Church ladies have gotten a bad wrap. You know the stereotype, prim and proper, judgmental, and out of touch. If I’m honest, they can even get a bad wrap from me… and I’ve been one for twenty five years. The other day, I sat in a group of church ladies, and marveled. These are women who have been roughed up by life. They have walked through the fire but they are still walking. They are my heroes.
On this beautiful Saturday, the ladies had gathered for a baby shower. The church ladies poured out their love in the form of gifts… practical diapers, handmade blankets, pink clothes, crib bumpers and all. They oh’d and ah’d at all the appropriate places as the mom-to-be unwrapped and the gifts gathered around her. “Thank you Shirley,” “Thank you Dottie,” “Thank you Brenda.” In the months that baby has grown and nearly outgrown her young mom, these ladies have been busy. They knit love in to blankets and sweaters, they stitched prayers into colorful quilts, and today they poured it all into the lap of this young one. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
I’ve known this young woman since she was a freckle faced imp running through the sanctuary. She has struggled, as young adults do, with the community that collectively raised her…. and yet, today she received our love. The ladies who taught her Sunday school class, decorated for VBS, and prayed her through the high school years, now are helping to prepare her for motherhood. We all know, there is no preparation. These wrinkled faces and hands, will continue to pray for her whether she is near or far, they will look for ways to bless her. Not because of who she is, but because of who they are.
The church ladies I know, are much more likely to wipe away a tear and encourage a young one who stumbles than to criticize. When they see a need, they simply meet it. They run a food pantry on Thursdays, feed homeless people on Saturday mornings, and meet needs in dozens of unique ways. The church ladies I love are organizing supplies, loving young people, and sharing burdens. They are involved with ministries that reach around the globe offering good news and practical help wherever there is a need. These women know that life is hard. They know that raising children is harder. They know that a soft word, a belly laugh, and a good casserole may not change the world, but it can help.