If you’re thinking that it’s been a long time since I sat down behind the keyboard you’d be right. This space has been ghostly silent since May. I promise I didn’t intend it to be this way, but this summer has been full of the unintended and the not anticipated. Even as I type this now it’s as if my muscles are atrophied and my words feel awkward spilling out. I suppose that’s what happens when you stop using anything and my hope is as I stretch into the action of writing my memory will kick in showing me how to string words together here.
All day I’ve told myself to write. All day I’ve tried to summon the courage to sit down behind my computer and write for the sake of writing, for the love of words not just because of a deadline on a calendar. This summer has been brimming with popsicles and sprinkler running, and it’s also been hard and scary and some of the darkest days I’ve walked as an adult.
I have a post sitting in the queue that fills in the details of all that has gone on, but it’s not done and I’m being easy with myself and the story I am telling. I’ll share when I am ready, promise. What I want to share here and now is a story of need and broken places and the recognition of the ravenous heart that is my own.
I’ve always been a talker- quick to say something and jump into a conversation. I was this way, and many would say I still am, until a few years ago when I seemed to run out of words. It was as if the know-how I once possessed abandoned me leaving a vacuum of questions and insecurity.
Perhaps it was being a new mom. Maybe it was a crisis of faith. All I know is I recognized from some desperate place inside that in order to thrive, in order to grow in my walk with Jesus, I had to be quiet and learn from others. I had to open myself to the fact I am desperately needy for someone to show me in real time how to walk this tenuous road of faith and steward the million gifts I have been given.
I used to blog about motherhood. I was quick to offer a solution or tip. I was quick to Pinterest a hundred blogs about everything from discipline to sensory activities. Don’t get me wrong Pinterest is a, albeit backhanded, gift to (and from) millennials, but y’all we need women (and men) to fill the pews (removable seating, theater seats or WHATEVER) in front of us and show us how it is done.
I’m concerned about something. It’s the culture we live in where we are looking to our right and left at our peers to teach us about how to live life, how to grow healthy marriages, how to raise Jesus-lovin’ children. I adore my friends. I have learned so much from friends my age over the years, but when it comes to learning how to walk and live and love I want someone who has been there. I want a mother. I want an older sister.
Where have all the mothers gone?
Walk into any contemporary non-churchy Christian church today and I would guess the average age might be somewhere around 28. Don’t quote me on that, but having been to a slew of churches in the last ten years- both traditional, contemporary and something in between- I will attest to this. Our churches are either two stuffy and inaccessible to younger people or too nuanced and downright trying to hard for the elders among us. We all suffer because of this.
I had no idea as a young bride what the impact of older women living life and raising families in front of me would have. They literally laid a foundation for my own family of me. On more than one occasion I have found myself answering a question because I knew exactly what a Godly older woman would do in this situation and because of her love for the Word of God and Jesus I knew I could trust her judgment.
This summer I have been grazed by grace through the lives of older women. When I experienced the loss of a pregnancy they surrounded me with quiet love. They came and sat at my kitchen table and cried big wet tears with me. They offered their own stories of loss and hope breaking through all the cracks. Their footprints marked a path in front of me showing me a better way to follow then I knew previously. Their faith made me believe more fully in God’s ever present hand and loving Providence.
It’s not uncommon for me to log on to Facebook on any given week day and hear leaching it’s way through absentminded posts of my sisters. You are looking for someone up ahead to wave a brave flag and lead you on with encouragement and wisdom. You post articles about building a village of women to surround you on the journey and the words are so full of longing I want to pull you through the screen and look you straight in the eye so you know this longing is right and real.
Two years ago I was desperately trying to put together a book proposal and get it into the hands of people that mattered. I thought I knew what I was supposed to write about. How my story was supposed to be told to help others know they aren’t alone. I still hope to write that story, but somewhere in these two years a quiet fire has been burning. This fire is telling me to build something better with my words.
What if we could make the village a reality? I don’t mean doing the wash in a scrub bucket in the backyard together. That isn’t what is really needed. No, we need something that goes a bit deeper into those hidden parts. The parts we hide beneath the covers when the baby screams at 1:00AM and again at 3:00AM and in cups of coffee at 2:00 in the afternoon.
What if young women and older women could find a way to learn from each other? What if empty nesters and nesting mamas could connect in real time to bring each other hope? What if Jesus could make us a family of mamas and daughters who teach each other how to love Him with more joy, hope and love than we ever imagined?
We struggle in two ways. Younger women find it hard to connect with older women. Older women aren’t sure they have anything to offer or if they do that younger women even want to learn from them. That’s the struggle in our internet age. We are so connected we forget to really connect. For every inch of an Instagram photo there are the open plains of life that show all the dirty laundry and gaping hole of need that is our ever hungry hearts. We need to ask and answer those questions together. Yes, older women we desperately need you! If you have for a second doubted- WE NEED YOU!
I’m envisioning connection. I’m envisioning brave women asking courageous questions and giving bold answers. I see in my mind’s eye a table laid out with bread and wine, but also with bare hearts longing to meet with Jesus across generations. Because friends He is alive and well and on the move in the lives of some precious eighty year olds and the lives of precocious twenty year olds and at every age and stage in between.
How stunning would it be if we could all meet together in this beautiful mess of life?
I won’t invoke Titus 2 because this stretches well beyond that mandate- and sisters, it IS a mandate, a non-negotiable and we’ve underestimated for far too long how much we need to heed it. I will only say if you want true Gospel living walk with women truly living the Gospel.
These thoughts have been tossing and turning in my mind and have had me tossing and turning night after night because I want to see this gap closed and a fierce flock of women face-off with hope and heaps of Jesus all the hurt and evil this world might fling our way. These thoughts won’t leave me alone and so I ask for prayer and wisdom on how I might be a part of untangling this into a beautiful string of pearls and beauty and women learning to love Jesus together.
So nearly 1500 words later here we are. This is what happens when I am quiet too long.