I thought I’d give this a rip-roaring, controversial, juicy, hot-button name, because hey, then more people will click and read, right?
OK, so I have some opinions about “women and the church,” but they’re much less formed and definite than they should be, considering everything I’ve read about this topic.
This is not going to be about theology, this is just about how women in my church have been towards me. Because I think it’s wonderful! And the older I get, the more I value it.
Writing this post occurred to me last week, as I yakked for three hours with an “older woman” from my church. We just talked and talked about life, about how our lives have led us, things we wonder about our future, about decisions. She’s about a decade ahead of me and I picked her brain about a lot of topics.
I want to praise the wonderful older women of my church. Most of these relationships formed through my mom, really, so this is something I’d like to pass on to my girls, too.
My mom often took me out with her and her friends to eat deserts and stuff after church, we had various parties together, etc. I’m sure I probably said and did a lot of awkward, teenagery things. but they just accepted me and let their conversations and lives flow all around and over me.
For years, they’ve all yakked and been “women in the church,” weaving in and out of my life for so long. Their daughters were my schoolmates. They lived life around and through the church, were involved in church activities, and spent a lot of time around our school — in and out it all flowed for years.
We, the kids, grew up, and their lives keep flowing on, we keep having meals together thanks to my mom. I watch them pass through the many stages and events of life: kids’ graduating, grandkids– or not, disappointments and joys, illnesses and healings, aging, spouse illnesses, career changes or sameness…
And I’ve added a few more “older women” myself. I’ve actually prayed to find them. Just one-on-one. We meet, I ask about finishing home schooling, being in this or that stage of life, talk about my struggles. And they nurture me along.
One “older woman” writes me often, prays for me, enters into my mid-life angst with grace and empathy.
These are ladies 20-30 years older than me. And somehow, though they don’t often didactically teach me to love my husband and kids, they do teach me this by loving their own husbands and children, loving me, by centering their lives around the body of Christ, by living faithful lives.
And their destinies are so varied. I could go on and on about how different their lives are. Yet they all love and follow God. And I’ve been privileged to be woven into their fellowship.
It pretty much never occurs to me to leave my husband or run away from my kids or to shirk my responsibilities. I don’t enjoy a lot of things, yet sinful choices don’t attract me. And I think a lot of it goes to these ladies’ love and faithfulness over the years, to their own families and to God.
I will be forever grateful for this. That they included Weird, Teen Me into their fellowship, that they ‘adult talked’ around us and included us in appropriate ways to their lives.
I’m grateful for the ladies from my church that intentionally make time to be with me, though they are considerably few. It’s good–I couldn’t handle more. And other younger women need those other older women. But for “women and the church,” my church has “given” me what I need. And I’m so thankful.
I’m committed to passing it on any way I can.