly

Remember the old childhood song with hand gestures that goes:  here is the church, here is the steeple, open it up and here are all the people?  That comes to mind after a Sunday like yesterday.
It’s true that the people are the church but the building is the church, too.  It’s a home, school, respite and hub of where the activity of our people radiates out into our community, work places, and families.  Immanuel Church is a gathering place where imperfect people come to seek what Christ has to offer.  Were it not for the Spirit moving people into this building, many would never have received that Hope.  And we give thanks for the sacrifice and generosity of the many who enable our church to function.
Sunday’s Annual Celebration was just that—a celebration of what we as the people of church have been able to do through the opportunities given through stepping through the doors of Immanuel Church.
It is a place where a man named Terry can be led by the Holy Spirit and find steady growth in who he is in God’s eyes.  Where he can be pushed out of his comfort zone and used in ministries for God’s glory and proclaim, “God’s outrageous grace is for me, too.”  It’s a place where he can confront the lies of satan and be assured of the truth that he is a new creation in Christ.
It’s a place where a guy named Javier is sought out to be part of a new men’s ministry and is challenged to obey the promptings of the Lord.  It’s where he finds a mentor, another man of God, who invests personally in his life.   In turn, Javier is able to pour into the lives of men playing basketball each Monday night.
It’s a place where a broken and disillusioned woman named Christy comes and is healed and stretched in her giftedness beyond what she could ever imagine.  So much so that she is able to equip others in spreading God’s word and leave them strong in their leadership while she goes on to pursue the next chapter of God’s plan for her life.
And it’s a place where hundreds have been touched by the ministries, come to salvation in Christ and serve to help others in specific ways that the Lord has placed on their hearts.
Truly, we all have a story to tell or one that is currently being written.
What all of these celebration stories from yesterday all have in common is that the individuals have all had an encounter with Christ and with His people who meet at this common ground on Dilley’s Road.
As I reflected on these stories, I was keenly aware of the many people at church who have spurred me on, challenged me and been people who speak life and truth to me.  And though I can be fiercely independent and introverted, I was challenged by these testimonies to be open to more community and to invest more in others, realizing again that we were made for community and God always shows up when we risk opening ourselves up to more than just Christ, but to His people, too.
Yes, we are Christians, but we are still human; the community of church will still be messy and hurt and disappoint, but this church is also where we can be authentic and honest about all that.  Where we can forgive and be forgiven and love and be loved, again and again.
It’s a place where we can be home, with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Thank you, Lord, for the place and people of Immanuel Church.

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

How is God leading you to continue the good work He started in you? Is He asking you to invest yourself into something new? Giving of your time? Your love? Your friendship? Your resources? Your talent? It’s all His, and He’s graciously given it to us. How can we give back? If you’d like to get plugged in somewhere to serve, please email DianeV@immanuelhome.org

ICYouth: San Diego Recap {Gracie}

Your generosity to Accelerate helps transform lives! Every Friday, we’re taking a peek at how God is working in the lives of our impact students. This week, we’re wrapping up our San Diego mission trip series. 

by Gracie Adamek

During my time in San Diego, we went to an adult day center, essentially a day care for the elderly, and I met a lot of really interesting people.

The majority of the men and women that we encountered had some sort of disability. Maybe they’d had a stroke and it effected their body or they had Dementia or something of that nature. Regardless of any ailment they may have had, I learned something from everyone I came in contact with!

There was this awesome man named Don who never missed an opportunity to remind the students that we could be anything we wanted to be and to never stop reaching for our dreams. There was a lady named Muriel from Panama who was very feisty and loved to laugh at herself and sometimes at others. She reminded me not to take life too seriously and to laugh often — a good thing to remember! And lastly, I met a really cool woman named Phyllis who was absolutely the funniest and sweetest woman in the whole place. She repeatedly said that no matter how hard a situation was, with God, “It’s gonna be alright.” Her main goal in life, Phyllis said, is to make at least one person smile a day. I think that is so great because she really, genuinely cares about other people and making them have a good day. That should be more people’s daily goal, I think!

I learned a lot from those people, and I hope those lessons stick with me forever.

Snapshot_20121212Gracie Adamek is a junior at Lakes Community High School. She enjoys singing, acting and spending time with friends! Gracie is so grateful for this opportunity and hopes to glorify God 100% through this!

World Outreach: God At Work Through Immanuel

Over the summer months, the Immanuel Church family has been a vital partner with those individuals who shared the Good News of Jesus in San Diego, California as well as China and Haiti. We celebrate the individuals who stepped out of their comfort zones in obedience, to be experience different cultures & climates to be Jesus and how God uses each of His children to bring others into fellowship.

Xi'an city wall, China

China

Tyler Brooks joined a team of young adults bound to China. These young adults sought out university students looking to share their own relationship with Christ. Here’s a glimpse:  “It has been amazing to see how even halfway across the world He is working in and through people’s lives. While on the outside we may look and act different we are all part of His big picture. Students are very open and receptive about the things we share with them regarding our culture and core beliefs. And while we enjoy sharing with them, it has been a privilege to learn just as much if not more from the students here. Their desire to share about their culture and beliefs has made our friendships much stronger. The Father is truly moving through the lives of many students here.

San Diego

The IMPACT team (high school students and leaders) had the opportunity to partner with YouthWorks to serve children, elderly, and others in the San Diego communities. Our students served at a food bank by putting together & handing out food parcels as spending time with individuals at an adult daycare site to be Jesus to those they encountered.

haitian-children

Haiti

The Immanuel team once again partnered with Bright Hope in Pignon, Haiti this summer. Spending time with individuals was the way this team ministered to the Haitians: hearing the stories of those blessed through the microloan program, playing games with the children attending VBS, serving a meal to the Haut Savanette students.

THANK YOU, Immanuel Church, for your faithful support to reach the world with the Good News of Christ! It is only possible through your generous giving to Accelerate, our one fund, and prayerful support that individuals, families, students and adults may go to help others know Christ and to grow to be like Him.