- Debbie Maddocks
Look around. There are certain women in our world who have the gift of finding joy everywhere and leaving it behind them when they go. These are the women who can flood our souls with light and laughter … strength and courage … hopes and dreams. It’s not just what they do that sets them apart, it’s how they inspire us.
SHE is someone gentle but powerful. Someone whose music washes away the dust of everyday life. Someone who makes us laugh when we thought we would cry. Someone who can pick up the pieces and give them back in all the right order. Someone who pays attention to the little things and adds such beauty to the world. Someone who cares.
SHE is passion, wisdom, priorities, resiliency, self-esteen, tenderness, accountability, spirit, goals, faith, independence, self-reliance, presence, friendship, radiance, warmth, choices, freedom, optimism, brilliance, bravery, strength, compassion, joy, daring, happiness authenticity … SHE is you … SHE is us!
Blog Posts & Articles
December 23, 2011
When God called me to resign from my full-time position to be home with my daughter, I was both scared and excited. We moved to Claremont at the end of February, and had no idea what God had in store. We fell in love with this cute little town, walking distance from the library, several parks and a quaint downtown area. Our faith community, Mosaic Pomona also moved to the FOX Theater in Pomona, only three miles away! As a new stay-at-home mother, there was a huge need for community and socialization for little 10-month old Evie. The desire of my heart at the time was to simply be within walking distance of the local library, in hopes that they would have a weekly Story Time with other children. The first week we moved in, Evie and I walked to the Claremont Library for Story Time at 11:30am. That is when it all began! I started meeting other mothers with the same need for community and we planned our first park date for the following week. With only three of us there, we never thought it would grow to the size it is today.
By the summer we had already organized a family BBQ, and 37 people came! We started meeting on Wednesdays at the wading pool too.. We were meeting three times a week! In August, we started our first Supper Club with eight couples and their children. Each month a different family hosts a themed dinner of their choice. Since more and more families were moving into Claremont, we had another family BBQ in September and 65 people came!
Different opportunities to connect have also popped up outside of our regular park dates during the week. One mom is organizing a monthly book club. One mom is connected with a local outreach in Pomona and we made gift bags for women at one of our park dates. Another group of moms have started an exercise group on Thursdays. A few moms also joined a Mommy and Me class together on Tuesdays. We have a Facebook Group page that allows us to post updates and pictures of our children from the play dates. Our next event is planned for early December, a Brunch and Christmas Cookie Exchange.
One of my dear friends, Tricia from the Mom’s Group, invited me to join her for weekly runs this summer. Helping her train for a half-marathon, we ran five days a week and then started training for a marathon! Our families just love hanging out and we have grown to be like sisters.
We have officially called ourselves the Claremont Mom’s Group. My co-partner, Lisa has been my right-hand in the entire process. Her heart for these women is amazing and together we have seen God provide the community we were all were longing for. I love being a part of what He is doing and look forward to the future!
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
God is in my Bullet
December 14, 2011
“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run. GOD is in my bullet. . .”. I thought about correcting my son, who turns four next week, as he belted out this modified Foster the People song lyric, but then we had a really good conversation about God being in things. God is in my Bullet (cont)…
“How does God get in our heart?” he asked. “Is He very cold in there?” My son was fascinated and he needed to wrap his brain around this concept. We imagined together how God could do such a magical thing. He was slightly concerned that God would get stuck in our hearts, but reasoned that there must be a tiny door without a lock that God could go in and out of whenever He wanted. This holiday season, I want to remember to think about how God is in it. How can God be in the things I say, the things I do, and ultimately, how can I think the way God thinks? I can start by remembering that the holidays are not always the warm, fuzzy, chestnut roasting on an open fire kind of experience for people. The holidays can be a sad, lonely, or a too-busy-for-kindness time that some people dread. For some, it’s a time for in-laws and extended family, or a time to miss loved ones who have passed away. People need hope and understanding everyday, but the holidays bring up those additional emotions and situations that can leave us stressed, overwhelmed, and wishing we were in Hawaii rather than figuring out how we are going to stuff that turkey, buy presents, and create Yuletide cheer in this tough economy. Christmas easily can become X-mas when we become too busy to include Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 calls us towards newness and as ministers of reconciliation. To me, this means that I need to put others before my tasks and demonstrate patience, kindness, forgiveness and grace and put Christ back in the holidays.
November 8, 2011
October 18, 2011
My biggest fear in life has always been losing my mom. Fast forward to February 22, 2010. That was the day my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. I can’t begin to describe all of the thoughts that went through my head at that point in my life. I was scared, I was sad, I was mad, and I didn’t want to lose my mom. As we went through the emotional rollercoaster of the unknown, I wanted to trade in my fear and sadness for His joy and peace. But the sadness and fear that filled me were so consuming.
A year after my mom was diagnosed, I was driving to small group and thought, I don’t want to thank Him and praise Him only when times are good. This had been the hardest year of my life, and I didn’t want to look back one day and not see the things that God was doing even through my saddest days so far. During that year, God opened all the doors to move us back to Pasadena. We were living in San Diego for four years and we were on a house hunt for six months and my mom told me, “You aren’t finding a house because God wants you to move back to LA.” I didn’t want to believe her. We loved San Diego. During that year James got a job in LA (a promotion) and our daughter, Karis, was born. She looked exactly like my mom, and we were back in Pasadena, now only 30 minutes away from my parents instead of two hours. That night while I was driving, I decided that I would choose to have joy and to thank God even through times of pain and sorrow. A verse that I desperately clung to was: Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Whenever the sadness would overwhelm me, I would repeat Philippians 4:4-7 over and over until my heart had peace. I had this verse posted throughout my house, on the walls, in my journal. I strove to have peace and joy and to rejoice, even during times of sadness and despair. I looked at situations and thanked God for the ways that He was working and blessing us, even despite my mom’s hardest physical battle.
On July 10, 2011, my sweet mom went to be with the Lord. I still can’t believe it at times. It feels surreal. But God was ready for her, and despite her willingness to fight for me, for my sister, for my dad, and my kids, He wanted her pain and suffering to end. My mom lived such a beautiful life. Her love for the Lord is engrained on my heart and my sister’s heart. And though my biggest fear in life has become reality, I know even more so now, that God is here. He is with me, He is with my mom. He will give me joy, even during the hardest time of my life. What God allowed me to have with my mom for 33 years, some will never have. And although now I know 60 is such a young age, I know she lived ALL of those years fully. The things my mom taught me and showed me, through her love for the Lord, her examples of love, faithfulness, and forgiveness, I pray that my children will be able to see through me. Though I miss my mom, more than I can express, I choose to have joy, not in a superficial or fleeting way, but joy that is only possible because through times of pain and sorrow, we have a God who gives us peace that transcends all understanding, and no matter what He loves us and is here.
Faith Community on Mission
September 29, 2011
We’ve seen that a missional lifestyle involves our family being on mission together. It also includes our own personal mission. A third way to live on mission is with our faith community. Since our church is like a “second family”, we love each other and want to share God’s love with those who don’t know Him. We call it “serving others with others”. There are so many ways we can do this…by getting involved in a small group or a ministry team that takes action in the local community, or perhaps going abroad to bring tangible help, as well as God’s message, to the needy. Or, maybe your church reaches out to the community during the holidays with bags of food, etc. Find a way you can get involved with your brothers and sisters in Christ, together, serving your community.
One of the ways the Mosaic community extends God’s love is by going to Ensenada, Mexico. One year, my husband, Dave went with the Artisan ministry to paint a mural. He took one of our daughters with him. She loved it! She not only got to use her artistic gifts to leave an indelible and beautiful mark in Ensenada, but she made some friendships that she still has to this day, 10 years later, because the team worked and played together. It was a bonding experience.
We’re going to spend eternity with each other; let’s love each other and work together to bring as many with us as we can!
John 17:18, 20-22 (The Message) “In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. ..I’m praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.”