I hear older women so unsure of themselves believing they have nothing to offer, so intimidated by the younger generation they assume want nothing to do with them.
I hear younger women saying they want a mentor, to be taught, but they aren’t often willing to put in the time or give up their ways in order to learn, in order to be teachable.
I believe something’s got to give and women need to take the roles that Christ has laid out for them seriously. It’s time. Right now. Today.
In Titus, women are given specific mandates for how they ought to live. These include reverent in behaviour, self controlled, pure, and many more.
These are all important, absolutely, but they also come across as things that are solitary. Things one must do. Ways one must live. But we’re missing something very important in the text if we skip past a few words, “…and so train the young women…” (Titus 2:4a)
As I look around I notice that this command isn’t always taken quite as seriously as the rest. As though maybe we’re more concerned with ourselves and the uprightness of our own living, our own holiness, our own behaviour than thinking about teaching someone else. But Scripture is clear that teaching is something we are all to do, because we’re all older than someone!
This realization doesn’t come easy as precious few of us want to consider ourselves the older woman. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was crying out to the Lord to bring an older woman into my life that could teach me, take me under her wing, rebuke me when I needed it and encourage me when I needed that. I desired to be all of the things that Titus 2 laid out for me and I simply wanted someone to show me how; what being pure looks like, how loving my husband and children played out in the day to days. It was in the midst of my prayer that I was clearly shown something shocking. I was the older woman! I looked around at that moment and saw who God had placed around me and it became obvious. I knew at this point that it wasn’t necessarily my role to seek someone older but it most definitely was my role to teach the younger.
There were three main things that I needed to come to grips with in this passage before I could really embrace it. The first was that, at the age of 27, I was the older woman. I was married with three young children and God had surrounded me with University aged women. I needed to look at them, at their lives and see that I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t need to try and fit in with them, rather I needed to recognize my position, admit it and own it.
Second, I needed to stop thinking of myself as unqualified for the position.
Third, I needed to see that this wasn’t just a suggestion for those that wanted it. It was a mandate. It also wasn’t just for those who were crazy smart or perfectly domestic, it was a call for every older woman to teach the younger. Once I grasped this, everything changed.
Teaching has since become a normal part of my life, looking different all the time depending who God draws near to me but all with the same intent and result.
In some cases it has meant regular planned times of meeting up with a younger woman to grab coffee, go for a walk and talk through things that are going on in their life. Other times it means inviting younger women or couples into our home to spend time, cook together, laugh together and interact as families. Sometimes it’s just a quick text of encouragement or a scripture to share. Whatever way it happens, it’s important to know that it does not just happen by chance but through intentional planning.
I believe whole heartedly that every woman should have someone in their life that is younger than them to teach. Not only because it’s clearly stated in scripture but because when we see Christ working across generational lines we see something beautiful. We see a bigger picture of what the church is. We see beyond our own peer group and people who think just the way we do.
Women, we need this. Look around at your life and see who God has placed around you. It doesn’t need to be lengthy and intense, but it does need to be done in love and with a heart that’s desire is to serve, not to command. We are to teach what is good and I’m certain you’ll discover that it is really, really good.