A young lady in her 20s sat down beside me at church Sunday morning just before the service started. I always sit on the front pew (it helps me pay attention). She sat with me because seats were scarce. Her husband sat behind us.

This lovely lady is new to church. She had worn a crocheted hat that was pulled down over her golden locks. She leaned to me and whispered, “Is it OK that I have this on in church?” and pointed to her head. I nodded, “You’re a girl, so you can wear a hat,” I whispered back. My friend let out her breath, relieved. She liked my earrings and added, “I just love you!” We quietly giggled. I already love her, too!

As we refocused on the service, I thought about the difference in our ages. I’m decades older. That’s when it hit me … I’m Elizabeth!

In Luke 1, when the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would be giving birth to the Son of God, he included the fact that her much older relative Elizabeth would also be having a child. She would have somebody to share this experience with! They both had miraculous pregnancies. They both were probably the talk of the town. They could do this together, sharing stories, aches, emotions, hopes and fears. I love that part!

When I think of it, that’s just like God. So often in life, He brings just the right person at just the right time to encourage you, teach you something, or comfort you with stories of their life experiences. That’s certainly been true for me.

I used to be “Mary”; I was the younger one. I’ve had lots of “Elizabeths” in my life; of course, there was my mom, but some were pastor’s wives and other ladies in the church. One Elizabeth in particular was a major player when my kids were small. (Her real name is Phyllis.) She taught me to make baked pies, crafts and a whole lot more. She taught me so much by example. She was my role model as a mother, and I still think she’s one of the best ever!

When I was younger, I was Mary. But now I’m older, and now I’m Elizabeth! So God has a plan for me to be the one to encourage, to mentor and help younger ladies along their way. Holy smokes! How did that happen?!

I want to — really, I do! I want to be a blessing to the younger women in my life. I want to help them love God first, teach them how to make biscuits and gravy, cornbread and pies, tell them they’ll survive their children’s childhoods, encourage them to love their husbands and all kinds of other stuff!

I hope you’ve been blessed with at least one Elizabeth in your lifetime. Whether or not, I just wonder: is there someone younger than you that God wants you to take under your wing … someone for YOU to “Elizabeth”?

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at preacherswife7@yahoo.com.