When I was 25, I moved to Denver to return to college –art school, specifically. I was one of about 4 Christians on a ridiculously liberal campus, and simply desired to be in Christian community somewhere. I found a church that had a Precept upon Precept Bible study, one of the most intensive study groups that can be found. I have always LOVED doing studies by Kay Arthur, so I signed up. I was about 30 years younger than any other woman in the group, the only single girl for sure, and the only one without children (or grandchildren). The leader looked at me and said “Are you sure you’re in the right group? Don’t you think you should go sign up for the college age group?”
I responded with “Well, Titus 2 says that the older women should disciple the younger ones and teach us about Godly living. I want the Word, I want an in-depth study of the Word, and I want to be around women mature in their faith.”
It broke my heart when she, and one or two other women, discouraged me again from coming and said that maybe I should wait until a different season of life.
This post is not a complaint post, though. It is merely a picture of one experience that left me longing for fellowship, and painted in great contrast to the one I had before my eyes this morning.
This morning, a snowy, windy spring morning in the Colorado mountains, I sat in a room full of women in all stages of life. I sat with women who have walked with Jesus for 50 years, and women who have only come to know Him recently. I sat with young moms, grandmas, other single, childless girls like myself, and we studied the Word together. We talked and prayed, laughed and perhaps got a bit choked up together. I cherished it so much.
This isn’t the only time I have experienced a beautiful balance of the generations, of the whole family of God (rather than segmented, divided groups according to age, stage of life, career, etc). In Alaska, I had the privilege of being surrounded by multiple generations of women. Oh, they taught me the Word, and they taught me how to teach it to other women too! They tutored me sitting on camp chairs on the rocky beach by Lake Clark, or sitting in someone’s living room with coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls. I treasure that time with Sarah, Ginger, Tamy, Michelle, Anna, Megan, Menda, Julie and so many others. In Costa Rica, as I move there soon to join my team of missionaries, I get to be part of a well-rounded, multi-generation ministry. Months ago, the team leader made a statement that I have mulled over many times– he said something to the effect of “it’s not the youth bringing the gospel to the nations, or the older people either. It’s the generations, the full family of God bringing the gospel out.”
I wonder why in our culture we feel like we need to ALWAYS separate people out into appropriate groupings? It’s great sometimes, but not always for all things! I also think that inasmuch as it is a treasure to me to sit among the older, wiser (or at least more experienced) women in Bible studies or simple fellowship, it is a treasure to them as well. Sometimes I need to be mothered, even at (nearly) 31 years of age. And sometimes, women need a child to be a mother to. Have you ever considered that? Perhaps it’s a mutual benefit–I am learning wisdom and respect, and you are nurturing and giving of yourself and we are both growing in love and friendship.
So, this post is celebrating that. To the women in my Tuesday morning Bible study–I cherish you! I sit among you and see so many who have experienced more life than me. I want to glean from your wisdom! You don’t have to have it all together, you don’t have to be this great teacher or know the right thing to say at the right time. I love that you are an example to me of Titus 2, “that they would encourage the younger women”. And I love that you are encouraging me to go disciple the women younger than me, too. Thank you for being that! To the women in Alaska who faithfully walk in the Word, gosh, I love you. To my team in Costa Rica, I am so grateful that God is letting me be a part of the work that you are doing there. I love this big beautiful, multi-generational, multi-cultural family of ours!