Empowerment in accompaniment - This is an idea that has been stirring in me since summer, but not until recently did it come together into these three words in my heart.
I spent my summer interning at a pregnancy care center in Wichita. This was a BIG desire the Lord placed on my heart last year, and He was gracious enough to make it my reality for three short months. I got to dive into a ministry that was somewhat new to me, learn the language, and work on so many fun and creative projects. I also had the privilege of counseling many women through uncertain times of unplanned pregnancy, and through those experiences, I learned an overwhelming amount about the human heart, and I didn’t know how much that knowledge would relate to my personal life.
A lot of what my clients shared with me were experiences that I will never be able to imagine myself in; not having a steady place to live, not having supportive parents or family, and considering abortion as an option for my child. While I could not say, “I’ve been exactly where you are, and this is how I handled it,” we as Christians are able to empathize and I could confidently say, “If you were my sister or my best friend, this is what I would tell her, because I love and respect the woman that you are.” While each of their stories is unique and different from mine, I was able to meet them and, on some level, accompany them into their next steps. Accompaniment, for me, was what I saw at the heart of this ministry. I saw, and experienced first-hand, how one person’s love and support could empower a mother and change the course of an unborn child’s life.
In accompaniment, sharing our story, including the small details that we don’t think are shiny enough, is vital. With the pregnant women I was talking to, it was important for me to share the unique parts of my family life that included miscarriage and adoption. If they could relate even a little bit, the unique parts of my story were proven valuable.
When I was at coffee with a friend recently, I rediscovered the empowerment in accompaniment that extends to my own world. We shared how we had set similar goals for the summer and how difficult they were to attain, how it would be difficult to keep the same habits once moving back to Manhattan for school, and overall, how difficult it is to live unashamed. Unashamed of the small details that make us who we are, unashamed of how we spend our time or money, unashamed of trying to live a healthy and balanced life. All these things that are difficult on our own became a little lighter as we shared them together.
Because of that one conversation, I feel more empowered to dive in and be real in these blog posts. I feel more confident in sharing parts of myself with my clients and in ministry. I feel stronger day-to-day knowing I have the accompaniment of a friend.
We are all searching for accompaniment in this life that mirrors the way the Father walks with us - the accompaniment of a friend.
Finding this accompaniment is EXACTLY what the Lord wants for us! To find people to accompany us as we journey to heaven and eternity with Him, who provides the ultimate accompaniment, giving us ultimate empowerment.
I stumbled back into finding accompaniment in my life, but how does one actively seek it out?
First, we have to be willing to be vulnerable with each other. Sharing the parts of our stories that make us unique, even if it aches a little to revisit old wounds. Vulnerability and authenticity is where empowerment starts! We can only empower or be empowered if we know ourselves and are willing to share. Again, this is a process that is not always easy, and it is something we need to invite the Lord into. He will show us who we truly are and guide our minds in prayer if we are open to His will. We should rest in knowing that the Lord holds us together in moments where we need Him to.
When a friend comes to you and is needing to be empowered, we must remember that the feelings of others are valid, even if we haven’t felt them ourselves. Always encourage others to run to the Lord with you.
When we make a choice to take things to Jesus, all will be taken care of.
Grace Leonard is a junior studying Secondary Education and Social Studies. She feels deeply, is passionate about music, and is inspired by the irreplaceable-ness of every human person. Click here to find her blog & musical outlets.