I sit down in her living room, surrounded by other women I’ve come to love. Wearing yoga pants and a comfy sweater, there’s no reason for pretense here. As I look around the room, I realize the unlikeliness of these friendships to an outsider: there are married and unmarried women, those who are mothers and those not, twenty-somethings all the way up to our hostess, Carol, who just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary.
We sit and visit and dream about life and the ministry we are all a part of together. And as I watch Carol carefully include everyone in the evening’s conversation, I realize the many things she does to create a bridge across the generations.
It starts with simple things, like remembering someone’s name. Asking their opinions. Intentionally bringing in women of different generations to collaborate on tasks and goals. Looking for commonalities and calling them out, while also noticing differences and celebrating them.
I have watched the way Carol will ask the youngest person in the room what her opinion is, and then really listen to her suggestions. Carol has told us, “You need the young person’s enthusiasm for life. Don’t exclude them, they’re an important part of growing and changing.”
Carol is quick to share the spotlight of success. She works diligently behind the scenes, quietly making a difference. At the same time, she doesn’t deflect; she confidently takes both compliments and harsh words in stride. She reminds us, “You can’t put too much stock in either.”
Carol is transparent with her life and honestly shares her struggles. We know she’s not perfect, and she’s able to chuckle about her own imperfections. She regularly asks for prayer.
She seeks out others’ gifts and finds ways for women to use them. Instead of complaining, she looks for ways to make things better. When a friend was struggling with an area she was overseeing for an event, Carol once asked me: “How can we support her? I’d like this to be a win for her.”
She is passionate about causes that impact our city, state, and world — taking multiple mission trips a year, empowering and encouraging young leaders as they work to combat issues such as human trafficking and poverty.
She is not afraid of controversy and is not easily swayed by the frantic opinions of others.
She sees people, not problems.
She is wise. She is kind.
I admire the way she works hard to bridge the gap of generations. She is connecting women of different ages, races, and walks of life — and she does it with the grace and ease of a seasoned woman who has learned to take in stride the ups and downs of life.
Carol is someone I look to as a mentor and friend. As I watch her example, it’s a reminder to me of the kind of friend I want to be. The kind of leader I hope to be.
The kind of woman I aspire to be.
Who has set an example of a godly woman in your life?