The cups are ready and lined up.  The kettle is coming to a boil.  There’s coffee in the pot.  The soft playmats are laid out and there is a circle of chairs around them waiting to be filled.

“Am I early? I thought I’d be late!”

Mums start arriving wheeling an array of buggies.  There are some tiny newborns – only 4 weeks old – they are still curled up and quite floppy.  Then some older babies arrive – looking around the room for something to grab, put in their mouth, or a chair or table to pull themselves up on.

It’s the start of a new year of First Steps – our monthly group for mums with babies under 12 months old.  The new mums are welcomed in by the mums who have been here before. Everyone enjoys meeting the new arrivals – finding out how everything is going – what’s been happening.

We grab drinks and one of the mums has baked chocolate cake. There’s a buzz of chatter.

But we’re not just here for coffee and to admire each other’s offspring.

This week we’re thinking about what it is that makes us a good mother.  We think about the criteria that the world would list or that we as Christians might list and whether we think we’re matching up to those lists.

We pray and then look at a short bible passage.  This week it’s Psalm 62 and 2 Corinthians 12.  We remind each other that we find rest in God – he is our rock – and his power is made perfect in our weakness.  It’s no surprise then that parenting is difficult and challenging – it serves to show us our weakness where perhaps in life we haven’t experienced “weakness” before.  In our weakness we want to point each other to God’s grace – not a self-help manual, not our husband, not our friends or our own mother, but the gospel.

We ponder on the thought that God sent Jesus to live the perfect life we cannot live and Jesus died in our place so that by God’s grace and through faith we can be his children.  If God would do that to make us his children – he’s going to be with us helping us to be “good” parents.

We pray and the conversation turns to other things.  There’s a craft for anyone wanting to decorate a pebble to take away as a reminder of the session.  Babies start to need naps and the room empties.

Next time we’ll be looking at anxiety and we’ll hear a mum’s story of going through this after the birth of her first child.

More information/dates etc. see the First Steps page or email

More about the author :

Gen Johnston

Genevieve is on the staff team helping the pastors to think through how as a church we disciple or deploy the women in our church in ministry. Most of the time, we do this as a mixed group of men and women, but part of Gen’s role is to facilitate the growth and ministry that is helpful for women to do separately from time to time. She’s married to Johnno, they have three teenage daughters, a cat and a new puppy who is helping Gen remember what it’s like to have a toddler in the house….

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