So, I was a little late in posting chapter 8 so here's 9 right after it!
Chapter 9: The Power of Acceptance
"How do we show acceptance of women in such a way as to encourage them? What qualities should a spiritual mother embody and teach to a younger woman?"
1. Do you battle the "super-woman syndrome"? In what ways? Be as specific as you can. I feel that I do battle the super-woman and mom syndrome. I feel that my house needs to be clean, my dishes and laundry need to be done and put away, that I need to volunteer at church and teach Sunday School. I feel that I have to portray a life that I don't really want to lead. I feel that I have to be dressed up nice and put together, and that my children need to be well-behaved.
But where does this pressure come from? it comes from ME! I don't really hear people talking about me behind my back (does anyone?) but I wonder what they say. I don't get pressure at church to be a certain type of Pastor's wife. I don't have people asking me to volunteer or leaving me a nasty message if I don't show up for something, more often than not they let me off the hook because I have small children. The pressure is mostly self-inflicted. The syndrome seems to go in cycles because sometimes I just don't care and those times can be seen a mile away. I don't measure up and that's okay. I need to remember to bring Glory to God and not worry about everything else!
2. Dorcas "shows us that it is possible to be an intelligent, organized woman who is deeply involved in ministry without making others feel guilty or pressured" (page 131). Do you know any women like this? What are some of the things they do that prove this statement true? I do know women like this. They are amazing and everyone I talk to wants to be just like them! They volunteer when they have time but not all the time. They have a good head on their shoulders and share their hurts and joys. They have an honest, transparent concern for others and you feel as though you're the only one that matters when they are talking to you...thus it's hard to feel guilty or pressured when they are just caring for you.
3. Dorcas was careful "not to place demands on the woman but to communicate a belief in the woman's potential" (page 131).
If there were a scale for this, would you fall closer to placing demands or communicating belief in potential? Can you give an example? I'm probably someplace in the middle. I'm not really sure that I'm good at communicating belief in potential or if it's just encouragement. I guess I'm not really sure what that looks like. I know that I try to encourage others to try things that may take them out of their comfort zones but that could just be because I don't want to step out of mine.
4. Beginning on page 131, Hunt describes a series of "I can imagine" paragraphs about Dorcas. Is there one that stands out to you? One that you could take steps toward putting into practice this week? "I can imagine women of all ages in the congregation receiving notes of appreciation and encouragement from Dorcas." This is me, I LOVE to write little notes to people to brighten their day or just let them know that I was thinking of them and praying for them. I think I'll work on this one. I usually just write notes to my friends but I'm positive there are women in my church who could use some encouragement as well. I just hope that if I do this it won't be looked at as me playing favorites (being the pastor's wife is not always easy!)
5. Respond to the quote from Dobson on page 136 about the breakdown between women and women. Do you see this being true? This is SOOOO true and I feel it. I know what it's like to move to a new place and know NO ONE! It's not easy. We are trapped in our homes and at our jobs. We have fences instead of open yards. We spend so much time at work that when we are home we need to have a little family time instead of time with other families. The extended family is so far awa that we don't have that security and fellowship and because people move so much more often than they used to it's hard to form long-term friendships.
6. How can you help create a supportive network for women in your own sphere of influence? How can you connect with women around you and encourage them to connect with one another? I really want to work on this. Our MOMS group is getting a little face lift and I really want this to be part of our new group. I just don't really know how it will all play out. I really want to integrate this spiritual mothering approach into our church but getting the ball rolling in the right direction is what is stumping me the most, I will continue to pray that God would lead me and the other women who are willing to be part of this in the right direction. I just wish I knew where to start!
Could you start a prayer group, a book group, a play group? What about simply having women over for coffee or tea and giving them opportunity to connect? As you've talked about this book study, are there women who would like to go through this book? Could you host a group in your home? Maybe some of these ideas would be the place to start!? Praying over this one...