I don’t know about you, but as a woman there is one thing that I’ve always felt was lacking in my spiritual life: a mentor. I have wonderful, godly parents and awesome Christian friends, but I’ve always wanted an older woman in my life with whom to have an intentional mentoring relationship, someone who’s a little bit further along in life experience and can challenge me in the face of my spiritual blind spots. I had one in college, but since then I’ve largely been going it solo.
I know I’m not alone in this. A lot of women either yearn for a mentor, or simply desire solid friendships with other women. Maybe you just moved to a new area and you’re having trouble meeting people. Or maybe you’re going through a tough time and you need some women to walk alongside of you and support you. But your church is so big or your schedule is too busy and it’s just not happening.
So we get stuck feeling frustrated. Even hopeless. This is also a time when it’s easy to become bitter towards the church. Why isn’t the church supplying my need? Why aren’t Christians reaching out to me?
In response to these feelings of frustration, a friend of mine recently directed me to a passage of Scripture that was unexpectedly helpful: Luke 1:39-40.
In this passage, Mary has just received some of the scariest news of her life. She is pregnant out of wedlock with the Son of God. Yeah, yikes! On top of all that, she has no idea if Joseph will still marry her, or how she will support herself if he won’t. If there was ever a time when a woman needed another woman’s encouragement, it was then!
So what does Mary do? Does she stay in her house and wait for a woman to come find her? Does she walk by the other women in town with her head hung low, hoping they will notice? No! She seeks a woman out. She leaves town and goes to Elizabeth, a woman “filled with the Holy Spirit” who speaks truth to her and encourages her with the goodness of God’s blessing.
Even in a vulnerable, fragile state, Mary took initiative. She knew that she needed the support of another godly, woman, so she diligently sought it out. She put herself out there. And sometimes that’s what we need to do as well.
Sometimes it can be hard to meet new people, and sometimes we’re so tired and overwhelmed that the last thing we feel like doing is seeking someone out. But Mary’s example reminds us that as much as Christians should be reaching out to people, they don’t have the benefit of God’s omniscience. No Christian woman, no matter how compassionate or discerning, can know all the hurts and needs of those around her unless she is told. This reality puts a burden of responsibility on our own shoulders. We need to initiate.
It can be scary putting yourself out there and sometimes it can take time, but God gave us the church as a resource for life. Take advantage of it! I guarantee there are women at your church or a church near you who would LOVE to be a part of your life–they just haven’t met you yet.
So be like Mary. Be brave. Put yourself out there. If you meet someone new at church, ask her to meet you for coffee. Find out if your church has a small group you can plug into. Be the initiator. And like Mary, you are sure to find women who will spur you on toward Christ and make you feel most “blessed among women.”