How to walk with women? How to support and encourage? How to advocate and defend? How to love and befriend?
It doesn’t take a march on Washington (though I’m not opposed to writing legislators, voting in the good guys/gals, and peaceful protests), it only takes some thought, some prayer, and some follow through.
Be warned though, that the prayer could be risky and the follow through costly. I promise that the rewards make it worth every sacrifice
Here’s a confession: I didn’t really have the confidence to truly walk with women when I was younger. I had ideas, but lacked the courage to initiate. Watching other women sacrifice boldly for me was how I learned…
Miss Riggs, my middle school teacher, wrote notes, cooked special meals, and remembered birthdays.
Cathy fed me dinner every Monday night along with her family of six while Robert was in seminary.
Bertha, an older woman, took me out to lunch and welcomed me to town.
Tamyra brought me two bags of Old Navy clothes for my toddler boy when I couldn’t afford winter clothes.
Karla hugged me, and listened to me, and remembered my stories and the names of every person involved.
Deborah bought me a dress for Easter Sunday complete with jewelry.
Caryl stopped by with the $200 she’d just earned “for your ministry of hospitality.”
Romy sends me postcards and remembers my birthday.
Alena, a student, asks questions, prays for me, and thanks me for serving.
Lois changes the sheets on my bed to welcome me home and stocks the frig with treats.
Betsy smiles at me, laughs with me, and asks “How are you?”
Lizzie, a student, invited me to lunch in her dining hall and asked about my life and my health.
Jayden, my teenaged daughter’s friend, tells me I look pretty or that she likes my outfit.
Cas taught me the Bible and had high expectations of me.
Sara allowed me to share in the natural birth of her firstborn.
Christy babysat for free when I was too sick to get out of bed.
Kayla gave generously for my mission trip and many other mission trips and projects.
From these women and so many others, I learned to how to follow through with what I knew to be our call in Christ…
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus… Philippians 2: 3-5
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16
I have a feeling that if you are reading this, you are probably already engaged in loving and serving other women well, but here are some things that came to mind just in case you need a bit of inspiration:
- Love her children, offer to babysit, bring them a new book when you do.
- Write her a note. Start your sentences with this: “You are so…thoughtful, beautiful, faithful…”
- Take her a meal. Organize a week/month of meals during a difficult time.
- Invite her over for tea/coffee/lemonade. Ask get-to-know-you questions.
- If she’s single and you’re not, invite her to your family birthday, Christmas, or Easter celebration. Maybe even your weekend vacation?
- If you’re single and she’s not, offer to cook for her family in their home one night. (Be sure to do the dishes, too!)
- Ask her what her current challenges are, and then pray for her on the spot.
- Organize her pantry or clean her bathrooms – or both!
- Send her flowers or stop by with them just because.
- Tell her she is beautiful and capable.
- Believe her. Believe in her.
- Go with her…to the doctor, the lawyer, the bank, the counselor, the admissions office. Speak up for her if need be.
- Encourage her gifts, her calling, her dreams. Give her the supplies she needs to realize them.
- Ask this: How are you? Then listen and ask questions.
- Share the gospel with her – even if she already knows it.
- Read/Study the Bible with her.
- Invite her to church.
- Love her enough to speak truth to her. Don’t indulge her sin or selfishness.
- Be patient with her limitations and fears.
- Look for burdens to lift and lift them. Recruit others to help if need be.
- Provide for her financially when she’s struggling. Take her to Target. Buy her some gas.
- Go to her presentation, her graduation, her concert performance.
- Give her a book that will help or encourage her.
- Visit her in the hospital – or go with her to visit her own loved one.
- Be honest with her about your own life and struggles.
- Praise her. Showcase her gifts and abilities in front of others. Speak up for her.
- Rejoice with her – when she’s promoted, gets engaged, pays off her loans.
- Mourn with her – when he breaks her heart, she loses the baby, feels betrayed.
- Rally your contacts or network on her behalf.
- Don’t say “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” (She won’t. Trust me.) Say this instead: “Would Wednesday be a good day for me to do this: ____________________?”
Recently, a young mother didn’t abort her twins because of the generous encouragement and provision of other women. I count it a privilege to have been a part of it all. If you’ve been reading here, you know they story. All it took was one trip to the pregnancy center with a concerned friend and one Facebook plea from an almost complete stranger to provide every single item two babies and one single mama might need in the first year of life.
And not only did she receive physical, tangible help, but she also received the kindness and emotional support of the many women who approached her in the back of the church a few Sundays in a row with a smile and inquiries about her well-being. More than that, she received (mostly unaware) the prayers of women all over the world.
Oh, it will take much more than a fulfilled Amazon baby registry. The days ahead will be difficult, and she’ll likely need years of emotional and financial support, but I’m convinced we can do it – for her and for all of the women in our midst.
Believing women know that their treasure is in heaven, and so they can help rather than horde.
They can give with courage rather than grasp in fear.
It doesn’t take an angry march.
It takes a walk of faith.