I am preparing for a trip to the Oregon AB Women’s Ministries Spring gathering in Portland in April. One of the themes of the day will be recognizing women’s needs and meeting them.
Our Western Section officers are enjoying an on-line Discussion Group reading and commenting on the book, Connecting Women, by Linda Lesniewski. Our most recent chapter focused on the needs of women in churches.
Last week I received an email letting those of us on a certain mailing list know that we would be receiving our newsletter via US post because the editor was having trouble attaching the digital copy to the emails. I recognized the problem since I use these techniques frequently in my job, so I replied to the email with a suggested fix for her problem. About 15 minutes later a new mailing came from the editor with our digital newsletter attached.
As a result of that exchange I received another request for help with a mailing issue. Fortunately, I had the information needed to resolve that problem, as well. In a matter of moments, and with very little effort on my part, I had made a real difference to two women in need. The feeling of satisfaction buoyed my spirits for days.
The convergence of these three circumstances has made me think about the needs and gifts that exist in each of us. Every woman in every group has within her both needs and gifts. I wonder how often the needs of a group could be met by the gifts existing in that same group, but the women are completely unaware.
I was only able to help the newsletter editor because she was transparent enough to tell us her problem. While she didn’t ask for help, she made her need known. Because I learned of the need I was able to share my gift of knowledge. The problem was resolved and we both felt uplifted and connected because of it.
Women’s Ministries are developed so that we can support and encourage one another. They are meant to provide an environment of trust where women can share their needs without fear of ridicule or disdain. Beyond that they should be a network matching the needs shared with the gifts that can help meet those needs.
It is understandable the we might be reluctant to share deeply personal problems, but too often we are equally reluctant to share our gifts.
The other night via email AB Women’s Ministries illustrated that perfect support system where a need was honestly expressed and the matching gift was immediately offered. It was a very small thing, admittedly, and the needs expressed were much more easily filled than most, but it offers us a pattern to strive for.
When you are hesitant to admit a need or too shy to step up with your gift, please remind yourself that we are all needy and all gifted. This time you might have the need. Next time you may have the gift.