- Blessed by Other Women
Found a blog by a young woman named Emily, here’s the link (http://primitiveroads.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/titus/) and it’s about older women discipling the younger women. Made me think about the blessings of Christian women, old and young, in my life during for all of life or just for seasons.
I recall vividly one of my grandmothers doing her daily Bible reading every night before going to bed. She was the one who would hold the hand of my sister and I when we stayed with them and pray with us before bed. The most compelling imprint of her faith upon my life, however, is that while undergoing the horrors of rape she witnessed and gave her testimony to the man committing these atrocities while protecting my sister and I from his evil intentions. From that I’ve realized that no matter what happens in our lives, God will give us the strength to endure it. She believed that and because she did, I do, too. And so did my sister. She’s with my sister now in Heaven…and so many more of our loved ones are gathered with them.
My other grandmother taught me the joy of enjoying people! Despite whatever was going on she seemed to find the bright side, to find the joy, to find something happy and share it. She welcomed everyone, didn’t worry if her house was clean or dirty, didn’t worry if we tracked dirt or mud inside, just loved people for people. Her house was always filled with those who felt comfortable enough to just drop by, knowing they would be welcome, knowing they receive a smile and kind word. Her faith was lived in loving people, all people, no distinctions, and tolerating whatever was thrown at her with a gentle, pleasing spirit. Her smile crinkled the corners of her eyes and I imagine that’s the look I’ll see on her face in Heaven, pure joy!
A pastor’s wife who smiled through a most difficult time in her family’s life helped me see that even if we didn’t know why something happened, we could trust that God did. Such a hard concept when we want explanations and to understand the whys of the heartbreaks of life. She taught me that we may not know the answer in this lifetime and it was okay to hurt, okay to question, okay to cry, and okay to feel all the feelings that go with heartbreak because Jesus knew them, too, and because he created us with those feelings and emotions and it was certainly okay to have them. The difference for those of us who love the Lord is not letting those feelings and emotions keep us from going forward and accepting that somehow beyond our comprehension, God was working. I think of her standing before the Lord someday and hearing, “well done, good and faithful servant, well done!” and I see the shining smile that is always there grow even bigger!
One lovely woman who led a Bible study always spoke our names aloud in prayer and thanked God for the day we were born! I cried the first time she said my name aloud and thanked God for blessing others with my birth. One woman was especially affected because her own mother had always cursed the day she was born, saying that her daughter’s birth ruined her life. What a blessing for her to hear the truth! The impact of hearing this strengthened my identity in Christ and did so for many others in that Bible study group. Her heart for other women oozes from her every fiber and God certainly has special rewards for this most beautiful woman!
The gift of service was given to me by a younger woman who did not have children when I had my hands full with three! Her beautiful sacrifice of free time to come and help me when there was no reason whatsoever she had to do so helped me understand what it meant to have a servant’s heart. To give and expect nothing in return. It’s almost twenty years later now and I see this woman still giving her time sacrificially despite her busyness with her own huge family. I think God has a zillion crowns for her when I think of all those she has blessed with being physically being there.
My sister’s acceptance of her own body’s fragility and how she prepared to go be with the Lord even though she wanted desperately to live to see her son grown taught me about submission and grace. Submission to God’s will, to his plan, to his purpose. Grace in accepting that there are some things we cannot change, but we can walk through them in holiness with God’s grace. Her fearlessness and courage through dying touched many, many lives. Her faith soared in the last year of her life, reaching and teaching and living in humility and at God’s mercy moment by moment. How I miss my “snisser”…and how I long to be with her, dancing with Jesus. One of my delights is how like her my daughter is (how did that happen?)!
A dear friend who seemed to have the perfect life struggled with how others viewed her. The jealousies and gossip and criticism that came her way as a public figure could have crushed her spirit. At times she was so low she could do nothing but weep, wondering why people had to be so mean, why other women had to be so hateful toward another woman. One day she told me she realized that every person who hurt her needed something she could give and she began giving it, generously. She found in each woman who sniped at her something to praise, something to encourage, something to point out as their own gift. Once she said she had to think very hard to discover what she could praise in one woman who seemed bent on always being negative. Ephesians 4:25 seemed to resonate: Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. My friend cringed but asked the woman why she felt she had to find the bad and speak it about everyone. The woman burst into tears and told her she’d been told her whole life how horrible she was and told she was told these things “for her own good”. That was her way of showing love! My dear friend helped this woman learn who God said she was and the difference once she got it was amazing! She will see this other woman in Heaven and I can just imagine how they will praise Him together.
Another woman taught me to wait, to be still and listen to God. She did this from a distance because she is not a close friend but I watched her go through trials from afar, praying for her as one of my church family members. She would share how she would have no words for prayer but would just lay face down and ask the Lord to fill her. With what, I’d ask? “With Him,” she’d answer. What a concept! I started digging into understanding the character of God and listening for him, asking him to fill me, too. I know God will reward her gentle, quiet spirit that showed others how he works in those who trust him.
My own daughter blesses me as I watch her grow in the Lord, as I watch her character change and shape as a Christian young lady. I am fascinated by her mind, her actions, her compassion, and her desire to make a difference in the lives of others. She loves children, has worked in children’s ministry for the past couple of years, and to see how God lays his plans and purposes on her heart melts mine. “Oh, how He loves me, oh…” she sang as we were in the car, listening to Christian radio. What a privilege to see, know, hear, and feel this in her life! A greater privilege to know we will spend eternity together in Heaven someday!
There aren’t enough words for the blessings of a mother’s love, for the ups and downs that mothers and daughters experience, for the agreements and disagreements, for the range of emotions, and for the joys and disappointments that come with that relationship. What’s most important is through them all, God is there, we are there, and we know that nothing changes the love, nothing can come close to breaking the bond that exists between us no matter how difficult things may be at times, no matter how heated, no matter how misunderstood, no matter what. It’s a true blessing to have that unconditional, steadfast love of a mother. We may not always be on the same page, and our paragraphs may get a little mucked up, but we’re bound together in the same book for all of life here and all of life in eternity with Jesus…and that is a most wonderful blessing that I wish every daughter could have with her mother as I have with mine.
God gives us each other for a reason, for a season, for a lifetime, and forever after. Our part is to open our hearts to the blessings found in other Christian women and receive their gift in our lives.
This is a wonderful tribute to women, young and old! It’s always so good to remember the blessings God has placed in our lives.