If you are like me, as a leader of women, you are searching for ways to engage and connect with young women in your church and community. Read these heartfelt thoughts from a young adult, guest blogger Lauren Farmer, who serves as an Event Project Coordinator for LifeWay’s Women’s Training and Events.
"I spend a lot of time talking to friends about our dreams and desires for our lives and futures, what we hope it will be like and, honestly, what we are disappointed with in our lives presently. It’s not that we aim to talk about these things; it just seems that many of our conversations naturally end up going this direction. Part of it is that we are “young” (my gray hair has quickly made this 27 year old not feel so young at all!) and have much of our lives ahead of us. And, yes, some of these conversations could be tied to generational differences – my generation has a profound sense of needing to make a difference in the world. Previous generations have, of course, felt the desire to make a difference in the world too. However, my generation’s response to this desire to make a difference in the world looks different than how our parents and grandparents did. Recently, I’ve also wondered if this unrest among many young women has much to do with what we have overlooked in the life of Christ. Follow me, here…
The Gospels describe the life and ministry of Jesus. We spend time studying His life, teachings, miracles, where He went, what He did, and the list goes on and on. Our attention is almost always focused on the action (the miracle, his birth, what he taught to a particular group of people, etc.). But, I wonder if in focusing on these wonderful and foundational Truths, we have forgotten the many hours, days and years where we find silence in the Scriptures about the details of the life of Christ. I believe these “silences” have much to say to myself and to other young women who are desperate to live out their callings and see the Lord use them in great ways.
Understand our situation as young women … we’ve followed what we thought was the Lord’s leading in vocation, education, and preparation so that we could do what we believe the Lord is calling us to and be used by Him. Most young women I know want nothing more than to see their skills and giftings intersect with their passion to the glory of God. But, instead, we find ourselves feeling like we finished our pre-requisites, and rather than being used in the great ways we dreamed about, we find our days filled with the mundane, the ordinary, the “insignificant.” Statements like, “I am capable of so much more than what I do in my job,” and “I want to do something that matters,” permeate and conversations. It seems that what we’ve all missed is what the silences in the life of Christ have to say to me in this season of my life. They whisper to my heart, “You’re time has not come yet, but you’re time is not wasted.”
When I look at Jesus’ life, I see a God-man who spent roughly 30 out of his 33 years doing what I so often classify as the mundane, ordinary and insignificant. He was a carpenter. Nothing too special or what I would classify as “significant” in being a carpenter. However, I believe that God had a purpose for Jesus in those 30 years just as much as He did in those 3 years. It seems that Jesus, too, had a time of preparation before his public ministry began – that is a time of waiting, learning, and preparing to live out the full purpose of His being sent. But, Jesus is not unique in this. In fact, it seems to be the ruler in the economy of the Kingdom, those who want to be used greatly must be prepared to the highest degree. Think of Esther, Joseph, Abraham, the Apostle Paul, and Ruth to name a few.
It’s these truths that we young women need to hear, to be reminded of, and encouraged in. I need to know that this season, this struggle, this trial, and even this mundane day is not wasted in the sovereign, wise and gracious hands of our God. My sweet friends need to hear the same. I need to be reminded that my God does not waste anything. And He has not forgotten me or the desires he put in my heart. In fact, it is quite the opposite. He is preparing me and refining me to be used by Him for His glory. My time will come. I can rest in that and find contentment in the tasks and even trials that the Lord is giving me today. My challenge today is to walk faithfully with my God and trust his heart when I can’t see his plan.
“For I know the plans I have for you…” (Jeremiah 29:11)
A few practical ideas for how you can encourage younger women in a season of preparation….
· Share your story. We often think we’re the only ones going through this season. Knowing we’re not alone is often just what we need.
· Encourage and affirm her gifts, dreams and desires. Hearing someone we respect and admire recognize these things in us affirms us and helps us to not give up on them.
· Connect her with women who have similar gifts and passions. Seeing someone a little bit (or a lot) further down the road helps us to persevere and to be faithful in where the Lord has us today.
· Look for opportunities to allow younger women to serve in things that they are passionate about or where they can use their gift sets.
Is there a time of preparation or part of your journey that you could share with a young woman to encourage her? Is there a young woman you see God’s hand of preparation and pruning on that you could encourage, have coffee with or even commit to meet regularly with?
Lauren is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where she received a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Leadership. During her time in Louisville, she served as interim Associate Director of Student Life and Adjunct Instructor of Christian Education at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Lauren has a passion for reaching and equipping young women.
Other helpful Leadership resources: