Generation Cedar

The last post, The Difficulty of Mothering Alone and a Call for Older Women, brought much interest and the question of “how can older women best come alongside younger women” and encourage them, building up the next generation?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of suggestions, so I hope you will, using your particular experience, offer suggestions as well!

  • Verbal encouragement. This is so easy and so powerful! In a day where young mothers are faced with many forms of discouragement, just having an older woman “cheer her on” can bolster her strength. Consider sending a card or just pulling her aside to say, “I am so encouraged as I watch you faithfully raising soldiers for the glory of God”. Do not underestimate the power of words. You could even encourage perfect strangers in this way.
  • Meals. We all know the relief the ministry of food can be. Perhaps a tired mother just needs time to catch her breath. You could send a few frozen dishes to be pulled out on a hard day, items for breakfast or even a gift card to treat the couple to a date. I can even imagine that an older woman, experienced with easy meal preparation, could bless a younger mom (who may not have been well-taught in the kitchen), with some simple meal recipes and ideas.
  • Mother-Helper. Sending an older, young-adult daughter over to relieve a young mother can be a tremendous blessing to both families. She may watch younger children while the mother runs errands, or she may do light housework and/or prepare meals. I have both been a recipient of this service and have been able to send a daughter to help another mother, and the blessing of this kind of ministry is priceless.
  • Teaching your skills. I know many young mothers are learning for the first time and would love to have an older woman either show them all or show her daughters some practical home-making skills. The same goes for music lessons, art lessons or any other skill you have. Many can not afford lessons and would be so thrilled by this gift. An elderly widow volunteered to teach three of our girls piano and both she and our family are SO blessed by it! (She has shared with me how teaching has “given her life” again when she felt like she had nothing to offer anyone.)
  • Educational assistance. My thoughts here go to purchasing materials that a young family may not be able to afford but would appreciate. A magazine subscription to Creation magazine (or something similar), a set of science DVDs, a microscope, telescope, etc. Helping them enrich their educational atmosphere would be tremendously encouraging.
  • Just ask. Breaking the autonomous relationships among us and letting people know you are available and willing to help may simply come by saying so. Ask a young mother (or even an older mother with younger children) if there is something you could do to help her. You may have to be a bit persistent to let her know you are serious, but she will truly appreciate it!

Feel free to share your ideas and I hope we are all encouraged to bear one another’s burdens and share in one another’s joy!

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9 Responses

  1. These are good ideas, Kelly. A few additional thoughts:

    A favorite Titus 2 mentor of mine (and of many other ladies in our congregation) who has now gone home to the Lord did a number of things to bless other women: she led numerous Bible studies at various times and different locations several times a week; brought a hot meal to the homes of moms with new babies; and was faithful to pray for so many, and bless us by telling us she was praying for us (and she’d pray with us, too). This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, as she also ministered to her adult children and grandchildren in various ways, as well. But you get the idea: she kept busy blessing people.

    Another thing that came to mind when I read your post, Kelly, was the ministry we can have to young women and girls whose moms have died. I’m especially aware of this now, having lost two friends to cancer last year who left behind children who were not yet grown. I think it’s especially important to minister to very young girls who perhaps didn’t have a lot of years with their moms and who may not have any older sisters or other female relatives living nearby to come alongside them to mentor them female-to-female. I think it’s also important to minister to the whole family in these cases, bringing meals, providing transportation for the children with their school and other activities, or, in the case of homeschooled children, offering a place to stay and enjoy the fellowship of another family during the hours a homeschooling dad is at work.

    I was reminded of one other thing when you mentioned the Visionary Womanhood gatherings. These sound like a good idea. I’m wondering, though, if I understand correctly that these are set up for older women to mentor younger women? If so, it sounds like a wonderful ministry, but I’m thinking of the ladies who commented in your previous post that they can’t find anyone in their area who appears to be willing to come alongside them in a mentoring role. So for the younger moms who are in that situation, I just want to share an experience I had last year that you may be interested in setting up if no one else in your area is already doing this.

    A young married woman in our congregation, late 20’s/early 30’s (that’s young to me!), organized and led a ladies’ Bible study based on a book about marriage and our role as helpmeets to our husbands. The study was attended by women of various ages, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and possibly older. The discussions we had were so thought-provoking and edifying! Not only did the younger ladies learn from the life experiences of the older ones, but the olders were revitalized by the enthusiasm and exuberance of the youngers! And of course the Bible speaks to all of us, whatever our ages and stations in life. Young women, if you can’t find older women to mentor you, start a Christian book/Bible study, and you might find older women who want to join you who may not necessarily see themselves as leaders, but enjoy the company of women of different ages. Built-in mutual edification and joy for everyone involved, whatever book or topic you choose! (BTW, the book Calm My Anxious Heart lends itself well to Bible study, also, as it includes scripture verses and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter. Just something to think about if the idea of leading a study on marriage with ladies who have been married longer seems intimidating.) 😉

    Hope this helps! And thanks, Kelly. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for this blog. This is something that has been on my heart for the longest time. I am motivated to start up a women’s group in my church so we can all work together in helping each other with these very important issues. Thanks too for the link to the free ebook. I’m so grateful for it and know that it’s going to be a great help in working with others.

  2. This is wonderful! I find myself somewhere in the middle.:) Sometimes my role is as the “older woman” and sometimes(a lot:) I am very much in need of the “older women.” I think this partly because of my age…ahem, just turned 40 and that my oldest sweetie is 15 and the rest of my sweeties are 12,10,7,5,3,18m, and baby girl due in Jan. My heart breaks for those who have no older women to come along side them. I know what that is like too. We are blessed that we can receive some spiritual, emotional and mental encouragement via the internet but it does not take the place of the tangible life to life interaction God instructs us to have in His Word. My encouragement to those who feel very alone is to not lose hope. Keep praying. God does supply all our needs. Seek out Godly encouragement where it may be found like Kelly’s wonderful blog that is a beacon of light! If there are no examples in your church, we can always be the example. So encouraging to see so many reclaiming this area of Christian living that seems to have been lying dormant for awhile. Love Kelly’s and 6 arrows’ suggestions! Sometimes just being available for an occasion coffee to talk with other moms and encourage and exhort one another to love and good works. My only caution is to keep it Christ centered. It could be tempting to turn a wonderful opportunity into complaining or gossip. While we can share and lament with one another but our focus should always be to honor Christ. This can happen in many different situations, even prayer groups and Bible studies. Kelly, did I miss the book download? Thank you so much! Love and Hugs, jen in al

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  4. Is there a different link to the “Visionary Gathering” info. It says it is not available at that link. Thanks.

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