The gathering happened and afterward I returned home again to my warm, comfortable, familiar, safe haven. Now, nearly two weeks later, I look back with heartfelt gratefulness. It was such a stretch for me, but I’m so glad I met the people I did and am thankful for the messages that were shared.
Over the years I’ve headed women’s ministries, Bible studies, retreats, and other church events. So I totally get the gatherings deal and the sincerest efforts to create a space where women will gather, feel the love, be ministered to, and not feel like they’re on the outside. I know the planning that goes into making each woman feel as though the evening was planned specially for her. I’ve worked at fine tuning programs to include levity, food, chocolate, and messages that touch the heart, to stir responses and affirmations of faith, joy and hope.
That gathering had those elements—by design or incidentally. It was beautiful, warm and welcoming—and the food was delicious. I now recognize that I’ve longed for such a gathering—to feel the familiar and to receive much needed encouragement.
I’ve reflected on the blessings of the warm conversations and the messages of each of the speakers and much inspiration has come from the things they shared. And since I began writing this entry it’s occurred to me that I’m so not alone in longing for fellowship such as was visibly demonstrated in the elements of that gathering.
And upon further reflection, I’m sure there’re older moms just like me—moms who find themselves journeying along in the midst of moms who aren’t in this next season yet—this season of moms who’ve raised families, who are dealing with adult children, grandchildren, aging parents, aging issues themselves, regrets, desire to still be useful and on and on.
Maybe, like me, you attend a church where younger moms fill the positions of leadership and are beyond busy with activities and programs for women and all the children—you know, doing all the stuff we used to do. And now, we are the older women we used to tell to ‘rest and enjoy, we’ve got it handled, thank you.’ And the older women faded into the margins. And eventually died… along with their stories.
I so don’t want that to be me and I don’t want that to be you.
So, hopefully this blog might minister to older moms-of-many in need of the same encouragement I’ve been desiring. I’ll keep using this platform and the ACH site I’ve had for over 20 years… I’ll endeavour to write more regularly and hopefully minister to those longings… and encourage us both to stay in the game! It’s taken me ten years of climbing out of regret to resolutely determine to not be super-glued to failures and disappointments. They’ve been emotionally paralyzing me from being able to confidently move ahead. And to dare to go to a gathering of “strangers!” I’m so glad I jumped off that highdive!
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own,
because Christ Jesus has made me His own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let those of us who are mature think this way,
and if in anything you think otherwise,
God will reveal that also to you.
Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
philippians 3.12-16 esv