What Women Need
By Andrea Vinley Jewell
I hadn't laughed so much since.
On this blazing July afternoon, I was eating lunch with
a group of ladies near Santa Clarita, Calif. Their depth
of friendship and exuberance made me long for a similar
group in my hometown. I longed for women I could laugh
with, take a break with and play games with. I longed for
friends with whom I could easily share my frustrations
Their secret isn't mysterious or elusive, but the result
of their intentional efforts. Connie, Valerie, Andrea,
Shawn, Deb and Lisa-known as a MomTime group-have been
meeting for lunch and games for more than six years. Connie,
Valerie and Lisa started the original group more than 12
MomTime gatherings grew from Lisa Whelchel's love of board
games, something not shared by her husband. "I had to go
outside our marriage to find game partners," she says. "So
I invited Connie, Valerie, another friend an my mother
over for an afternoon. It grew to once a week, including
lunch. After that, it was more than just the games. It
was the time to talk and build close relationships."
"I joined because I had young kids, and it sounded like
a lot of fun," Connie says. "I love playing games, but
it was unusual to meet [other] moms who were playing." Valerie
joined for similar reasons. As a stay-at-home mom, she
also needed a break from her house.
The weekly tradition became a turning point in Lisa's
life. "Until then, I'd never had friends," she says. "My
mother was always my best friend. That's all I needed.
Then I got married, and I thought all I need was my husband.
I resigned myself to the fact that I was the kind of person
who had just one friend - until I started my MomTime group.
I surprised myself, or God surprised me. I love having
Lisa and the others enjoyed their get-togethers so much
that Lisa took their idea, named and structured it and
began encouraging other women to start groups. The friendships
Lisa had developed, the fun they experienced and the break
from busy life made such a difference that she knew other
women needed the same things: food, faith, fellowship and
"When we come to MomTime, we let go of the stresses of
life," Valerie says. "In essence, we leave the world behind
and go into our own world of renewal and joy."
"So many women, in order to process, need to talk out
loud," Lisa adds. "This is a safe environment for that.
It's a healthy place to talk."
"We all need moments to forget about our struggles or
toddlers or teenagers," Connie says.
Like most moms, Connie would rarely see her friends if
it weren't for MomTime. "With a busy family, it's hard
to get together with friends on a regular basis. This commitment
[to MomTime] allows us to keep in touch and enjoy each
other's company." To Connie the most important aspect of
MomTime is having trustworthy friends, especially when
she recalls her life no too long ago. She spent most of
one year in a hospital with medical problems. Her MomTime
friends took care of Connie's kids and helped her through
the touch situation.
"Those times are really important," Valerie says. "when
someone is carrying something so heavy, then we put the
games aside. It becomes a time of ministry."
But apart from serious matters, Lisa says that at the
end of most MomTime meetings she's exhausted from laughing. "It's
like the old pressure cooker thing. Touch any little tense
spot, and you're ready to release. We release a lot through
Since my visit to Santa Clarita, I haven't found a MomTime
group, especially since I have no children. On the other
hand, I have found some wonderful friends to laugh and
share life with.