Over the weekend there was some talk on Facebook about the verses in Titus on older women teaching the younger women. I think of these verses so often when I need advice or when I meet a young mom who is struggling.
It’s interesting to find myself on the older side now. I don’t feel older. Unless I’m trying to get out of the car after riding for a couple of hours. Then I feel really old.
Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
I thought I’d share a bit of my perspective from the past few years of being an older woman.
1. It’s not as easy as it looks.
I always assumed that when I was this age (48) I would feel wise and secure and not have immature problems. Guess what…..NOT TRUE! I have found that while I am definitely not as insecure as I was in my 20′s, I do still have threads of insecurity hit me occasionally. I don’t have all the answers, in fact I have less than I thought I had 25 years ago. Half the time I’m a hot mess just like you.
2. I’m still a kid at heart.
Being older hasn’t stopped me from bursting into song at the grocery store or trying to sneak past an “Employees Only” sign to see what’s behind the door. I still want to push all of the buttons in the elevator and eat the biggest piece of cake. The urges haven’t changed. In fact, I am slightly more daring because life has taught me that nothing bad is really going to happen if you try.
But it’s been years since I actually pushed an elevator button. I let my kids do it. Because I love them.
3. You have to develop a thick skin.
Guess what. When you have wisdom not everyone wants to hear it. Yes, it’s true. That mother in Walmart that is screaming at her kid isn’t interested in my godly advice. She seems to think I’m meddling and maybe even gives me an earful of words I have never heard before but I’m fairly sure they’re bad.
Be prepared to be insulted, accused of being a know-it-all, even attacked. It has happened to me more times than I like to think about (in real life and on the blog). But then I realize that having wisdom means I need to use all that wise advice for myself and know when to be quiet and just love someone anyway. If we can’t respond in a godly way then how can we teach younger women how to do it?
4. The baby years are gone….like….in my soul.
I never, ever, ever thought this would happen. I was constantly pregnant, nursing, diapering for 20 years of my life. During that time it seemed so never ending. I’d talk on the phone with friends about babies, I could have pregnancy discussions all day long, I always knew the hottest new thing in cloth diapering. Then all of a sudden, with no warning or effort, I stopped having babies. It was just over. And now that my youngest is 5, it feels completely behind me. And you know what, I don’t feel sad about it. I thought I would, I really did. But I feel contentment and peace. The awesome thing about allowing God to control our family size is that I know it’s His will for me. And I trust Him.
I do look forward to grandchildren. I know it will be wonderful. But it will be different. My own baby days are gone and I feel a deep peace about it.
5. Wrinkles don’t matter.
Yes, I said it. Gray hair, wrinkles and saggy body parts don’t matter one bit when it comes to wisdom. The fact that our society undervalues age is so backwards from what God’s Word says….it’s the lines of time that prove our beauty, not detract from it! It is a mistake to ignore an older woman’s wisdom based on her looks. Perhaps she has learned something you haven’t. She may have discovered that the fountain of youth is in embracing your body’s imperfections.
6. The wisdom comes from God.
You can have wisdom at any age because true wisdom only comes from God. No matter how old you are, if you’re out there spreading wisdom that isn’t from Him, you’re leaving a mess behind you. The thing that qualifies older women to teach younger women is our experience. Knowing what it is actually like to love the same man for 25+ years, raise a child to adulthood, live through financial crisis and come through to the other side….these things give older women a level of maturity that you simply can’t have when you’re young. There’s nothing wrong with you; you’re smart; you’re amazing; you will likely be more wise than me when you’re my age…in fact I’m sure of it.
My advice to those of you that are still young, let the Word of God be honored by listening to what the older women around you have to say. Don’t be defensive. You don’t have to follow the advice, of course! We’re not always right. But be polite, listen, smile, tell your children you are grateful for the older women that share their wisdom with you. Be respectful.
Never forget that someday you will be the older woman. Seek experiences that will help you give good council. Work on yourself and build a core of strength in Christ. It is very, very difficult. But you will be all the wiser for it.
(If you’re one of my many readers that are over 50 and laughing at me thinking I’m an older woman, I’m laughing right along with you! Girl, I KNOW I have a long way to go! Just keep bringing me the wisdom….I need it!)
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