Today's profile is of a lovely lady who has been raising her children using WholeHearted / MomHeart philosophies since the mid 1990s. With three grown children and two more at home, plus a growing gaggle of grandchildren, Shelly has a unique perspective to offer, both as a mother and as a Mom Heart group leader.I was a young mom living in Southern California when I was “introduced” to Sally Clarkson through my first purchase as a home schooling parent. That purchase was Educating the WholeHearted Child and the year was 1994. I loved the book and the principles I learned in those pages. I read, read and re-read the encouragement between the covers. In 1999, I packed my favorite home schooling resource book and set out for Alaska with my adventurous husband and our growing family. I shared my knowledge and love of Wholehearted living with several moms in our little Alaska village over the years and in the early 2000’s I began to hear of and read about WholeHearted Mother conferences, led by Sally Clarkson. I longed to attend a conference and because I had family in CA thought it may work out sometime, but my desire remained unfulfilled due to the obstacles of long flights and many small children.
September of 2012 was the beginning of a new adventure for our family when we relocated from Alaska to southwest Idaho. After spending so many years in a small village, I found making friends in my new home difficult. Everyone was so busy running here, driving there, and living over-scheduled lives that connecting and building relationship seemed impossible.Knowing that I had to reach out and find women to befriend, I earnestly began a search for like-minded mothers. I prayed and cried and begged God for friends. His answer came in January of 2013 in the form of a Craigslist ad! There was another mom out there looking for connection! Her ad stated that she wanted to form a book club for moms. I love to read and decided to step out and connect with Judy. I emailed her and a few days later received a reply. “I forgot that ad was there! I am not leading a group after all but here is the contact information for my Mom Heart group leader.” Mom Heart? Never heard of it! I wonder what that is all about? I got in contact with Jennie and eagerly wrote down the meeting information. Two weeks later I walked into a living room full of strangers. We read Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally. Sally Clarkson??! The same Sally Clarkson who wrote my beloved Educating the Whole Hearted Child??! Yes! I was so excited to hear that after almost 20 years, Sally was still around, still ministering to moms.Sharing the reading of a book and talking about it was a great way to get to know people and begin to build friendships, even though I was the oldest member with the oldest children. Personalities shone as we shared our struggles, our joys, and the desperate moments we had all experienced as moms and wives. I was genuinely surprised by the depth of sharing that went on at our every other week meetings. Jennie asked questions that challenged us to digest the book and the thoughts that came out of it. She encouraged us to invite other moms who needed this kind of group, a place of safety and acceptance.
Shelly (middle, holding a friend's baby) and some of the Idaho Mom Heart ladies
Throughout 2013, our Mom Heart group grew and grew. The number of moms whose hearts were being touched became burdensome for one group leader. Jennie asked me if I would come alongside her and lead a second discussion group during our meetings. After praying about it, I agreed. We met as a large group at the beginning of our meetings, sharing our hopes, dreams, struggles and prayers. We would then divide into two smaller groups to give everyone a chance to have input in our book discussion. Jennie and I used the same basic format of questions to guide the discussion. In December of 2013 Jennie and I made the decision to seek a second meeting place. We were simply outgrowing her living room! In early 2014, Mom Heart West was born.I (Jennie) was so excited when Shelly stepped up to lead a new group of MomHearted women in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho. As a mom with grown children, she had encouraged our group with perspective and wisdom that only come with experience. I knew she'd be a wonderful leader and mentor to the women. Shelly's group thrived, not only due to her wisdom, but due to her willingness to serve the women completely. She has taught me so much about how to practically care for women and, thereby, build close relationships. She brought meals, accompanied worried mothers to the hospital with their injured or sick ones, and made herself available whenever help was needed. Do you make a point to practically serve the women in your group?Shelly's family has since moved again, this time to Bowling Green, Kentucky where she is actively searching for like-minded mothers to begin yet another new Mom Heart group. From California to Alaska to Idaho to Kentucky, Shelly's obedience to God's Titus 2 call is evident.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:3-5
Are you located in a new city? Waiting for women to find you? Pray and ask the Lord to bring you a friend with whom to read a book together. Gain courage from Shelly's example!