My mother, in her wisdom, saw that it would be beneficial to both her and me if other women were involved in mine and my sister's lives. My aunts and my grandmothers were huge role models for me and I looked to them and my mother for leadership and guidance. Since I was an obnoxious teenager this was done more by observing them in their various roles. Now that I'm grown I see the wisdom in the way this works. Women were never meant to do things by themselves. We are told otherwise in our society. Look good, be great at whatever you do (mothering, working, cooking, cleaning, being a wife, and, oh yeah, juggling church, sports, PTA, diets, exercise, and your relationship with God- for brownie points), and if you do not do these things then you hide it behind a well-timed wink and a smile; or the mask. Push it down. Swallow another mouthful of guilt and keep on ticking. I am convinced many women are in agony under various forms of eating disorders, guilt, and a central feeling of complete desperation and desolation.
Our retreat this weekend was about Spiritual Mothering; or when an older woman takes a younger woman under her wing. She encourages her in the gospel with every facet of her life. Not with guilt, but with gentle encouragement to give her the confidence to be able to teach others the gospel and to be able to do ministry in the church. I have many spiritual mothers, some of which are only two years older than me. These women have quietly given me the confidence to be able to live the gospel throughout my life. They help me parent my children, they encourage me to love my husband, and they light a fire in me to know the Word. I watch them tirelessly, not only in admiration, but also encouraged that they are not perfect. They sin and have faults, but still live in the gospel. They have lost family members and friends and glorify God in their grief. They hung up their masks long ago and enjoy their freedom of being in Christ with no guilt. There is no false spirituality; why would it be false when there is no one to impress? I am a Princess of the King (Jenny Bartz phraseology) and with Him I need no falseness. He loves me because I am His child. I am nothing without Him; life would be completely meaningless. These spiritual mothers have helped me understand that and have encouraged me in the faith.
I encourage you to be frank. Be honest about your sin. Talk about your struggles. Be realistic with others. Create a safe place; a community of believers who actually love each other and know each other, even with their sin. The gospel is for the hopeless! When I was 27 years old, I honestly thought I would not make real adult women relationships. The mask was firmly in place and I was quietly despairing. Now the gospel has shattered the mask and other believers have shown me a true confidence in my identity.
What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and know Him forever. Praise His name forever!