September 9, 2013

How Old is an Older Woman?

Women don't like getting older. And, if they are like I used to be, they squirm when they read Titus 2:3, 4. Older Christian women are to teach the younger women. I deflected those verses by asking, "At what age do I become older?" In addition I thought, "I am not yet perfect in applying Scripture to my own life. How can I help others?" 
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. I had to face the fact that I am older and more mature.
"The combination of spiritual maturity and life-experiences qualify a woman to nurture a younger woman," according to Susan Hunt in her book, Spiritual Mothering. Hunt elaborates, "If you are a Christian woman who is seeking to grow in the faith and to live obediently, then you are qualified for spiritual motherhood." This book helped me realize that God commands me to train younger women, and He equips me to meet a need. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I began to encourage younger women to live for Christ. This concept goes by several names, including spiritual mothering, discipleship and mentoring, and does not require a formal structure. Here are a few things I learned.
I am not getting any younger. As I see my own biological mother aging, I realize that time passes so quickly. This woman who taught me to use a jump rope in first grade can no longer walk. Postponing my role in the Titus 2 mandate is foolish. I need to seek opportunity while I can.
Tell me the old, old story. I can stick to what I know. Younger women don't need me to invent something new. God does not change, and the Bible is still applicable to every situation in the Christian life. I am well-acquainted with sound doctrine, steadfastness and the Word of God, which are mentioned in the Titus 2 passage.
Mentoring women keeps me young. The president of the university where I work said that students are full of fresh outlooks, which is very energizing. I agree. In addition, there are positive aspects of hearing even the most worrisome concerns of a younger woman. Such conversations help me understand current culture better. As a result, I can pray with more insight and resolve when I know what younger Christians face in the modern world.
Age has its privileges. I enjoy good, loving relationships with my adult children. They are supportive, respectful, affectionate and thoughtful. My spiritual children also treat me well. They exemplify I Timothy 5:2 by encouraging me (an older women) as they would mothers.

I am thankful that the Holy Spirit showed me that I have a measure of spiritual maturity and experience in life that is helpful to a younger woman. I am glad to be part of what God is doing in the world. That is one of the positive aspects of getting older. 

Note: This is the first of an occasional series about the ministry of discipling/spiritual mothering/mentoring other Christians. You might be interested in: Siri: Find Me a Mentor and Mentoring Goals: Temper the Harshness.


  1. I love this post, and I love the book Spiritual Mothering (on my book shelf). Our Sunday School class is getting ready to dive into the Titus 2 woman's responsibilities beginning next week (sadly none of our older women teach, but a younger woman is taking the class as I will be out of town). I appreciate the reminder and encouragement to be that teaching woman!

  2. Recently, a friend was sharing with me about how her daughters quietly eavesdrop on our conversations together and will later mention to her things they have overheard me saying. It was a good reminder to me that I'm "mothering" all the time, even when having a conversation with a friend in the same room as pre-teen girls.

  3. I was joking with a friend the other day about how I seem to remember that I'm 25, and that I just think everyone is the same age I am. Then when I really remember my actual age, and I realize that my friend is almost 10 years younger than me, it's something of a shock! ;)
    It's been strange to roll into the position of someone older with more experience, but knowing that I can use what God has taught me to help others brings me great joy (even if I'm not 25).

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