My friends and I have discussed the valid need and desire to have women who are older than us pour their wisdom into our lives. Maybe you’ve had someone or several in your life that have given you that extra breath when you were breathless or dose of coveted wisdom when confounded; words of lifting affirmation when you just couldn’t seem to take flight. We recognize what a beautiful thing it is to receive from someone who has walked through our current stages of life and to glean from their perspectives. I don’t believe this concept it is as valued in our day and age as it should be.
My mom is beloved by many of all ages. She has a way with people like few have. She loves to hear their stories and isn’t afraid to face their wounds or brokenness; but longs to comfort them. She doesn’t hesitate, worrying whether or not she has anything to offer. She sees them and their pain and that is enough for her to take action. I will say that for her, this is an area of natural gifting that God has continually used in her life. Her empathy and compassion have earned her a special place in many hearts that will last into eternity.
My beautiful aunt has offered life-giving words to me during a couple of times of intense difficulty in my life; leaving a lasting impression on my heart. Her insight and experience have helped to shape my beliefs when I felt lost; pointing me to what is true. She has spoken to me words that have boosted me up to see from a hopeful perspective, tangibly reminding me of God’s love.
So many people can name their favorite teacher or coach from when they were growing up. Others will remember a pastor, pastor’s wife, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents. The direct honesty and guidance that comes from these cherished ones can powerfully shape our lives. These are the people who encourage us and challenge us to go further. They recognize in us our gifts and our potential and help us to see how to dream for the future. When we fall they are there to help us back up.
When my youngest son was a newborn I was just beginning to learn to play piano. I had grown up singing special music in church, but my dream was to play piano and sing. My childhood pastor’s wife had often encouraged me in my singing and ministries. She gave me the piano I learned to play on and still play today. It had been her piano for years and held special meaning in her life. Her gift to me touched my heart deeply. She must have seen that I would grow in that pursuit and she surely had a hand in it. In fact, my middle son plays it beautifully as well. Her gifts are still bearing fruit in our lives.
I want to be an encourager to younger women who are navigating paths I’ve already walked. I am NOT naturally gifted in reaching out, as my mom is. I have often let fear and insecurity hold me back. I also forget to be in that mindset and need to be reminded to look and listen for God’s direction and heart for those who need encouragement. Whether it’s offering advice, speaking words of affirmation, recognizing and encouraging others to use their gifts and talents, or just offering a listening ear and being there, let’s ask the Lord to lead us to someone who He wants to love through us. Praying for them and with them WILL help and encourage them even if there’s nothing else we can do. God hears and God answers. There are some who will probably never ask for help or encouragement, but may we be willing to risk the unknowns and reach out to them, leaving the outcome to God.
But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. Exodus 17:12
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24, 25