Two days ago, we entered the season of Advent. For me, one of the most poignant Advent texts is the account of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Both women are experiencing unusual pregnancies and Mary seeks out the companionship of her mature kinswoman. Filled by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth speaks strong words of encouragement and blessing over young Mary.
Read Luke 1:39-42:
In those days, Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Reflect: Three days ago, Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power Five college football game. When COVID-19 decimated the placekicker line-up for Vanderbilt University’s football team, Sarah—goalkeeper for the SEC Champion Vanderbilt women’s soccer squad—walked on to the football team as a placekicker.
Sarah Fuller made history on and off the field. At halftime, Sarah used her goalkeeper voice in the locker room to encourage and exhort her teammates. “(I told them that) we need to cheer each other on because that’s the only way I’ve seen it work.”
Like Elizabeth, Sarah is an encourager. Who might need cheering on today? Who is navigating a new course like Elizabeth? Like Mary? Like Sarah Fuller?
Take Action: Consider offering a word of encouragement to another woman in ministry. When we cheer each other on loudly and regularly, we counteract the fear, doubt, and negativity that steals joy. “Girl dads have come up to me and said, ‘You are inspiring my girls. I want them to know that they can do anything, and you are proving that point,” Sarah Fuller said. “That’s the coolest thing.”
Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women
We are grateful to the Rev. Molly Shivers, Director of Conflict Transformation Ministries for the NC Conference, for writing this month’s issue of Encouragements.
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