The front of the card said “Is it true that all daughters become their mothers?” Then I opened it and read this: “I sure hope so. Happy Mother’s Day.”
I have gotten a card much like this from my daughter every year (only Hannah’s are usually pretty funny and a bit sarcastic–I love them!). What is different about this card is that it was not from either of my children. At the bottom of this card was this closing greeting:
To my spiritual mother in Christ–
I’m so thankful for all you have taught me!
Now, I am humbled by this because while there are lots of worthy spiritual mothers, I’m so flawed–daily flawed–that I have a tough time being the example to my own kids that I want to be, much less to those who could be looking to me from other biological families. The point is, Amber is looking–to me, to ladies in her congregation, to her sweet mother-in-law–for strength and teaching and encouragement. Older women in the body have never had a greater Titus 2:3-5 burden than we do today. There has never been a greater need to strengthen and guide younger women than we find in our churches right now. When I think about the sin they daily face in work places, the cultural expectations to disrespect their husbands and neglect their children, the barrage of materialism and the constant pull of worldliness, I feel for their spirits, worry about their souls, and fear for their children. I know God has challenged older women of 2012 in a very practical way in Titus 2. We are part of the answer to the problems of the kingdom in our day. So why are we falling down on this job of teaching younger women?
I think there are several reasons. One is that, although we are faithful women, we feel unworthy and unqualified to teach. Secondly, we sometimes feel our advice or guidance is not enlisted or welcomed by younger women. Thirdly, we are not the faithful older women described in Titus 2:3 (holy, not false accusers, etc…); thus we truly are unqualified to be teachers.
Whatever the reason for our failure, I hope to challenge older readers to do better at fulfilling Titus 2. While the command to teach does not require us to be public speakers, it does require us to be teachers. It is required–not suggested– and the nature of the teaching is outlined specifically. Truth is, I don’t get to choose whether or not I teach, no matter the difficulty involved, and I don’t get to choose what I teach. It’s all there. Even more sobering, God specifies a dire consequence of our failing to teach. The Word of God will be blasphemed.
I know I have often failed at teaching the “good things.” I have often failed at even living the “good things.” But Amber made me want to try harder. She made me want to encourage others to try harder. So I am sending a card like the one Amber sent to me to an older woman in my life who has impacted me to be a better wife and mother. I hope you will, too. In some small way, we could bless our congregations for their future generations if we could each encourage one older woman to stay the course of teaching the younger women.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:3-5).