Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:3-5)
Women are encouraged in the book of Titus to be active in looking after the next generation, teaching and modelling to them how to be a woman of God. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to easily name several older women who have, in one way or another, been ‘Titus 2’ women to me in my life. They are the women I now attempt to imitate as I serve as a woman of God.
When I think about these women—whether they are slightly or significantly older than me, and despite their varying seasons of life—I noticed some common traits:
- They share their whole lives with us. If they’re a mum, they are open about what it’s like, sharing the struggles they encounter with children and marriage. If they’re in paid employment, they share what’s happening at work, the pressures of deadlines, the demands of bosses, their experience of the workplace. Whether they have big families, small families, or hobbies they are involved with, it’s all on the table for discussion. This is great, because it feels like no question is too scary to ask.
- They invite us into their lives. They don’t just tell us about their lives, they invite us into them. We are allowed to see them as they really are— be it when they get home from work and are frazzled about dinner, or when they are putting their feet up. They let us help bathe the kids and put them to bed; they allow us to join them on errands (that might seem boring, but it’s not). Each moment they share is an opportunity for us to witness Christian living in action, from how they thoughtfully buy extra groceries just in case there’s an opportunity to make a meal for someone to how they discipline their children.
- They’re honest with us. These women are great because they’re real. They’re not afraid to share their mistakes with us and show us how far from perfect they are.
- They speak the Bible to us. They are happy to reflect on what they have been learning from church, on conversations they have had about the Word, or how they’re seeing God work in their lives. Sometimes they will share a Bible verse that they love, or how Scripture has been helping them persevere in a hard time.
- They rebuke us. They know us well enough to know when we are straying, and they point us back to the Word of God in love and gentleness.
- They’re examples for us. Because we can see their lives, we can learn from their lives.
- They encourage us. We are spurred on to love and serve by witnessing the way they love and serve faithfully. We are encouraged by their friendship with us through the things that they say and by seeing the things that they do.
- They provide for us. Whether it’s a listening ear, godly wisdom and council, a lift here or there, a meal, or even a hot cup of tea, these are women who provide—and teach us to provide for others too.
- They pray for us. When they are with us they pray and when we are apart they pray. They know that ultimately God is the one who grows people, and so they pray that he will grow us.
So, older women, keep being godly examples by putting God's word first, and keep seeking to know him more and more. There are younger women watching and seeking to learn from your life. You don't need to have all of the answers, you just need to love Jesus and let others see the way you serve him.
Younger women, look to older Christian ladies at church and learn from them. Don't be afraid to ask them questions. Find out why they do the things that they do, whether you agree with them or not. Watch their lives and imitate them as they imitate Christ. This is what Titus 2 is all about.