Supporting our Christian sisters

At work  I have an office of my own. Across the corridor from me sits one of my colleagues in her office. Some afternoons she needs a little boost so I keep in my drawer some marshmallows that we both enjoy and share when she is running out of energy. It’s a small gesture that shows her that I care and there to help. It isn’t anything big but I believe that these little things are very important.

We need to do likewise with our Christian sisters, whether they live next door, in another state or country or we only know them via a blog or snail mail. In this world of great sadness (and increased isolation and lonliness), we need to support and encourage each other as much as we can. This is especially important for women who are at home all day with young children and do not venture out very much. Whilst home can be a safe and secure haven from the world — it can also be very isolating and that is not a healthy environment in the long term.  It is so important to mingle with other women, whilst husbands and children are wonderful company, other women offer a special type of support that is unique and important to women. 

When women get together (and I am not referring to the gossipy sorts of gatherings), women can talk honestly about how they feel; their doubts; their fears; their problems; their joys; their day to day activities; learn new household skills or ways of doing things; share new recipes; new hobbies and crafts but most importantly offer encouragement and words of kindness. Knowing that someone is looking out for you is such a comfort. The quote “a problem shared is a problem halved” is so very true.

If you look through history, women were neve isolated in suburbia as they are today. Women often met at the local market place in the village, at the water well, they met for afternoon tea, helped out with the birth of a new baby or the sick and elderly, gathered together to undertake joint craft projects or make jam together. Mothers often talked amongst each other as their children played in the street or chatted over the fence when hanging out the washing. Many of these opportunities have gone as we shut ourselves up in our homes, we don’t even let our children play with other children in the street in case “something” happens. Many people don’t even know or bother to get to know their neighbours. Just open up a book by Jane Austen is see how much mingling went on among women. 

I work with some lovely ladies and they are very supportive. Not everyone who works is as fortunate, but I have been blessed with some wonderful colleagues that have really got me through some very difficult periods in the last 12 months. Workplaces are often demonised by non-working mothers, but that has never been my experience. I work with other mothers and we often share our problems and joys and I have learnt a lot from these mothers (who have children the same age as my own). Stay-at-home-mothers often miss out on this interaction and it is so important that they find opportunities to get out and interact with other likeminded women.

Motherhood should not be a journey on one’s own — it should involve other women (as it always has in the past). I love seeing a group of young mothers out for coffee or visiting the park chatting away whilst their children play. 

You don’t need to always have friends that are “just like you”, it is good to find a mix — i.e. an older woman for advice and guidance (as in a Titus 2), someone with children of a similar age to your own (shared issues and problems) and if you home-school its always helpful to have some home-schooling friends so you can share ideas and perhaps outings with each other. "Sisters" don't need to be "face-to-face". They can live many miles away and the only interaction is via email, letters, Skype or Facebook. What is important is having other ladies to say "I'm thinking of you" or "I will pray for you" as those simply words can make all the differences. 

Women must not hid themselves away in their homes 24/7 caring for their families. Yes, house and family are VERY important and should always be put first, women must also think of their own wellbeing. Remember a healthy and happy mother and wife does a far better job as wife and mother when they have the support and encouragement from other christian sisters. 

I do hope my blog offers encouragement to other women, not only providing advice, but a place to smile, have a chuckle, look at beautiful art and perhaps build friendships. A place where you can stop by and feel like you are visiting my home for a cup of tea.


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Comments

  1. This is so true, Jo. And we need to be careful to support one another instead of criticising each other or looking down our noses at others because they are different. This world might be chock full of people, but it is a lonely place, especially for believers. Too often people are so caught up in their own world that they don't have time for one another. During that time you spoke of when women would spend time with their neighbours and meet to do sewing or preserves together etc, women largely stayed home, which made opportunity for them to have time to do those things. With a lot of women working today there just isn't that time to get together and do things like that (those working women understandably often have a lot of family requirements on the time they're not working) - and those who do stay home are often so far apart (in distance) from the women they know and are friends with that it is impossible to get together like that.
    For that reason, I am truly thankful for the internet and my resulting ability to communicate with other likeminded women! :)

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    1. Clara,
      Suburbia is one our biggest problems as it is very isolating. Once-upon-a-time people lived in small villages and towns where the townsfolk could meet up quite regularly for example to visit the market square. Even shopping was much more personable and time was spent chatting (they weren’t all in a rush as they are today). Even when you think of something like “Call the Midwives” set in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, everyone lived on top of each other and therefore looked out for each other. However with the creation of the suburbs, families moved further and further away from these central meeting places and houses became fenced in, front doors shut and suddenly we had all these women living in homes isolated from the goings on of the town or village and their female support was reduced considerably. This was one of the cries of the feminist movement, suburbia separated women from each other and from public life. Where as in the past, they were involved in what was going on in the town because they were part of the events. And to make it worse, more women are now working causing an emptying of suburbia during the day. Adding to the woes, supermarkets and the large shopping centres are all very cold and unfriendly so you are unlike to bump into other women you know (as you would in village life) and they aren’t places that are nice to linger. Humans were never meant to live like this and for women it can be very discouraging and lonely. With suburbia only getting bigger and moving further away from the town centres (and good transport) will only mean this problem will get worse for young families that are attracted to these outer suburbs due to cost.

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    2. I once watched a documentary about a new (public housing) town house estate in Germany (with open court yards with gardens and seating) mixing the elderly, with young mothers (many single mums). This worked really well. The young mothers would sit in the court yards playing with their children along with the elderly men and women and the young mothers found the support and encouragement from the older folk very helpful. I really like this idea of housing. Instead we move our elderly to their own enclaves and we have single mums living in lower-socio economic areas and the two don’t meet when they should be supporting each other.

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    3. You're spot on, Jo. Even in rural areas today there is often more communication between families and neighbours than there is in the suburbs, despite the fact that people live closer in suburbs. And yes, the separation of generations is not a good thing - the way the elderly are locked away doesn't help anyone! The German housing estate sounds great... but I think that requires a change in lifestyle - it's not just a housing problem.

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  2. I agree that suburbia can be a very isolating place. Close-knit neighborhoods with front porches, and stores within walking distance, that would be wonderful. And I agree with you, that women need each other for support and encouragement. A good work environment is a blessing. Glad you have that Jo.

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    1. Those "good old days" are sadly gone and we women need to find other ways of getting together. The other thing that has changed is the distance grandparents are now from their daughters and grandchildren making that network of support even more difficult.

      I am very blessed to have such a great work environment and it is something I thank the Lord for often as it wasn't a job I went look for, it found me!!

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  3. Fabulous post. It is so important to have the support you need and also to be able to give it to others. I really don't understand women who have a need to gossip and tear each other down. I guess there must be some underlying reason, but it is very sad that women find the need to act that way. I find blogs like yours a wonderful blessing and encouragement.

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    1. When I was first married I moved many many miles away from friends and family and whilst I coped, it was lonely and now looking back, things might have been better if I had the support of Christian friends.

      Gossip and pulling each other down is just so horrible and nasty - I to, can’t figure out why women need or even want to do this. Very sad. So glad I can offer encouragement to other women (if only we had blogging when I was first married!!!)

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  4. Hello Jo! I also have been blessed with women friends in all the categories and by various media. I've written about the friendships of women myself in the past and I value those precious Godly women who God has placed in my life. Sorry to hear you have had trials in the past year. I have been out of contact through blogs for quite a while and I'm just getting back to touching base with some old friends.

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    1. Hi Ruby, always a delight to hear from you. Yes, the last 12 -18 months have been very tough with our son suffering from depression. But we have turned the corner and he has moved back home (we built a studio for him) and he has a new job (much nicer work environment) and thinking about study. His life is getting back on track and all the fears and worries are being sorted out. Mental illness is nasty and for a young man, very difficult. God has been GOOD and we aren't where we are today without Him.

      You are so right, God does put the right women in our paths just as we need them - perfect timing as always.

      So glad to hear from you, I do think of you and yours from time to time xxxx

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  5. Wonderful post! Very kind sounding and thoughtful. It's refreshing.
    I like to have friends of all sorts, it keeps me on my toes, lol!

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  6. It is so important to encourage and support other women... we all have challenges and it is so easy to compete with one another... and yet, we are all walking this walk of faith in Christ.. and we need to love and encourage... and keep our eyes on Christ for strength. :)

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    1. I don't think we realise how important this encouragement really is and often take it for granted. Without Christ we are nothing. :)

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  7. I agree with you that it is important to have supportive Christian friends and I also believe it is important to have like minded Christian friends. I have friends of all ages at our church but I find the younger ones are not as friendly or are drawn mainly to their own age group. I am slowing picking a way through this group armour and hope to be a friend to those in need, maybe one day being the "older woman". I am finding this blog thing great for encouragment and like mindedness and I have met so many wonderful ladies. Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays.

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    1. I think younger women should be encouraged by the church to get to know the older women. I grew up attending a family home based meeting where I had older aunts and I learnt so much from them and so much appreciate that closeness I had with them. Having older women around is SO important and they are fun too!!

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  8. Dear Jo, this was such a beautiful post on a subject that is not often talked about... Yes, women do need the encouragement of other Christian women... I have the blessing of having a wonderful mother and sisters to daily share with but how true that I need to encourage them!
    And it has indeed been a great privilege meeting sisters in Christ through the blogging world!
    Many blessings to you,
    Kelly-Anne

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    1. You are very blessed to have sisters and mother to encourage you. My mother is now very elderly and not in the best of heath so I find myself offer encouragement rather than the other way round. And sadly, I do not have any sisters but I do have some wonderful cousins who are Christian who are very encouraging. In fact I think we encourage each other. I agree - I have met some wonderful ladies, young and older who are so wise and helpful and also very encouraging.

      Thankyou so much for visiting :)

      In God’s grace.

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    2. I have cousins who encourage me, too ;) I agree, we do encourage one another. :D

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    3. I think we encourage each other and that is such a wonderful blessing and even though we are separated by some distances, it really doesn't seem to matter at all.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this at the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!

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