What Wisdom Looks Like
I was the kid at restaurants and holidays who always figured out a way to sit at the “grown-up table,” even if it meant crawling up on someone’s lap. I am also guilty of occasionally faking sleep on the couch so that I could stay up and listen to my parents and their friends. The Lord has been generous, in nearly every stage of my life, to surround me with women who are older and wiser than me--women who will share their stories and graciously listen to mine. And I am so very grateful.
In many ways, it is these intergenerational relationships that make me love the Church the most. They make church feel like home to me; they are the ones that make it feel like a family. I love a meal all jumbled up with different life-stages. I love their perspectives and their humor and their stories.
I served in a women's ministry for about four years, and I got to learn how to study God’s Word and how to write in the middle of a group of women who are ahead of me in life and learning. I grew up right there in the midst of them. I saw what compassion looked like. And gentleness. And strength. And grace. They encouraged me. They challenged me. They were patient with me. I don’t get to see them very often anymore, but I love them dearly. And I think of them often. [If you Prepare for Life people are reading this: HI!!! I miss you, and I love you!]
We have this thing at our church called Wisdom for Women. We gather as a group of women from all different generations, and three of the women who have walked through life ahead of us share about a specific theme or topic. They share about who God is and who He has been to them. They share their stories. They share information, but it’s more than that—and maybe that’s what wisdom is. It’s information tempered by life and by the very presence of the Living God.
Well, last year, I figured out that if I help coordinate these events, then I don’t only get to the attend the monthly meetings, I also get to have a lot more interaction with these wise women. [I’m still the “kid” who figures out a way to sit at the “grown up table.”]
So, a few weeks ago, I sat in the middle of about twenty of those women, and I listened to them answer the question: “What is one thing you would tell a thirty-year-old woman? What do you wish you would have known?”
I listened carefully. And as soon as it wasn’t rude to reach for my phone, I jotted down some notes. As one of the only two [almost] thirty-year-old women in the room, I feel like I should share with you some of what they said.
Here is what they shared, as best I can remember it:
You are--and you will be--okay.
Write things down!
Walk with the Lord in the small, daily things.
Know how much God delights in you.
Be disciplined to read the Scriptures.
Know who you are. And be comfortable with it.
“This too shall pass.” [Really.]
Everything is redeemable.
Stay connected to the Body of Christ (the group of believers that you are a part of), even when you feel like pulling back.
Pray for your children, even if you don’t have them yet.
I know that many of you who spoke those words will also read these words. Thank you. From the very bottom of my heart. For being the Church to me, for sharing your hearts, for letting me share mine.
I appreciate your wisdom. But you are the treasure!
I wish the rest of you could see their faces, honest as they spoke, gentle, compassionate. Because that is wisdom--not the information that they pass along, but the Presence of God that they carry into their daily lives, into the lives of those around them.
They have searched for God and found Him. He has met them right there on their Mondays. They have experienced His strength and His power and His gentleness and His goodness. They don't just know it in theory. They've experienced it.
The Spirit of God dwells in them, and they pour Him out in their varied and unique ways. And we get to see a glimpse of what He looks like.
Wisdom is so much more than knowledge or life-skill. I can't really define it, I guess. But it looks good on people. And we'll know it when we see it. It looks a lot like Jesus. It looks a lot like faces turned toward Him, reflecting Him back to this world.
If you don’t have women (or men) who have walked this road ahead of you in your life, start asking your Father for them. And then look around. And if you have to, sneak over to that grown up table, and pull up a chair.