(a friend, holding my baby when my arms were weary…)
When women are in high school and college, it takes every they’ve got to adjust to adulthood, focusing on academics and relationships. We say they need older women to call, text, and befriend them. Take them out for ice cream, invite them into their homes.
But the women in their twenty-somethings need to give everything they’ve got to adjust to careers and marriage, focusing on building homes and managing complex responsibilities. We say they need older women to disciple them in Scripture, to meet weekly to study Scripture and pray together, to have them over for dinner and game nights.
But when women become mothers, it takes everything they’ve got to adjust to sleepless nights, self-sacrifice, and the daunting responsibilities of parenting. We say they need older women to lend a helping hand with the children, share an understanding smile and practical wisdom. Offer to babysit, serve in the nursery, teach Sunday School, and tell her it’s okay to cry.
But when women are mid-life, it takes everything they’ve got to adjust to teenagers, increasing self-sacrifice, career intensity, and aging parents. We say they need older women to befriend them and show the ropes of caring for young adults. Host the kids for a weekend so the parents can get away, teach the teenage girls how to sew, and nudge the hubbies to teach the young men how to work with wood.
But when women are in their 60’s and 70’s, it takes everything they’ve got to stay in touch with their adult children, welcome grandchildren into the world, and say “good bye” to their parents, if they haven’t already done so. Sometimes health concerns creep up, or they discover that their wrists hurt after holding babies, or poor eyesight keeps them from driving at night. Their hearts and calendars are full as they care for their husbands, and their grandchildren…We say they need older women to wrap their arms around them during life’s joys and sorrows, to give them a vision for the next few decades.
But when women are in their 80’s, and 90’s, it takes everything they’ve got to stay on top of their health, let alone lovingly coordinate their calendars with the many family and friends that they’ve gathered around them over the years. We say that they need older women to befriend and mentor them.
Not one single woman – from the youngster to the granny – is ever totally available, totally free from complications and trials, totally strong to lean upon. Nonetheless, we are designed and called to lean upon one another.
Each generation of women leans heavily on the one before it, on the very women with hearts and arms already full, on the very women adjusting constantly to aging, hormones, relationships, and countless external demands.
How could this be? Why don’t we fall apart, crushing one another with our demands?
Miraculously, as each woman quickly reaches her own capacity and feels her own fragile breaking point, she leans back on Jesus, who holds and supports the whole Sisterhood with great strength, giving us everything He’s got.
He is the Rock of Ages, the Alpha and the Omega, going before the grannies and following the youngsters.
Upon this Strong Foundation, each woman helps another.
There, upon Christ, it’s a luxury to be the one serving.
And it’s a gift to be the one who is served.
May we be gentle with one another.
May we gladly do what we are able to do, when we are able to do it.
And may we seek to understand…
as we lean.