In 2015 I launched a new ministry endeavour to women called The Exchange. We held our first weekend retreat for women in October. A time for them to get refreshed and encouraged. This was a long-held dream becoming a reality. So although it was humble beginnings to most, it was a big deal to me.
It was the first night of the retreat. In the middle of trying to track down lost women on their way to the venue and figuring out where everyone was going to sit for dinner, I got a phone call.
“Hi Lindsey, It’s me, Gillian!”
“Gillian… from church!”
“Are you at your retreat?”
“Well, I just called to say, I’m praying for you and I wanted you to know that. It’s going to be a wonderful time and you will bless many women. Keep going and enjoy every minute. I support you!”
Oh. My. Goodness.
Now, Gillian is 70…ish. I know her from church, have been in her home and she is so lovely. She has followed Jesus more years than I have been alive. I had mentioned this retreat to her but not a lot. How she remembered that it was that specific weekend is a mystery to me. But she remembered. And she was praying.
The fact that she called me… it just sent courage straight down in to my toes.
You see, I’ve got a secret weapon in my life and it’s called older women. I’ve seen the power of having older women in my life. I actually seek it out now because they are simply the best. The support, encouragement and wisdom they offer is one-of-a-kind.
In scripture it actually commands the “older women to teach the younger women”. Often we side-step this verse because it has been used to trap women into being Sunday School teachers or doing Women’s ministry in the form of tea parties. While the men do the real work.
But, let’s not miss out. Older women pouring into younger women. Older women can give us something that we are so desperate for. They often have a courage and steadfastness that comes from years of fighting battles. They have a wisdom that comes from successes and failures. They know God in a way that is so attractive to me because it has stood the test of time. They have a perspective that I lack.
I have some great older women.
I have Judy that listens to me and tells me to “God can be trusted!” When Judy says, “Lindsey, you can do it, you can trust God in this journey. He is a big God.” I believe her. My doubts fade and my vision of God get’s bigger.
When Joanne listened to me as a 20 year old and sincerely said, “I’m proud of all you are doing”. My heart grew more full.
Some days I’m trying to keep it all together and look strong. Then Susan says, “How are you doing? You seem tired… can I give you a hug?” I’m like, “Forget strong and put together! I definitely need a hug! And some of your coffee… can I come to your house and drink your coffee?”
And my Mom, of course, who has told me approximately 3,415 times that she is so proud of me and to never stop obeying God.
There are more older women, I could go on. Each one has been significant to me.
When Gillian says, “I’m praying for you, good job!” it is different than when a 25 year old says it.
Not better, just different.
When an older woman says, “Yes, raising kids is difficult, I’ve been there.” It is different then when one of my friends says it.
So, to all the “older women” in my life. I thank you. And I say, younger women need you.
If you are a younger woman and don’t have this in your life… you are missing out.
A month after the phone call, Gillian typed out a verse that was significant. She had glued it to a pretty piece of paper and gave it to me with a hand-written note on the back.
It was just so special to me that this wise and faithful woman took the time to do that for me… verses on colourful paper! I can’t even. I still have it in my bedside stand and re-read the verse often.
No matter how old you are, what older woman could you seek out and say, “Could I come to your house and drink your coffee?” You will be glad you did.
Photo Credit: Tiago Vidal Dutra