I read this quote the other day that got me asking a few questions of myself:
“There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old…That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up…”
This past month I celebrated my 55th birthday. This includes 37 years of married life, 36 years of mothering, and 37 years of being a pastor’s wife! Wasn’t it yesterday I was a new bride trying to figure out how to plan a Christmas dinner, or quiet my colicky baby, or hold my tongue to answer someone sweetly? I know I still have a long way to go, but I have come a long way as well. I stop and think how very much I do know—certainly more than I did in my twenties.
How can I do more to help the young girls in our churches? Maturity should be a time of tremendous fruit-bearing, and hopefully those of us who are older have lived enough life to discover what God’s role and priorities for a woman should be.
Many of us certainly have more discretionary time than when we were raising our children. And can I ask you, how are you using it? Before you rush to defend your choices in this matter can I ask you, have you consulted the Lord about how you might use your position and time for His purposes? There are many “good things” we can pursue, but the ultimate question is, what is the best thing?
I hope to encourage you to begin to reach out and seek to influence the young girls who are in your lives. If I were to tell the young women in your life to watch you—how you view others in need, how you dress, speak, spend your time and money, love your husband, serve others, know your Bible—how would you fare?
Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” The word he used for follow comes from the Greek mimeomai, which means “to mimic” or “imitate.” Hmmm…would I… could I say the same thing: “Follow my example; imitate me as I follow Christ’s example”?
Outside of a strong community of faith, there is little support in this world for encouraging biblical values such as responsibility, steadfastness, respect, chastity, and sacrifice—just to name a few! Never has there been a more individualistic culture than ours. Choices are hurriedly made and acted on with hardly a wave goodbye or a glance in the rearview mirror. Little consideration is given to how these choices, big or small, will play out in the years to come. It seems as if nothing is too precious to lay on the sacrificial altar of “personal happiness.”
Among many of my friends in the so-called “Me Generation,” I’ve been encouraged to see good choices being made. It is possible to live lives that serve as good examples and stand strong against the rising tide of selfishness.
In every generation there is a remnant that will take God at His word, and live accordingly. Should we choose to be used in this role, we can be confident that God will supply all that is needed for us to faithfully point and lead the way for the next generation.
But we must first be willing. The role of an older woman, teaching younger women by her words and example, is the will of God for each of us. Let’s embrace it!
Titus 2:3–5, “Older women should live lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives.” (MSG)