In the last little while, I’ve heard several “younger” women (of various ages) bemoan the fact that “older” women aren’t mentoring them in a Titus 2 fashion. It is true that the active, informal teaching that Scripture patterns is not as ubiquitous as it should be. Maybe the older women don’t feel qualified; maybe they don’t think the younger women want their wisdom; maybe they think they’re too busy. Regardless, it is a problem, because younger Christian women (whatever their age) need instruction from women who are older in the faith and know a thing or two about life.
Part of the answer to this problem is really simple. Younger women can ask questions! Years ago, I start writing down questions to ask my mother and aunt because when we got together at Christmas, my brain emptied of everything but food preparation and child care. Since then, I’ve tried to keep a few questions in my head when I’m visiting with an older woman so I can glean some wisdom. While my mother is the first person to field my questions, I’ve found that asking someone outside of my family helps build additional perspective – families have blind spots just as much as individuals do! I’m so thankful to the Lord for all the older women in my life who have taken the time to listen thoughtfully and respond with incredible insight.
This does not mean that older women can just wait until someone approaches them with a question – sometimes we need to be instructed about issues we’ve never thought about. But seeking wisdom for problems you know you have, or simply ways in which you can grow in your stage of life is certainly a start to establishing this biblical pattern. Older women can help younger women by actively instructing and mentoring them, and also by creating an environment (in home and the church) in which younger women feel comfortable asking questions.
For the next few Fridays, I’ll post a list of questions that women in different stages of life can ask older women. The questions are ones that you can’t find the answers to online; the answers will vary from woman to woman, depending on who asks, and who answers. Don’t limit yourself to asking these questions; use them as a springboard to thinking about questions you can ask that apply to your unique situation. These sorts of questions will vary according to your education, living conditions, location, your job or your husband’s, the number and ages of your children, etc.
So as a “younger” woman, find an older woman who sees you often, and can observe your interactions with family and your service in the church. Look for an older woman who is godly, whose marriage is healthy and whose children are (generally) happy. Start asking her questions that will help you see how you can serve better, how you can grow closer to the Lord, and how you can root out sin. Make sure the answers you are getting are good ones. If an older woman simply says, “Oh, I don’t know – you’re doing a great job!”, then look for someone else to ask. Even if you are doing a great job, you could do better. Test the answers you get to be sure the advice you received is biblical. Once you have some answers, start praying! Discuss it with your husband, or your mother, or an adult daughter so that you can better evaluate and think about it. Don’t take lightly the wisdom of an older godly woman: she is God’s instrument to teach you how to love your husband and children, to be a quiet keeper at home.
If you are an “older” woman, prepare to be asked! Meditate on what Scripture says on a topic, remember things you have learned through the years, think about what you would do differently if you had to do it again. Remember that mistakes that you made do not disqualify you from teaching others: they can, by grace, actually equip you to teach and warn younger women of pitfalls in the road they are on. Shape your answers according to God’s word, and find passages to which you can send younger women. If the younger women around you are shy, go to them with your wisdom. Don’t only give answers and advice – follow it up with prayer and accountability. Scripture commands that you teach the younger women how to be godly wives and mothers. This is one way that you serve your Saviour.