“When the Holy Spirit in one woman recognizes and responds to the Holy Spirit in another woman, safe places become sacred spaces.” (p. 43)
I always get frustrated at blog posts and books and articles that give advice that starts with “find a _____ (church, friend, therapist, place to serve, etc.)” because they never seem to grasp just how difficult that can be. Sure, there are those to whom finding the right person at the right time has always come easy. But for most of us, it doesn’t. The “find” word is like a foreign traffic sign: Do I stop and wait? Do I go and search?
Especially when you are in a new season, where the people around you are more strangers than friends, this “find” word can be cause for despair. There’s either so many options (try going to a new doctor in a city where you know no one) or seemingly few options that are accessible for you.
However, once you have found what you are seeking, particularly when it’s a place to serve, it will nag you until you’ve engaged it.
If you’ve got a desire to minister in any way, particularly with or to other women, “Giddy Up, Eunice: (Because Women Need Each Other)” can help you find it and overcome your hesitations to jump in. Even if you’re not searching for a specific place, Sophie Hudson calls you to look around you and see how you can affect the lives of those you already touch.
In case you’re wondering, this call to “giddy up” into community with other women was inspired by women in the Bible who supported each other. Sophie examines the relationships of Elizabeth and Mary, Naomi and Ruth, and Lois and Eunice.
Lois and Eunice are the mother and grandmother of Timothy who raised him in the faith.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Oh, that Eunice.
“You know what we see in Mary, Elizabeth, Naomi, Ruth, Lois, and Eunice?” Sophie asks on pages 224-225. “We see some substance. We see some wisdom. We see some blessing. We see some intention. We see some care.”
This is no tired ol’ Bible study, however. In her characteristic Southern charm, this book is both deep and hilarious. Sophie has her own unique voice, but if I had to make a similar-author comparison to help you understand, this book is Annie Downs meets Jen Hatmaker meets fried chicken. In other words, if you are an elitist Yankee with no love for the word “y’all,” I’d urge you to open that mind you’re so proud of and listen up before diving into this book. Ha! 😉
Sophie speaks from personal experience, both of being led by the older women in her life and leading young girls. This book is an especially perfect fit for those caught in this in-between, the middle generation of moms, aunts, youth leaders, and teachers, who also need the influence of their own moms and mothers-in-law and mentors and leaders. Even for us singles, we all have younger women and older women around us who have been placed in our lives for a purpose.
I know this sounds so preachy, but there isn’t a condescending or boring word in the entire book. Sophie makes her characters real and her real-life people into memorable characters. One challenge of memoir as a genre is that the writer has to convert the personalities of those they love most and know best into something that translates to the reader, so that in only a few mentions you can recall which stories or branches of the family tree these people are tied to.
I do recommend reading Sophie’s first two books after this one. “Giddy Up, Eunice” is great on its own, but there’s more history and delight and emotion you are missing out on if you haven’t read “A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon” and “Home Is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong” already. My advice? Read “Eunice” first, then go back and laugh and weep through the previous two, then read this one again.
I’m so grateful for the Eunices in my life who have made me their Timothy. And this thing doesn’t just go one way, either. As a younger woman in many contexts, I hope I’ve encouraged and taught the women in my social circles, book clubs, and small groups when I’ve been called upon to do so as well.
Maybe at this point you’re thinking, “That’s great, but this isn’t me. I’ve got nothing. I have no one.” In that case, I want you to read Sophie’s strong advice:
“If we’re truly worn down and worn out, then by all means we need to rest. … But if, for some reason, you have convinced yourself that you’re not needed any more, that your best days are behind you, that you’re not “relevant” … Stop it right now. Don’t you dare discount your importance, your influence, or your calling.” (p. 80)
You are a vital piece of someone else’s story. And chances are, you don’t have to go “find” those someones. God is faithful to weave our lives into the lives of others all on His own. We just have to be open to His call.
Giddy up, y’all.