Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Women of Encouragement

Susie modeling a darling outfit from Carrie
I was challenged by this post from the True Woman blog to encourage another woman you may know.  Think about the women in your life -- most of us know quite a few who would love to be encouraged like this!  In no way do I think you need to limit yourself to only the desperate situations.  I am so happy in my role as a wife and mother, but I still am extremely thankful for the women of encouragement in my life.

I am so thankful for a sweet friend that I know who constantly uplifts me with random words of kindness as well as gifts for Susie.  Carrie is one of the most generous women I know, and I know that she sincerely does it out of love for us.  She is a working mom who adores and enjoys her children, and she wants me, a working mom who also feels the same -- to be encouraged.  What a gift she is to me!  How blessed I am to know her!  She may never quite know how thrilled I am with the adorable little things she creates for my daughter, not only because I think they are fun and cute, but also because SHE thought of ME (and Susie).  It's like "how can I bless (fill in blank)" is at the top of her mind all the time without trying.

My Aunt Pat with me and Sus
I am also really grateful for the encouragement I get from my aunts.  My dad's sisters have been dearer than ever to me since my mom passed away, because I know they are sweet friends to my dad, as well as extra moms for my sisters and me.  They comment on my Susie pictures on Facebook, and read my blog, and send things in the mail.  I LOVE having these women in my life.  For some reason, it is ESPECIALLY important to me to have people I am related to love my daughter, probably because of the absence of my mom. 

Me with my friend Katie when Susie was born
There are also quite a few women at church -- from young teens to grandmothers, single friends and fellow mothers -- who frequently speak kind words into my life, who treat me and my baby as if we are special, not just one of 50 moms and babies they know (and I'm certain they all do -- we have LOTS of babies at our church).  There is not a time when I am not blessed by passing comments on Susie's new dress or a happy listening ear to hear about her latest achievement.  I cannot express how thankful I am to be in this kind of church body -- where my brothers and sisters in Christ not only pray for your requests, but check back with you down the road to see how things turned out.

I have a friend who is the mom of 2 and her husband is on staff at their church (it is not the church I attend).  She recently shared with me her struggle for joy in her position as a mom, and told me how much she'd appreciate my prayers.  Today when I told her I'd been praying for her, and asked how things were, she replied with this: (and I have her permission to share this)

"So anyway, thank you so very much for your prayers. I really don't have too many people actually tell me they are praying for me so it is nice to hear. You'd think I'd hear that all the time with my husband being on church staff but I think we are looked at more to be the encourager than to be encouraged...I've learned that everyone needs to be encouraged, especially if they are trying to encourage others."

I am SO SAD that this is the case!  It opens my eyes to think of many people who probably would love to hear that they are loved and prayed for!  Who can you think of?  Perhaps start with your own mother (if you are blessed to still have her), or pastor's wife, or other kind and godly woman you know.  And as the True Woman post challenged -- put teeth to your encouragement!   


laurapeery said...

Gretchen, it's so neat to read this especially today... I've just been thinking about how kind and loving the Lord is to give us relationships with great purpose as Christians. I know that there are good and lasting friendships for many in the secular world, but even so they can only reach a certain depth and it's just not quite the same as those relationships between sisters in Christ. It is a true blessing of God to give us many who encourage us and exemplify godliness in daily ways, your post is a great reminder of that!

Anonymous said...

Gretchen, Thank you for your post. Mom was a great encourager of the family, Dad was the provider. We had the best of the best. I am so happy your Dad is coming to visit us, I want our church people to meet him as well as my kids and grandkids to visit with him. I feel the same as you, the love of family. I am so blessed in our church with the constant prayers for me and Bob. Our church wants to be know as a house of prayer. thanks for the reminders of how important little ways of encouragement can make a huge difference. My sorrow is, I haven't met Susie yet. Someday
Love, Aunt Diane
Not much hope of retirement for us in the near future :)

Happy Hodge Podge said...

This post made me cry -- in a good way. :)

Emma said...

I know what your friend meant about those in leadership seen as the encourageers rather than the encouraged... This has been on my heart as I have had more time on my hands this Fall. I have made it my mission to encourage two women who I see as being in that same position. Sometimes we misinterpret that "Older women teaching younger women" to mean that younger women can sit back, relax, and be encouraged, but I know I have a lot more time to encourage others than the older women in my life.
Thanks for this post.