How Old Are You?
Oh, I jest! I don't want you to tell me your age, unless you want to. At 38 and some change, I never thought I'd be one of the older women. Here I am, though. What qualifies me as the older women? Surely not my age, although I'm not getting any younger. I think it's that I have women who are younger than me who I am responsible for teaching and setting examples.
As a bonus mom, I was in with the older women at 20. 20 years old! My husband has had custody of his daughter since she was 4. When we met, she was 5 and she was 6 when we married. Just finishing up kindergarten. I had an instant family.
I was responsible for not only teaching her spiritually, but also for setting a good example and teaching what was good. And not only for her but for the children who came into our home to play with her. Then there were the classes I taught at church, mission friends, GA's, children's choir (they were so cute!), and youth group.
15 pizzas devoured in one night, a movie watched, games played, kids finally asleep in the Sunday School rooms upstairs, I sat up with another woman, sipping coffee and learning from her.
"They're always watching."
"Just listen to them sometimes instead of lecturing the first chance you get."
"Never give up on them."
"Continue to show them love, even when they act unloveable."
"Behave yourself, because even when you think no one is watching, they are."
Great advice received on the steps of the fellowship hall, as my bonus daughter screamed out when her cousin pushed her into the empty baptismal. Oh, arrrrgh! Our discussion was over as we shuffled the girls into separate rooms, kissing wounds and listening to stories as the ones we thought were asleep were most definitely not.
Setting the Example
I realize all these years later that she was teaching me! I was the younger woman, who was also the older woman. I'm still the younger woman when I'm learning from someone older than I, but in many ways I have pretty much passed the threshhold into being consistently one of the older women. It's just a fact of life. We remain teachable for those encounters with women older than we. Joyce Meyers, my spiritual Momma, is one I love to learn from, as well as Beth Moore, and the Proverbs 31 Ministries women. Some of them are younger than me but seem wise beyond their years. They have so much to teach and I have so much to learn.
The example set by us older women is so important. We are commanded to be reverent in the way we live, not to be slanderers, not to be addicted to much wine, and to teach what is good. Simple, straightforward.
How are you doing as an older woman?
I am not where I need to be but I'm not where I was. I'm getting better and better! Landing in bloggsville has certainly helped. As I mentioned above, I'm still learning and I pray that I am teaching. My heart is so there, wanting women to learn to love Christ as much as I do, to know Him and to know how much He loves them. My passion is to teach what is good and reach other women for God's glory. My heart beats to serve God and bring others closer to Him.
Do you live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord?
See why I call it a reality check? Reality checks hurt! I realize how short I fall. I try my best to be reverent in the way I live, I am most definitely not addicted to much wine (no wine, I don't drink - not because I have anything against it but because it doesn't agree with me physically and I am scared to death of becoming an alcoholic.) I don't consider myself a slanderous person. I have one friend that I vent to. I don't gossip with the world about my feelings about others. We don't have a gossip fest regarding others, we just know we can safely talk out our feelings and give each other feedback on the way we should handle things, etc. And I do try to teach what is good.
How is your speech, your attitude?
You were watching me last week, weren't you? I had an awful week. I pulled a tendon, fought with my husband and cussed twice. Usually I can say I'm doing great! But you were watching, weren't you? Yeah, no. I know God was watching and other women were, too. I wasn't the best example last week. It's hard to be Christ-like sometimes, but I am reminded that no matter what my circumstances are, I should try. And try, I do!
I strive to really watch my words because I believe they carry much weight. The good and the bad words matter. Their impact is far reaching and everlasting. Just as you cannot take back the words you speak, you also may never have the opportunity to speak the words you do need to speak if you don't speak when you have the chance. I am an affirmer. I love to tell people they're doing a great job, they're on the right track, they really matter, etc. I believe that people need to be encouraged. I also try my hardest to be pure in speech.
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." ~ Luke 6:45 (NIV)
Are you producing the fruits of the Spirit in your life?
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Love - I have a great love for others and for God. I absolutely love His Word. Still, I fall short.
Joy - I am a happy person! Last week, not so much, but generally I am full of gladness and strive to be a source of it. Still, I fall short.
Peace - I have great peace in my life. This comes from the security of my future. I am confident in God's promises for my life and I have a peace in my heart regarding God that cannot be shaken. Peace in this world? Pretty much. Still, I fall short.
Patience - I'm a patient person for the most part. You can push me way beyond what you think I can take and I still have it. Eventually I'll snap back, like a rubber band, but I am very patient. Still, I fall short.
Kindness - I am not an unkind person. I go out of my way to be kind to strangers and the ones I love. Still, I fall short.
Goodness - I am not perfect in my uprightness of heart and life. I try to be and am most of the time. Still I fall short.
Faithfulness - I pray I have the character of one who can be relied on. I am faithful to God for the most part. I am faithful to my husband and to friends. Still I fall short.
Gentleness - I do run on the side of being rather mild. I'm not abrasive and am not rowdy. I find great peace in being gentle and having a gentle spirit. Still, I fall short.
Self-control - I am working on this. This is the hardest fruit of the Spirit for me! Still, I fall short.
If you can't answer a resounding yes!..then share with us what your starting point is in being an older woman who is well equipped to teach the younger.
Since I couldn't say with a resounding yes that I'm bearing the fruits of the Spirit in my life, I wanted to share what my starting point is....Christ!
"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light." ~ Colossians 1:10-12 (NIV)
Wow! What a conscious awareness I have of things that I need to work on. I realize that I have a long way to go. I am not prideful enough to say I'm good on my own merit. I know through Christ I have been made good and am worthy of His love. I pray I impart it to others, being reverent in the way I live, not being a slanderer, not addicted to much wine, and teaching what is good.
Questions for Reflection: Thinking about the questions above, how do you feel like you're doing as an older woman? What can you do differently? What are you doing well enough that you could write about and share with others?
Verse for the Day: "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." ~ Titus 2:3 (NIV)
Prayer: Father, I have such a long way to go. Help us remember that there is no condemnation for those who have been found in You, that we have You as our great example, and that we are to do the work on earth here You have called us to do. Give us strong hearts and willing spirits to continue to strive to do this work for Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Please gather with us At the Well today. Visit here to read what other woman are sharing, and be sure to link up and share your thoughts!