Wednesday, December 30, 2009

from the archives: teaching younger women - the need

I was a kid bride, married at the age of 19. I was pregnant 3 months after the wedding; I had my first baby at age 20, and a year later I had my second baby. To say the least, I felt overwhelmed by the task. There were so many times I longed to have an older, more experienced godly woman in my life that I could just call for counsel and advice. My Mum was an excellent role model, but she lived 1000 miles away, so it was not very practical to contact her on a daily basis. I was the first among my circle of friends to have a baby. I really had no-one I could call and ask for help. I felt very alone in this daunting task of being a wife and a mother.

I had to learn from doing it all wrong the first time around, and sometimes it can't be avoided. However, the better way is to glean from the wisdom and experience of those who have gone before us. The better way is to benefit from the training and instruction of older women with godly character. (from Carolyn Mahaney's talk A Fresh Look at Titus 2)
There is a thirst in the hearts of many young women. I should know.

I remember so well how it felt to be a single 18-year-old with no idea of how to grow into godly womanhood, a married woman in my 20’s wondering how to love my husband, and a 30 year old bewildered about how to care for our new baby. How I longed for an older woman who would take me under her wing and show me how to live as a Christian woman!

Oh, I knew the facts. I had read books on Biblical womanhood, agonised over the theology and practice of submission, trawled through books on marriage and motherhood.

But I had no idea about how to serve Jesus through a lifetime, how to love my husband during times when marriage got tough, how to manage our home effectively, how to settle a baby, discipline a toddler, or teach a child about God. And it felt like there was no-one I could ask.

I looked around for older, wiser women, but my husband and I were in university ministry, and there weren't many around. The few faithful, godly older women I knew, who took time to encourage us younger ones, I regarded with admiration tinged with awe. I asked a couple to meet with me, but they weren’t able to. So my friends and I were left to stumble through on our own, with the help of some wise books and the occasional seminar for women.

I’m older now. Perhaps I fit the category of “older woman” myself. But the thirst has never really gone away.

Is this a thirst you have felt? How do you feel about "older women"? Have you ever asked an "older woman" to mentor you? Is there someone you could ask?

13/10/08

image is Diego Rivera's "Two women and a child"

3 comments:

Kjerste said...

I'm enjoying the archive posts since I haven't had time to go back and read everything! I completely identify with this post; it's so sad that we don't make that time to meet.

The Stout Family said...

Jean,
I have enjoyed reading your blog from time to time. I stumbled upon it one day. I too am a Jesus follower trying to raise 3 kids in His grace.
I have been mentored by a few women, but I find it harder to find someone the older I get. Not many women come knocking on your door asking if they CAN mentor you. I have been pondering this thought lately as there are a few women I've considered asking to mentor me. I think I've been fearful for some reason...rejection, etc? But I know it's value as I've had the privelege of having women "speak into my life."

Jean said...

Lovely to hear from you both!