Howdy friends and welcome back to my “front porch”! There is a cool breeze blowing through and a bunch of fresh cut sunflowers sitting on the wicker table. Grab a chair or sit on the swing, and have a glass of cool lemonade. It’s in a plastic cup of course because here on the front porch we don’t do fancy, just friendly.
I just want to say a truly humble and grateful “thank you” to so many of you who have come by for visit on my porch and left encouraging soul good words. To let you in on a little secret, writing for an audience is not unfamiliar to me but blogging is! I do not have a clue what I am doing in the blogging world and I am doing this scared! So it is true, a kind and gracious word goes a long way…your words are carrying me past scared but still keeping me humbly grounded. So please feel free to comment and share your kind thoughts and make sure you subscribe by submitting you e-mail! If you want to know a bit more about the “who” behind Aprons to Iron mosey on over to the “About Me” page and don’t worry, I will save your spot here on the porch until you get back. You can also check out my first blog post to catch up. And if what you read refreshes your soul, please invite others to join you on the front porch with a “share”. As promised, here is the backstory behind the creation of my Aprons to Iron blog: About a year ago, I was praying through some desires that were on my heart in regards on how to be more purposeful to come alongside other women through mentoring relationships. One day, the name Aprons to Iron popped in my head. I don’t know if the name was from God or not, but I thought it sounded really cool and it seemed to go along with what I had been praying. So I just kind of set on it and would occasionally toss some ideas around in my head. When I finally decided to get over myself, (this means moving the obstacles of myself, lack of confidence and lack of faith out of the way) I decided blogging would be a great platform to reach out, invite and connect with other women; to get alongside my fellow strugglers, strivers and thrivers. I knew the name “Aprons to Iron” would beautifully reflect that purpose and focus. Now, the whole virtual “front porch” was all a God thing because that was not even on my mental radar when I began to write my first blog. But isn’t God just so cool like that! By the way, He is preparing a home now in eternity for all those who believe in Him; because God is such an inviter Himself, I bet those heavenly homes are going to have some awesome front porches! I hope if you are reading these words you know you will have a forever home in heaven with Him too, if not please reach out to me and I would love to share how you can know.
So, why the name “Aprons to Iron”? During my childhood visits to my grandparents’ home in NC, I would often go from their porch to another porch on a little ol’ house right next door. This was the home of my great grandma and great aunt. This was a magical place to me. There are several things that stand out in my memory about my visits on that porch with the endearing women that gathered there: they were always delighted to see me, they made me feel special, they never seemed to be in any rush, they wore stockings and handmade aprons and dipped snuff! (Ok, I admit the snuff stuff was not so endearing when I could see it stuck in the wrinkles around their mouth…ewww!) I loved hanging out with them. They had lived some life! They had raised and served their families well and helped other women in their community. They had seen tough times but knew what was really important in life. They lived simply and gratefully. They had a strong bond and love for one another. They were hard working women of strength, faith, resolve, wisdom and joy. The kind of woman I want to be. When I think about the beauty and strength of these women, I think about those aprons. So an apron seems fitting to represent the beautiful, feminine, God given, glorious design of women; all the unique ways He has made and gifted us to reflect His image, to bring glory to Him through our individual stories. The apron reminds us of the ways we get to live out His divine calling to serve and love Him and others around us. The apron remind us that sometimes we need to stop our busyness, wipe off our hands and make time to sit awhile with other women. Maybe they need a listening ear, a kind word of wisdom or prayer, a hug, good laugh, or to just sit quietly in the comforting presence of another. Maybe that is exactly what we need…
The “iron” represents strength. (The dumbbell kind not the clothes kind. I don’t mind a few wrinkles, lol.) Not a self-sufficient, prideful strength in and of ourselves, but what comes from taking care of ourselves body, mind and spirit. We do this first through a personal, growing relationship with Jesus, nourishing ourselves from time with Him in prayer and His Word and expressing gratitude for His faithful love. We do this through the obedient stewardship of our health, gifts and other blessings as we offer ourselves to Him in faithful service. Then we find strength and “sharpening” in community with other women, sometimes giving and sometimes receiving. This is how we grow and flourish in our God given purposes and can joyfully cheer others along toward theirs. This is how we are equipped and encouraged to carry out what He has called us to do and to love well those around us.
As we gather here on the Aprons to Iron front porch we will find belonging, being open to learn from one another, being broken together and believing together that God is good, loves us just as we are and is still working together something beautiful and good in and through our lives! And the best thing about the front porch… you don’t have to worry about how your “apron” compares with another’s “apron”. There are no perfect, unstained “aprons” here! We get to come to the porch welcomed as we are, we get to wear our apron with confidence because it tells our story, it fits our unique personality, talents, season and purpose in life. And while we are here on the “front porch” we get to delight in the unique design and dignity of each woman gathered here and see how God is still wonderfully hand making and weaving together His beauty, strength and plan into each life. Today my “apron” is a little frazzled but it says, “Welcome, you are beautiful and loved!” Thank you for stopping by today!