Wednesday, May 6, 2015
When I first had children, I surrounded myself with other moms in the same season of life. We were all in the trenches of motherhood together, encouraging, helping, and supporting each other. Those early years were hard and all I could see was the battle immediately before me. Life was lived in the minute and I spent my days putting out fires and ducking from the rapid fire challenges of daily motherhood.
Now that the early years of motherhood are behind me, I have come up for air and can see the terrain around me. I can see that while one season has ended, there are more to come. And what I seek now is not the help and support of other women in the same season as me, but that of women who have gone before me.
Titus 2 Mandate
In the church, we have many ministries geared toward women. We have specific groups and studies for moms and seniors. We have Bible studies, teas, and retreats. While Scripture doesn’t give great details on the specifics of ministry toward and for women, it does provide this clear instruction:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:3-5).
In the book of Titus, Paul is giving instructions for how the church is supposed to function. There are instructions for how to select elders and deacons and on the importance of preaching the word. In Titus 2, Paul gives specific instructions to the older women in the church to train the younger women. Those who are older in the faith are to pour into those who are younger. They are to teach women what it means to love and submit to their husbands, how to glorify God in their mothering, and what it looks like to be a woman of God.
Older Women, We Need You
I have talked to other women in my season of life and we all agree; we need older women. The truth is, we’ve always needed older women in our lives. We need wisdom and guidance in raising our children. We need encouragement to love our husbands. For my friends and me, as we approach middle age, we want to learn how to age well. We want to learn how to finish the race of faith without regrets. We want the wisdom of older women to guide us into the fall and winter of our lives.
While we long for such wisdom and guidance, the challenge is finding older women who are willing and able to provide it. Some churches have designed Titus 2 programs around this need, matching older women with younger women for the purpose of discipleship. But for those of us who don’t have access to such programs, how can we connect with older women?
Discipling Others and Being Discipled
If you are a younger woman who longs to be mentored by an older woman in the faith, pray that God would provide that for you. Reach out to an older woman in your church. Ask to meet with her. Tell her you desire her wisdom and discipleship. Sometimes such women arrive in your life when you least expect it. They might not even be the person that is most obvious to you but someone you’ve never considered. It might even be more than one person. Trust and know that God never fails to provide just what we need.
If you are an older woman, please consider being available to us. It may seem as though your time of investing in the Body is over. You’ve spent years teaching Sunday School or preparing meals for new moms. Perhaps you think that you are no longer valuable and useful in the church. That is simply not true. Look at the younger women in your church and consider reaching out to one or more of them. Invite them out to lunch. Learn about their lives. Talk with them about their struggles and their walk of faith. Ask how you can pray for them. No matter your age, you will never lose your usefulness in the Kingdom of God.
If you are in the same season of life as me, you can be both mentored and mentor others. You can pour into the lives of younger moms at the same time an older woman is pouring into yours. Sometimes we think that our time to mentor and disciple others is down the road, when our children are grown. But there are ways you can encourage other women who are in the season you just left behind. You can pray with and for them. You can spur them on to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24). When their life is filled with the thankless duties of motherhood, you can remind them of the God they serve and the real hope they have in Christ.
Here’s the truth, older women, whatever your age, you are needed. We need your wisdom. Please teach us.
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