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Giving the Gift of You

Christmas lists abound this time of year, and kids aren’t the only ones making them! (I have grown men in my family who e-mail lists to us–complete with links to items!) I confess that I too find myself daydreaming about what I’s hard not to when commercials with sparkly things roll every 10 minutes! But what if our lists included the deeper desires of our hearts as women? In our quietness, I’d venture to say we may ask for things like these this Christmas:

  • Someone who checks to see how I’m doing...
  • Someone who will listen to me when I share my heart, who wants to listen to my story...
  • Someone who just enjoys being with me, even doing nothing...
  • Someone who is more mature, but treats me respectfully as she offers wise counsel...
  • Someone who grieves with me when I grieve, and rejoices with me when I rejoice...
  • Someone who accepts me where I’m at today, but believes I will be more beautiful tomorrow!

Often the very “gift” we forget to offer others, is the very “gift” they need most: ourselves! I know, it’s so hard sometimes. We are busy women, time and energy are scarce. We can be guarded women, especially if we’ve been hurt in friendships before. God’s daughters sharing life together is powerful, so the enemy loves to “wedge” himself between women in conflict – another reason we hold ourselves back often. Some of us are doubting women—wondering if we even have anything to offer! We question the “gift” of ourselves based on our personal insecurities, and reason that others would be better off with our service, meals, organization, things or distance.

For some, it’s a matter of just not knowing where to start! Who do you talk to, about what, when do you initiate, what if she isn’t interested, what if my style is outdated, what if it gets heavy, what if I don’t know what to say, what if she asks me something in Scripture I have no clue about, and so on. There are countless reasons to NOT open yourself up for relationship, but Jesus calls us to step out in wisdom, courage and faith! God designed us for relationship, and Jesus lived, taught and served in relationships with others. (Ok, maybe you can’t swing discipleship with 12 people every season of life—but you get the picture). If “how-to” is what you lack, ask the Lord for wisdom! He is eager to give it to you! Also, “mentoring” is a hot topic today, so there are resources here and everywhere on how to share your influence. Grace Women is designed to empower you to fulfill the Titus 2 call: mature women train up the younger women! The Millennial generation (born from 1980-2000) is generally a teachable generation with a desire for mentors – people who are available to invest in them as they navigate life’s choices.[1] The need is real, it may not be on Christmas lists, but it’s real!

Rise Up is a local ministry partner to GFC actively serving our community through mentoring opportunities with children. Often just “showing up” and being present with someone to listen, share life experiences, encourage, laugh or hug them, is sometimes all it takes to make a real difference!

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a young girl who has forever been implanted on my heart. She has her share of challenges, not unlike many of us, but over the years I’ve seen her choose to keep going, make better choices, listen to counsel and share her heart. I’ve heard her state honestly she doesn’t pray out loud, and then been moved to tears when a year later she is first to reach across a table for my hands to pray for us (loudly) in a public restaurant. She has challenged me to forgive those who hurt me, even those who hurt me deeply. I haven’t always been there for her, and I haven’t done everything other mentors do. I haven’t always had the right words, or said the right words the right way. No, I’ve pretty much just been an imperfect human. But the Lord has done something in our midst that is beautiful! His continual encouragement to my easily-wearied heart is to just show up. After all, it is Christ in us we are truly offering another when we offer ourselves – He is the gift!

I pray you consider giving yourself as a “gift” in friendship, this Christmas and in 2013. We will do all we can to give you what you need to do this well, but remember...keep it simple, sister and just show up.

Want to bless Rise Up? Volunteer to help with Giving Depot this week or weekend! (or bless them in other ways at  Times available to help with the Giving Depot are: Thurs, Dec. 6, stop by the RiseUp! gym between 1-5pm to help put final touches on the Giving Depot setup.  On Sat, Dec. 8, there are needs with the clean up shift which is 3:45-5pm.  If you'd like to do either one, email Lois directly about it.

[1] Thom S. Rainer and Jess W. Rainer, The Millennials (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011); pp. 40-41.

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