I have this friend at my church who is also named Gretchen, and I really really like and admire her. She is the mom of 5 boys, and has an engaging personality -- friendly, expressive, relaxed and talkative. Tonight I got to hang out with her for a little while over a cup of iced coffee while Josh hung out with her boys (her husband is traveling in central Asia). I feel like this brief evening was an answer to prayer I'd had on my heart and lips for several years now -- for an older friend who would encourage me in the gospel and practically live out Titus 2 (the older women teaching the younger) in my life.
Gretchen encouraged me to love my husband -- to delight in who he is and how God is growing and using him. She encouraged me to be content in my circumstances, serving through Josh's school years as the breadwinner so that down the road I can be at home with children. She shared her own experiences of coming to realize how small she was and how big God was and that He loved her anyway, and how that actually changes your everyday life! We discussed keeping our homes, not over-organizing our husband's closets or pridefully obsessing over a clean house so that we look good in the eyes of our friends. Gretchen said "you have to find the balance between 'how much do I need to be clean and organized to serve my family?' and 'how much is this organizing is just to serve myself?'" I was so refreshed by her honesty and wisdom.
All of this was discussed in perhaps an hour's time. There was no program, no big to-do. It was simply life-on-life relationship, Christ's love our bond.
Friends, I share this to encourage you, as young women, to seek out the wisdom of an older friend! In some churches, these women are more plentiful than the younger women are, and you have a plethora to choose from. In others (like mine), the elder's wives are in high demand, and you need to be considerate and content with the time you can spend together.
Most everyone who reads this knows a younger woman who would benefit from your friendship, if you took some time here and there to just ask her to hang out and share your life with her. This is being the body of Christ together!