“Every one of us is fighting something.”
That’s one thing that stuck with me from Jennie Allen’s interview last Wednesday, because I think it’s absolutely true. I also agree with Jennie that our tendency to put on a smile and hide our struggles isn’t doing any of us any favors. That’s why I was so encouraged to read Susan DiMickele’s Chasing Superwoman. Susan tells the story of her triumphs and her struggles. It’s honest, authentic and refreshing.
Though we have different families – her children are all young, while most of mine have left the nest – and work in different fields – Susan as a partner in an international law firm and me as a commercial real estate executive – we have wrestled with many of the same questions. We have both felt out of place in a typical church’s women’s ministry. We have struggled with guilt about the amount of time we spend in the office, away from our children. But, most importantly, we have both asked this question:
“Why are most women trying to do it all alone?”(pg. 133)
I think that question is one of the most important in the book. Susan is brave enough to admit that she may try her hardest, but she is not Wonder Woman (whom she always wanted to be as a child). Her book is full of stories about the other women to whom she has turned for help along the way. These women all have pseudonyms like “Encouraging Amy” and “Nonjudging Jane,” but the nicknames reveal more about each woman than her name ever could.
Susan’s nicknames also demonstrate that she understands what every woman on this earth needs, regardless of her career path, marital status or the age of her children. When we are struggling, we all need friends who will encourage us and speak truthfully to us, but in a spirit of grace and not one of condemnation.
We need women in our lives who are further down the road than we are and can share their wisdom with us, as well as women who are right there with us, fighting the same battles. The trouble is that many of us working mothers don’t know where to find these women. Like Susan says:
“I still can’t seem to get connected to other like-minded women. Lots of us are in desperate need of mentoring, but we don’t have the foggiest clue where or when we will find the time.”(pg. 102).
That is a struggle I understand well. With so many demands on my schedule – work responsibilities, staying healthy, caring for my kids, quality time with Chris, time with the Lord – it is hard to fit in quality time with like-minded women. I have been blessed to find a small group of women with whom I can candidly share my struggles. I have also been blessed with several mentors to guide me as I climbed the corporate ladder and through all of the ups and downs of my personal life.
However, I know that, for many working mothers, these friends and mentors are nearly impossible to find, and often our churches are no help. As Susan describes in her book, we crave support from and connection with other women. We need each other. This is the heart behind Work, Love, Pray and the reason I founded the 4word ministry. My prayer is that God will use both to help women across the country find the friends and mentors that make this fast-paced, working-mother life so much sweeter and more manageable.
He has already used Chasing Superwoman to encourage me in my ministry. Words are powerful tools. Reading Susan’s story, written in her own words, I am reminded that I am not the only one trying to work diligently, raise a family and walk closely with Jesus.
Whatever season of life you are in, I recommend that you read this book. You will laugh, smile and sympathize with stories from this humble servant trying to do her best with the talents her Master has given her. My prayer is that you will also be reminded that you are not alone, because that is an encouraging truth.