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Where Have The Older Women Gone?

on September 26, 2013 by Erica 21 comments

By Erica, Contributing Writer

Older women are Biblically assigned to special tasks to help younger women love their husbands, their children, and keep their home. But where have the older women gone? Young women are struggling to find any woman willing to be generously available as an invested and influential friend and guide.

The internet is a great tool but it should not be a substitute for one-on-one relationships between older and younger ladies. How can we set up effective mentoring relationships? Read more!

Why are there so many vacancies? I am not discounting mothers, aunts, sisters, or other women in your life that have been a blessing to you in your wifedom and mamahood, I am talking about the problem in general.

I read a popular magazine article this month about women seeking mentors in the workplace and struggling to find older women to help them advance in their career. They were desiring to find someone to advise them on what choices they should make in order to be successful. Most were coming up with few leads.

The common reasons in the article for an older woman not to mentor was:

  1. Older women they knew in the workplace were unapproachable.
  2. Some women feared the other woman learning from her and becoming more successful than her.
  3. Countless women had no personal time to give to help someone else.
  4. Others had made a commitment to mentor and were not able to fulfill it and felt guilty or resentful.

We can safely assume these might be some of the reasons why older Christian women may not take on the responsibility of helping younger women even if the Bible says they should.

Another simple reason is that young women are utilizing the 24/7 access to the internet for their needs in marriage and parental advice. The internet is a great tool but it should not be a substitute for one-on-one relationships between older and younger ladies.

The reason younger women need older women is because they are inexperienced and insecure.

Inexperience

A young woman can have experience doing household tasks, managing her own money, even purchasing her own car and home prior to marriage, but there is something about putting two newlyweds together that exposes the reality that usually your experience is not enough.

Think of how many firsts young couples go through in their first years of marriage. Add child-bearing in there and her eyes are a little more open to life! Then as marriage progresses sometimes the difficulties arise.

Insecurity

Women need to feel secure. Throw a woman into a bunch of unknown circumstances of faith, attempting peace in marriage, and add hormones and a crying baby or toddler into the mix and it can make even the holiest of saints feel like cursing.

Young women need to know how, and when, and where, and “is this normal?” and “can we get through this?” and “should I take my baby to the doctor or wait it out?”

Dear Older Women Who May Not Reach Out,

Do you have any memories of needing advice or a listening ear when you were younger? Have you ever felt lonely for another woman to understand and give you her story? I may never know your life’s circumstances, time constraints, your health, or your reasons not to want to be a blessing to a younger woman, but I do know that God wants you to do it.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh 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

God wants women to help each other because He wants to protect His Word from being blasphemed (lightly esteemed or thought evil of).

Women you know have  heartaches, questions about practical living, or a spiritual struggles. They need you to walk up beside them, wrap your arm around them, give them a word of encouragement and pray with them for weeks… months… and maybe even years.

If you will demonstrate your faith and invest your time in them with grace, God will benefit! God becomes glorified as young women become experienced and more secure in their God-given duties of being holy, loving their husbands, children, and all of the things listed in Titus 2:3-5.

As God is glorified the truth of His Word becomes validated into the hearts of doubters and unbelievers. What a wonderful ministry!

If God puts struggling women on your heart, please, please, go find them and help them! Please, do not leave it up to someone else. Be careful not to butt in or douse cold water on their life with horrible tales of marriage, childbirth, or anything in between. Just share the blessings and experiences God has helped you with.

If you can, put aside a few tasks to make time to call them or have someone over for a meal or project. Say a kind word, write a note or e-mail. Don’t make it harder than it has to be, just simply obey the instructions God has given you, and both parties will be blessed.

You can make a difference being a  generously available invested and influential friend and guide. Using your time on earth can make a difference for eternity!

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. I’ve often wondered this myself, Erica! I’m one of those young women, and I’ve been fortunate to have family members who are great mentors. I sometimes look at the youth, or even single adults in my church, that seem to live in a totally different world than I do. Sometimes I’m only 2-3 years older than them, but I feel like a “fuddy-duddy;” like we have nothing in common! I imagine that older, experienced Godly women feel that way about the young wives like me. As the younger ones, we should sometimes seek the advice and friendship of older women, and make them feel comfortable with assuming their Titus 2 charge. Great post!

    • It’s okay to be a fuddy duddy… My husband and I feel the same way when we look at people we graduated with in high school and they are still acting like, well, the same way they did back then. The “exciting” things are usually the irresponsible things when it comes to being consistent Christians and loving parents. We do relate to a lot of the older folks more than our own generation… but I thought that was because we were in ministry, but I could be wrong, it could be more about our goals and priorities.

      I love the point you made in the fact that we should pursue friendships with older women. Thank you for taking the time to come over and read the post!

      • We’re in the ministry, too, which presents it’s own set of issues! Sometimes I feel as though mature women may shy away from offering me advice or teaching me because I’m “the pastor’s wife.” Maybe they think I know waaay more than I do??

  2. Older women have been given the message that they are no longer relevant, that they are not up with today’s technology and therefore “don’t get it”. They are often viewed as trying to hold on to their jobs because they are fearful that someone younger is not going to respect what they have to offer and work with them, but rather use it against them to climb the social ladder. The younger women let them know that they are not welcome in their groups by excluding them from lunches, meetings, social times, by not asking for their input at all, and often make fun of them behind their backs. It’s sad. We need a little bit more Ruth and Naomi, where the younger was willing to stand next to the older, supporting them instead of chastising them. Some of the best advice I’ve received has been from women that have been there years before me, (granted maybe not with a smartphone), but they have been faced with the same challenges as women, mom’s, sisters, daughters and wives. It is not always the same exact tool that may have been used when making (over simplifying), “apple pie”, however there are tricks to creating a flaky crust, ingredients that may not have been considered to enhance the flavor, and even encouragement along the way. If you want to learn how to do something, YOUR schedule needs to be flexible to meet with the one you are seeking advice from. I have met with women at 5:00am to be mentored. I bend to their schedule and needs, not the other way around at first. Elders need to be given honor and space in people’s lives across the board. The world would be a better place for it. Your article is refreshing, and offers hope to those of us that are trying to pass the baton of life to the next generation only to often find that there is no one there willing to take it from our hands.

    • I like your perspective Michelle, thank you for adding your valuable input! If God allows I may just need to write a letter to younger women as well! I’m so thankful for my mom having me around my grandparents and great-grandparents at a young age so I could see the gems of wisdom they held while they lived their life and told their stories. That’s why I love to learn from older people.

      There’s a precious balance here that I hope that we can all realize that is in God’s design of passing on wisdom. He truly wants younger women and older women to work hand in hand to enhance His godly heritage, the home and family. May we all look for more opportunities to be mentored and be a mentor!

  3. Two things I see that hinder generational mentoring. First, as an older woman, I often feel my knowledge-base has become a bit dated or obsolete (regarding parenting trends, organic cooking, natural health). Second, the ‘age-graded’ Sunday School system in our church tends to ‘compartmentalize’ the adults and somewhat restricts flow of fellowship between generations. I think older women are willing, but then again my generation (80’s moms) didn’t receive as much mentoring as the generation before us. All I can say is keep asking until you find a willing mentor.

    • Liz, These are very valid points… I am even feeling a little obsolete with some of these new fangled ideas and things they have out there. And totally agree that the age-separated Sunday School classes do seem to hinder women influencing women and men influencing men. I don’t know how you change either of these factors, but I think you’re right to keep on asking until you find someone that is willing to help you and influence you. You’re the kind of woman that is an encouragement to see that you recognize these problems and still have a heart to be a blessing. Thank you for taking the time to come on over and read this article, it means a lot to me!

    • My church has small groups instead of Sunday School, but the situation is similar. People typically attend small groups with peers. This makes it difficult to connect with women of various ages (it also inhibits the mixing of single and married women, which is another problem). In the year since my husband and I moved here and began attending our current church, I’ve only met women who are within a few years of my age.

      • Moving can definitely make a lot of our life situations difficult! We moved to our church 4 years ago and sometimes I still feel like there is a difference since we are not natives to this area and do not have close family relatives here. I imagine in this situation it would be difficult being with the same age group in your small groups. Perhaps there is a ministry like working in the nursery, in a girl’s Sunday School class, or other type of children or teen program in your church that would allow you the opportunity to minister to other women (moms that drop their babies off are in great need of being ministered to) or young ladies. I like to see you have a heart to be a blessing, there must be an opportunity to somewhere. Ask God to bring an opportunity in your life and seek His will on how you can do this. If you would like to talk about this further then please come by my website and contact me there!

  4. We have an amazing ministry at our church that I have been invited to this year called Apples of Gold. It is a bible study written by an amazing Christian woman that helps mentors teach younger women. The lessons are in kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity and hospitality. It has been such a blessing in my life. These women are amazing. I will pray each of you may be blessed in a similar way. You could go to applesofgold.org to see about setting the study up in your own church.

    • Well that sounds like a great ministry, Aimee, I’m going to go and check it out! Thank you for being so excited about it to share it with us all. I hope you continue to be blessed by this ministry in your church.

  5. Well I’m becoming one of those older women, and yet strangely enough I am connecting with women much older than I who are willing to do what the scripture says. It has been a blessing. At first I was taken aback thinking I don’t want to hang around with these old women, but then I realized that we had more in common than what was different. And so perhaps the issue maybe that the younger women are unwittingly pushing away the older women, but the older women being wiser should persevere and the younger should be more open.
    As I am learning from the older, I’m hoping that I’m a sweet scent to young women I come in contact with.

    • When you become more like the Savior by being around those older women that are influencing you to do right and live godly, then yes, there is no doubt that you will have a sweet scent to the younger women in your life. I know I’m naturally drawn to women who have bright shining eyes and a big smile and put forth an effort to talk to me and get to know me. While I know the road goes both ways, I know you certainly will be a magnet if you will ask God who to be a blessing to! Thanks for coming by and giving your input!

  6. Great article. I am 49 and am fortunate to volunteer at a CPC where I get the privilege to share with young ladies each week. I just wish this was as easy in my own family. I have adult sons, one married. I would love to teach my daughter-in-law more but it feels so hard to say things no matter how nice I try to be, I feel she does not want my advice. I have been told by other older ladies that this is normal, that they don’t want our advice so just be quiet unless I’m asked a question (Christian women tell me this too). I am a new grandmother, so just thought I would share from the other side of your article. When you have been rebuffed, its hard to want to share. Not having daughters of my own, I thought this would be a fun new part of life that someone might actually want to learn from me (not sure boys did). I know the bible well, and I LOVE talking to older ladies myself and I am not too ‘smart’ to think they can’t teach me something. Its just hard when your own don’t seem to want to glean from all the experiences I would like to share. I find myself shutting down sometimes. Just venting really. Thanks.

    • I’m so sorry that your daughter-in-law is not open to you and your willing heart! I know that must be hard. Start praying for little ways in which to be a blessing to her anyway. Also, look for someone else in your church, neighborhood, or common stomping grounds to be a blessing to. Some of the best gifts I’ve ever been given were books that the older woman thought would be a blessing to me (or that they had enjoyed reading). Maybe that is an option. Your heart is in the right place. There’s a way to love in this way even with roadblocks. Hugs to you Anne!

  7. These are good points Erica! I started a women’s bible study recently and it is nice to have a mix of generations and life stages represented there. One thing that was brought up at our study last night was that at any given time from your teens on up you should be both the older women mentoring the younger and and a younger women being mentored by older women. I have neither so I know I need to pray about how to change this, but I liked the perspective there.

    • You are so right, we should be looking from our teens on up for younger girls/women to help and encourage. “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12 Thanks Ashley for sharing about your Bible study.

  8. For years I taught younger women as the Lord directed older women to fulfill the Titus Two calling. Then I realized that I was doing it all myself and this was not the biblical mandate so I called as many older women as I could to participate. Some of their comments were insightful. Many felt inadequate to teach, others felt they would not be listened to or valued, some did not know where to start. There was a lot of fear behind their hesitation especially that the young women of today do not have a teachable heart or encourage older women to fulfill their calling. Of course none of that mattered to me because that has nothing to do with God’s mandate. I am so grateful the Lord made this a clear calling as it gave me confidence to help these mothers, grandmothers and older women to stir up the gifts in them. We ended up having an amazing group of women and it was a beautiful treasure to behold! The picture of older women teaching younger women was so amazing and powerful when the Titus Two mandate is fulfilled. After years in this ministry, the Lord directed me to serve my husband differently so instead of a large group of women, I will mentor “one on one” as I am able to. I will never forget the amazing gift of what I witnessed as older women fulfilled their beautiful calling in my home and all I learned! So ladies get out there. You have no excuse! Young ladies please do your part too! Remain teachable, humble and make it okay to hear something again as you encourage an older woman to fulfill her Titus Two calling to you. Love Mrs. H.~<3

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and your heart, Mrs. H. Thank you for exhorting us to do the right thing as young wives to be willing to be taught and open to having older women help us in our lives. I like both approaches you shared of making it a group effort and doing it one on one. May you be blessed for your teachable and teaching spirit!

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