Monday, April 06, 2009

At the Well - The Older Women

"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)


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.

Reality Check

Deb, who is hosting our Gathering at the Well today, asks some questions that I call my "reality check."

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)

Wrap-Up

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!

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21 comments:

Joyfull said...

Thanks for sharing the power of a godly older woman's council. Thanks for sharing honestly today and encouraging us on our journey to godliness.

ServinGsus said...

Thanks for sharing; I discovered you At The Well & have enjoyed your blog here now. Have a great day!

Marsha said...

Very thought provoking questions.

I've found over the years that you can be a teen and be "an older woman". It really doesn't matter your age, but rather are you following the command to make disciples and in the process be held accountable by someone to help guide you along.
I think there's 3 layers to all this. I'm 56. I'm actively discipling girls and women younger than me. There, I'm the older woman. Then I have a group of trusted friends - peers may age or close - we are in the same life stage. We hold each other accountable and encourage one another. And then I am the younger woman. There are some Godly Christian senior women that I like to meet with. They have taught me so much about never giving up, never retiring from "the ministry" just because you're older. I see the value of the wisdom of these precious saintly sages. I'm blessed to have their wise counsel in my life.

Raye Ann said...

Laurie Ann,

Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement on your stop by my site today. You have a beautiful and open heart.

I have so enjoyed your post today that I read through it twice.

Blessing You Beautiful Sister

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing. Great post!

God Bless,
Karen @ Lil Momma's Haven

Saleslady371 said...

Just between you and me, I'm the older woman...LOL. And I don't drink either for the same reasons...allergies. I'm allergic to fermented things. That's why I like to drink at the well with you and our sisters in the Lord!

Cheryl said...

It feels odd to be an older woman. The last few months, and even the last year have been difficult for me. Yet, I have to believe there is a reason for where I've been and where I'm going.

Thanks for sharing!

Love,
Cheryl

Beth in NC said...

You have the sweetest heart!

Too funny that we both used the same "Joyce Meyer" saying, "I'm not where I want to be, but thankfully I'm not where I was" -- something like that. :o) Great minds think alike.

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Love,
Beth

June said...

Thank you for such a very well thought out lesson. I think I have always been the older women.
I am the oldest of 4 girls and I seem to always be teaching in some way or the other.

June

Jennifer said...

What a blessing - and a testimony - to have had "older women" in your life when you were the younger! God will surely bless your heart's desire to come along side the younger women He puts in your path these days. Great post, today.

LAURIE said...

Laurie Ann,
I loved your honesty here. I think if the truth could be told ALL of us would say that from time to time we all slip and say or do something that we wish we could just take back. I know I have. I am thankful that God sees thru all of that and still chooses to use us. Blessings and love, Laurie

Alleluiabelle said...

Laurie Ann,

I have to confess, I am the older woman as well, but despite that, I have learned so much from younger and older woman since I became a Christian 7 years ago. I have learned and gained wisom from both sides of the age spectrum and that refreshing. Thank you for refreshing me today at your place. I truly enjoyed your post.

Blessings,
Alleluiabelle

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

"OLDER WOMAN?" At first I wasn't sure I liked that phrase very much. But guess that pretty well sums me up too.

Actually I love how God's order of things lined us up to learn from one another in this very way. We learn by those who've gone before us one way or thee other; right or wrong. I'm so thankful for the Godly friends/mentors in my life!!
I've learned ALOT from you!!!!
Holykisses,
Lea

Denise said...

Very thought provoking post, love you.

Mary Moss said...

I hope I am considered and "older woman" even to some of my peers. I was blessed with some of the best older women in my life - including my pateral grandmother and then as an adult, several women in my church.

I continue to try to model their behavior and their attitude. (Note I said TRY)

Another great post!

Jennifer said...

What a power post with such wisdom from the "older" woman...well, not older than me...I'm 46 (and proud of it)! LOL! I cringe at the thought of being the "older" woman...I want to be the wise "young" woman!

All kidding aside...you are so right...they are always watching, even, when you think they aren't and they are always listening too.

I have fallen short so many times, had to eat my words, apologize and try to do better. There are days that I feel like I live in reverse but there are days when I roar ahead. Regardless, of what day it is...God knows where I am, what I am going through, He loves me just the same, helps me pick up the pieces of my life, brushes the dirt off of me from falling down, sets my feet back on the right path, takes me by the hand and we move forward.

Love you!

((hugs))

Alleluiabelle said...

I have become a 'fan' of yours...to see what that means...please stop by my site. I have a surprise waiting there for you.

Hugs & Blessings,
Alleluiabelle

Debra said...

Sweet sis .. wanted to stop by this evening to say you have a 'fan'...stop by to see what that means!

Big big hugs!

He And Me + 3 said...

I loved this post. It is something that i needed to hear. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I am the older one and then sometimes I feel as though I need an older woman but noone is up for that job. I hope it is not being to difficult.

Linda said...

I took on three stepchildren at age 20 too. One came to live at 24 and the other probably 26. Looking back it seems very young. I discount that time of my life and the effort, but I don't think that would be fair on myself.

Sherry said...

They definitely were some thought provoking and eye opening questions this week. I pray that I can be an older woman that people can look to. He is still working on me though!