By Jillian Nemecek
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. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)
I have been focusing a lot on Titus 2:3-5 this week as Coquina is gearing up for the Women’s Ministry Meeting. The reason this verse has been pushing on me is because for the first time in my life I’m sometimes the oldest person in my women’s group. Sometimes by a few months and sometimes by a decade. My flourishing gray hair proves that I am no longer eligible for the youth group.
The Bible is asking something of me that I think is not fully embraced in the American church. We like to segregate couples from the unwed, mothers from the motherless, and the older from the younger. We like neat little boxes where interests and topics can come naturally and everyone is in the same season of life (or “trenches of battle” - as I prefer to think of it). The American church has skipped what has been for me one of the most educational and growing aspects of being in church: having an older Titus 2 Woman in my life!
Let me tell you about my Titus 2 woman. She came into my life when my first two children were in diapers. She was part of my small church and she had taken it upon herself to be involved in my life. She would call me, take me to coffee, and listen to my problems - valid and frivolous - and be there to give me advice.
“So you had an older friend?” you maybe asking yourself. It goes deeper than that. Way, way deeper. She didn’t just give consultations about my life, she made herself vulnerable to me by telling me honestly about her life. She didn’t say, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” She would say, “I’ve tried something similar and it ended up horrible for me and everyone around me. Can I tell you about it?” Then she’d allow me to walk through her life via uncensored stories, and not all of them are kid friendly or family friendly. She opened up about her fun times, her wild times, her dark times, her broken times, her successful times, her God-centered times, and the times she tried to evade God.
By doing the dangerous and unthinkable thing of revealing her scars through her stories, I knew that when she gave me her advice it was from a place of experience and deep care for me. It created a deep relationship with wise counsel from an experienced Christian veteran who had walked, stumbled, ran, and fallen face down on her walk with Christ. She took on the mantle of an older Titus 2 woman in my life and I am forever grateful to her for it.
Leviticus says, “A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.” It is so true. No one gets to a head of gray hair without experience! There is no older woman in my church that isn’t chalked full of personal run ins with God and Satan! They have their own purple hearts and battle scars that I want to know about - I need to know about - because life doesn’t vary that much. The same core heart struggles women had in the ‘50’s hasn’t gone away. They have been modified and updated for the times, but the foundation of the struggle isn’t new. The older ladies in your church have probably been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. We have simply forgotten how to connect them to their younger sisters.
So that is my hope as we start to assemble the women of Coquina together this summer. We want to bridge the gap and start finding ways for Titus 2 women, young and old, to connect with one another and share what God is doing and has done.
What I am starting to realize is that I am reaching the age where I should start being an Older Titus 2 Woman as I continue to be a Younger Titus 2 Woman to those more experienced than myself. I hope that I can serve and advise a younger woman with the same wisdom, grace, and compassion as my Titus 2 woman did for me!