About the Book:
Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations. Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?
In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn’t need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact—and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known.
For some reason, I thought this book was to learn how to be a better encouragement to teens. It's mostly written for older women to be an encouragement to ladies my age. Much of it can apply to teenagers, but when I saw that it wasn't overly written for me, ***I skimmed through the book***.
I have to admit, I very much want the encouragement and experience of an older lady in my life. In the opening note, another author recommends that younger ladies read this book, and then go and find an older friend. Maybe I'm just not being brave enough, but "picking" a lady out and informing her that she will now be my mentor just doesn't seem too realistic to me. Just recently, I read a blog post where someone mentioned not having older ladies in her younger years to encourage her, so she turned to books for her encouragement. (I wish I could remember the author of that post now, but I do know it was in connection with the passing of Elisabeth Elliot.) I thought that was a marvelous idea, and I determined to read more classics written by older ladies. I've been listening to podcasts a good bit lately, and recently enjoyed one by Mrs. Elliot on sulking, which I need to listen to again! ;) (Although I'm in no way saying books could replace real relationships, but it's better than nothing!)
Reading through some of the advice in here for older ladies was pretty great in some areas. I've felt the judgment from older generations all too well. Some of the comments coming from older ladies have been ridiculous, and I've determined to never say such things to struggling young mothers. I'm left baffled at times whether statements are meant to be encouragement or competition. And, I'm truly not someone to get overly offended at every little thing. I hate those "What Not to Say to This or That Person". As someone that questions every little thing I say anyway, I'm left wanting to keep my mouth shut at all times. I constantly want to say, "Well, tell me what I CAN say to not offend you!" I've been the topic of many of those lists, too, and most of the things never bother me. I'm left wondering when we became a generation with such chips on our shoulders, ready to attack anything that comes out of other people's mouth. Being so easily offended DOES offend me! ;) Again, as someone that has felt the pain of bad comments from hopefully innocent intentions, there's some great advice as far as helping older ladies be a true encouragement to younger ladies, as opposed to hurting them and shaming them.
There's also some advice I didn't agree with at all. This is most definitely a book to "Take the meat and leave the bones". I can't imagine that anyone would completely agree with everything in here. Pick and choose!
I will mention that the author includes a chapter on sex, which I appreciated. This is definitely a topic I could use advice on as far as being an influence with tweens/teens/young ladies. Again, I didn't agree with everything said within this chapter, so use your own judgment when taking some of the advice. Don't take it as Biblical advice, but the opinion of the author. There's many things covered in this chapter, but she recommends not stopping the discussion at "Stay pure until marriage", which IS excellent advice. I have no regrets about staying pure, nor have I heard anyone else that has regretted it. That said, too many women go into their pure marriage not having a clue what to expect. I love that she gave some advice and encouragement there. ((Young ladies, if you're soon to be married or recently married, and you'd like some advice and encouragement in that area, Chantelle at Happy, Healthy, Holy Home has a "Blushing Brides" series .))
(I'm coming back to add this in: The author also encourages us to make sure no one feels like "less" because they are no longer pure. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Some girls don't have a choice in the matter. Some make the wrong choice and have regrets. No one is "less" due to lack of purity. It's always tough making sure to encourage young girls to keep their purity and letting others that are trying to follow the right path know they're not any less special because they no longer are.)
So, once again, I did skim the book, but there's some good advice in here, even if I didn't overly connect with it at this stage of my life. There's also things I didn't agree with, so take what you can from it if you're a lady that has encouragement potential for younger women. While it seems to fit more for older ladies, there's still good advice for younger ladies working with teens. It'll probably be one I'll revisit down the road a bit.
*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.
A Friend in Me: How to Be a Safe Haven for Other Women