i was catching up on reading a favorite blog, (Teaching What is Good), and based on what was written, i felt compelled to also share my thoughts.
i suppose i could have entitled this blog “Women and Friendships….or the lack thereof”. i have spent a great majority of my Christian life either teaching children, my own and others’ or, as God seemed to shape my spiritual gifts and ministry, more often teaching and encouraging younger women. i delight in doing so, even though in my entire 31 yrs. as a Christian, i had a Titus 2 ‘older’ woman mentor me for only 1 1/2 yrs. while living in Japan.
Being a military wife for 24 yrs., i was never near family, so had no family to turn to when crises or problems arose, or life felt overwhelming. Times my husband was deployed, and i really didn’t have other Christian women who came alongside me, i learned to “gut it out” with “only” my faith in God and His care to rely upon. I say “only”, because though i often wished and prayed for other women my age or situation to befriend me or share things with; i learned, through the absence of having that in my life, that God was truly enough. He used my desparateness in trying times, to grow stronger in Him, though there are times i asked Him, “Would it hurt to have had at least one woman i could have turned to then?” Perhaps, from God’s persepective, it could have!
Like my friend, Kate, whose blog prompts these thoughts, i am truly content with my life and circumstances. i have wondered, and sometimes still wonder why i don’t have older or similar age women in my immediate life; (meaning women who physically live in the same town as me). Women who understand what i’m experiencing at my age or previous ages of life and want to share that journey together. For 3 blessed years, from 2006-2009, God gave me a “bosom” friend, and we shared a rich and intimate friendship. Then, unexpectedly, God took my friend home to be with Him in 2009. There is still a hole in my life that has been left by the departure of my friend, Marilyn. And Kate….God sent she and Kevin to Illinois just as we were really really “clicking” and spending more time together. PLEASE, you younger women who have been in my life….don’t misunderstand….you are all precious to me; and you have often lifted my heart and are a source of joy to me!
However, over the years, when i went through 2 cancers and one major surgery for multiple broken bones; i wondered why it was that the only 2 meals i ever received in my entire 31 Christian years came from 2 younger women; (who are like daughters to me); one who lives 20+ miles away…and the other here in town. Why did women with whom i had taught with or been taught by or attended a Bible study together, women closer to my age or somewhat older; women who either received a meal or meals from me; who called me to pray for them, or who called and i literally, physically, came running to offer encouragement, or words of wisdom, or to run an errand, or whatever….why were they so glaringly absent? And why do they continue to be absent? Why do they not respond to my overtures to “go out for coffee” or meet for lunch? Is my personality off-putting? Am i intimidating? Boring? Do i need to change deoderant???
Yes, i have often felt a certain “aloneness” except for brief ‘moments’ such as Kate living here, and my friend, Marilyn. Don’t get me wrong, i have fellowshipped with all ages of women at church functions in the different churches we have been blessed to be part of over our many moves, but most of my more intimate ‘friendships’ have been with younger women that are like daughters. i have, over the last few years pondered these things. But, God knows best. i love being an “older woman” to younger women. And God, in His wisdom, knows what is best for each individual child of His. Perhaps, were there more, or even one, woman my age with whom i “hung out” or who was more ‘available’ for intimate fellowship, i would be less effective in the ministry to young women; have less time for what God wants me to make a priority.
After all, it’s not about “me”….it’s about being about my FATHER’S business! You never see Jesus ‘whining’ about His path in life. How disappointed He, who never let anyone down, must have felt when, experiencing, in Gethsemane, the agony of what was ahead, that His disciples could not even stay awake, though He had specifically asked them to “watch and pray” (3 times, no less!). And when they all fled, and He, alone, faced the Sanhedrin, and Pilate, and finally, the Cross. Oh, how alone He was, when even the Father turned His back on Him for my sake! But Scripture tells me in Hebrews that “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” Well, if how God chooses to use me, means i feel a bit “alone” or “lonely”….what is that to the joy that will one day be made full…and is even now being made full by living the life God seems to have ordered for me!? It has been in those “alone” moments, that i have been driven ever closer to the Lord who loves me and fulfills all my needs in Himself. In Him are the real joys and riches and “pleasures forevermore”. Amen!