They laughed when she referred to them as church ladies, she being too young to recognize the reference to Dana Carvey and his Saturday Night Live schtick. I watched as the women of her church surrounded my daughter as she prepares to become a mama. Her mother and sisters-in-law had bedecked the fellowship hall in a nautical theme; matching the décor she has chosen for the room waiting to welcome her baby.
I watched as my daughter’s family members and church ladies bustled back and forth between the kitchen and fellowship hall, greeting one another, carrying crock pots of soup, arranging platters of fruits and vegetables, and organizing the display of gifts. And I recognized them. These same women exist in my church back home, the church in which my daughter grew up; the church which threw a baby shower for me when she arrived.
I recognized the women who have a knack for knowing what needs to be done and making it happen, as well as the ones who have an eye for detail and design. I saw the little girls, some dressed in sparkly dresses and missing a front tooth, eyeing the gift table laden with packages. In my church, those little girls often sit at the feet of the one opening her gifts. When I see them on occasions like this, I can almost picture their little-girl daydreams of being wives and mothers one day. And it doesn’t seem that long ago that my baby girl and her sweet friends were the ones doing the daydreaming.
I knew these women, but not by name—not all of them, anyway. As a guest with no responsibilities for set-up or clean-up, I was free to receive their hospitality and witness the familiar dance unfolding before me. Different church, different women, parallel activities: One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
In a strange amalgam of joy and sadness, I watched the community of women who will surround my daughter and help her learn the hard work of becoming a mama. With each smile extended, each act of service offered, and each gift given, these women assured my daughter, and me, that she will not be on her own. I am one of these church ladies back where my daughter came from. Now she has her own, and I am not one of them.
But I am so very grateful for these she has.
God has gathered these women to minister to my daughter and, as I watched, I could almost hear him whisper, “Do you see? She’s going to be okay. These will be my hands and feet, loving her and helping her. I’m taking good care of your little girl.”
And he has, since before she was born, taken good care of her. At her shower, my daughter was surrounded not only by her church ladies but also by several generations of the faithful, prayerful women who have raised her. We stood behind and laid hands on her, assuring her our prayers are already ascending on behalf of her and her baby.
While faith does not automatically transfer from one generation to the next, and there is no assurance that a child raised in the church will claim Christ as his own, I am encouraged. As this child,my grandbaby, enters the world he will do so upheld by the steadfast prayers of faithful parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
Add in those of determined church ladies, and he may as well just go ahead and surrender to Jesus and his amazing love.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4, ESV
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