Meghan P. Williams
Meghan P. Williams is a Customer Relations Coordinator, Pastor’s Wife and Homeschool Mama. She and her husband have been married for 14 years. They have two daughters, ages 12 and 10.
WP: You’ve been involved in Operation Christmas Child for several years. What led you to get involved with this cause to provide Christmas for underprivileged children?
MW: I really can’t remember when I first heard of OCC and the shoeboxes that are sent world-wide to children ages 2-14 for the first time. The church we are currently serving has been involved with OCC since the early 90s when the program launched. When we became a part of the church, 10 years ago now, we continued to join in the packing of the boxes, and I found out there was an opportunity to volunteer in the processing center in Atlanta. It is there, and at other processing centers around the US, that the boxes collected from individuals and organizations get inspected and prepped for international shipping, and that’s the year where our involvement dramatically escalated! The more we understood about the fullness of the ministry – the more excited we got about it! It was so neat to go up, see all the packed boxes and learn more about the stories from around the world of shoebox recipients. We learned more about the journey of the shoebox and what happens in the recipient countries – gospel sharing, distribution and discipleship training for the children for 12 weeks after they receive their shoeboxes. It was incredibly exciting how BIG of an impact a shoebox could make in the life of a child, their family and their community.
WP: Do you think it’s important for your girls to see you give back? What impacts do you think your volunteer work has had on your family?
MW: We actually decided when our girls were 2 and 4 that they would be a part of any ministry that it was appropriate for them to be a part of – even if that meant we hauled a suitcase of Pull-ups to Costa Rica for their first international mission trip at 2 and 4! We did not want our girls to see ministry as something “their parents” did or have resentment for time spent investing into others because they were left behind. Likewise, we wanted them to understand when we said ‘no’ to spending on certain things so we could use that money for God-centered projects. They’ve been a part of packing shoeboxes, gospel sharing at local events, mission trips and numerous other projects that are all centered on giving in the name of Jesus. I won’t overstep and say that my children aren’t selfish or don’t have wants – they are regular humans with sin, just like me – but our pattern of volunteer work really has helped shape them into compassionate, engaging and giving girls. They’ve learned to look for those on the fringe, to make friends easily, to communicate and work with people of all ages and backgrounds, to roll with the punches and the unknowns, and to freely give and work hard when it’s time to get down to business.
WP: You are very solid in your faith. How do you think that’s shaped your parenting style?
MW: My faith has shaped everything about my parenting style – I’m responsible for raising these children to fear the Lord and to be his disciples! Since the Bible is the basis of everything we believe, it also shapes everything about our parenting styles and our expectations. We strive to mirror what the Bible teaches about who these kids are called to be, and we make choices based on what will protect them and equip them to engage with a broken and messy world. We offer grace, but we also have expectations, we discipline and we love, we mess up and we do forgiveness, and we keep at it. Raising kids is hard work and sanctification for all of us. It is a lifetime journey so as parents, we do our best to model authentic faith and relationship with Jesus – the good, bad and the ugly – and we encourage our girls to look to God in all things as He will be their constant.
WP: What would you say is the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
The most rewarding thing for me is certainly found in the times when something you’ve been trying to teach them or instill in them presents for the first time unprompted. It gets me every. single. time. When I see my girls take initiative to be kind or compassionate, to teach others about Jesus, to love fully, or to even answer Biblically – my heart just swells. The tiny glimpses we get to see along the way of who they might be when they grow up is also a bittersweet reward!
WP: Children are like sponges, soaking up everything around them. What’s something you hope your girls learn from watching you?
MW: I hope they see how much their mama needs Jesus, so they know that it is totally normal for them to be dependent on Him too! We strive to involve them in sharing the good news about Jesus and investing in other believers to encourage them to be the disciples that Jesus has called them to be – so I hope they will learn to love people, serve people and give people the truth compassionately and boldly throughout their lives.
WP: Does your family have any holiday or Christmas traditions?
MW: Outside of packing shoeboxes, which, if I’m honest, we kind of spend all year shopping and working on… we spend the holidays with our extended families for meals – we have 3 local Thanksgiving meals and 4 local Christmas meals! It’s a tremendous blessing that so much of our family is right here within SOWEGA. Our other annual tradition is my mom’s Christmas card – getting that annual photo and accompanying poem of family updates ready for mailing is a BIG part of the holiday season!
WP: Moms are busy year-round, but it seems as if things kick into overdrive this time of year. What self-care routines do you follow to make sure you stay at your best?
MW: Self-care?! Ha! I’m kidding – I know ‘self-care’ is a major buzzword this year – especially with all the strain of COVID and this very-not-normal year, but I’m a pretty steady kind of person so no special self-care routines kick in for the holidays. I guess maybe the closest thing this time of year, is that my Christmas tree is always plugged in once it is up. I love to see the lights, they bring me simple happiness, even in the daytime!
WP: This has certainly been a roller coaster of a year. What has your family done to keep things as “normal” as possible?
MW: Oh, this year has NOT been normal for us at all! The only thing normal… we were homeschooling before and we’re still homeschooling now! This year was a big change in our family as my husband changed from bi-vocational ministry to full-time ministry, and I went from part-time work to full-time work! The biggest change in the girls’ routine was really just going wherever I’m going – before, when my husband worked full-time away from home, the girls had to go wherever I was headed. Now, they don’t get to ‘go’ as much for routine errands, in part due to COVID restrictions and in part just to changes in our routine – my oldest is the least fond of this, but my youngest is really enjoying it! Our normal has included being involved in our church worship and ministries, spending time investing in other believers via face-to-face or online meetings and just being obedient to the Lord’s calling on our life! We’ve enjoyed time at some of our favorite places – the lake, the beach, with our extended families and being home together in this new balance of work for both of us!
WP: What’s your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from 2020?
MW: God is always in control – so just walk by faith and keep doing what He has instructed you to do! God doesn’t change his expectations of us based on the world around us – he is steadfast in his instruction and we should be steadfast in our obedience!
WP: Do you have any resolutions or goals for next year?
MW: No way, I’m the worst about those kind of things. The long-standing commitment in the goal department that I have for myself each year is to be less like me and more like Jesus. (John 3:30)
WP: Any advice for new parents?
MW: There is so much advice out there for new parents – I ignored just as much as I embraced as a new mama so many years ago. I’ve got 2 things –
1. Raise your babies to know and love Jesus and model what that looks like in every aspect of your life. It is not only good for their eternity, but it is such a blessing to your family in this lifetime. It matters more than anything else you’ll ever do as their parent. (If you are interested in this and don’t know where to start, ask Ashton to put you in touch with me! 😊)
2. Keep your perspective that you are raising future adults… and make decisions not based just on this moment, but on what will impact them and shape them into the adults you want them to be. When they are little, sometimes we make choices that make our life easier because we are tired or discouraged or because the right thing is just harder and involves more work – but I’ve found, the things we intentionally chose to spend our time on – even when it was hard (church training, restaurant training, manners, all the things that require consistency, dedication and discipline) – we now see the benefits of that investment in tangible ways. We said no and we held our ground on things that could have been ‘easier’ in the moment to go with – but we are not growing our children into who we wanted them to be now alone, but also who we want them to be in the future. So keep that perspective, what are the attitudes and practices I want to see in this little one later in life? How can I help shape those attitudes and practices? How can I combat unhealthy attitudes, behaviors and practices? Alongside this, the hardest dose of perspective I ever got as a mama came when my oldest turned 9 and my sister-in-law said she was now ‘halfway to grown’ – woah, that hurt me, but it is so true, our time to influence them, raise them, equip them and love them within the confines of our home really is SO short! Keep that perspective mama!