Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Titus 2 in Action: Susan, Judy, and Mary’s Story

Episode Resources

Watch Susan, Judy, and Mary's Story.

Leslie Basham: Titus 2 calls older women to invest in younger women. What does this look like practically?

Susan Segar: For me, it was more of a walking through life together.

Judy Barnett: She asked me, “Would you be willing to mentor me?” And, honestly, she’s mentoring me as much as I’m mentoring her.

Mary Arnold: Having Susan ask those questions back to me, and just seeing how I was doing, checking in, it grounded me in my faith. I knew what I believed in and was able to stand firm in it.

Susan: It was actually exciting because I could walk alongside someone, someone else could walk alongside me. We could encourage and support one another as we live out the gospel in our daily lives.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Wonder of His Name, for December 4, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Have you ever wished that you could get some wise advice from an older woman you trust on some tough questions you’re facing? I think all of us wish we could have that kind of wisdom. But in our day of shallow connections, it can be tough to find those kinds of relationships.

Throughout 2017, here at Revive Our Hearts we have been encouraging you to be intentional about your relationships and to look to Titus chapter 2 as a model for older women teaching younger women.

Let’s review the basic idea found in Titus chapter 2, verses 3–5. The apostle Paul says that,

“Older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They’re 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.”

Betty Huizenga: It’s interesting that the Titus passage says the older women shall teach the younger women. So it’s really not an option for us.

Nancy: That’s Betty Huizenga, founder of a discipleship program you may have heard of called Apples of Gold.

Betty: I think it’s a sad thing when women get to be a certain age and feel like they don’t have a purpose in the church anymore or maybe they think they’ve done it all. God’s saying, “No. Your life experiences are really important and valuable.” Even our mistakes are valuable, aren’t they, as we teach them to others?

Susan Hunt: It's very much like mothering.

Nancy: This is Susan Hunt, author of Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women.

Susan: It's the nurturing care of other women. As Paul writes to the Thessalonians, it's sharing the gospel and our lives with others.

The word "train" in Titus 2 is a word that means more than downloading information. It does mean that, but it's also sharing our lives, showing, modeling. It's a show-me kind of ministry.

So it's coming alongside others and living life with them. It's really the kind of discipleship Jesus did because not only did He teach, but He lived life alongside and with His disciples. That's what spiritual mothering is. It's investing in the lives of others in a nurturing way that we share the gospel as well as our lives with them.

Nancy: So how do you know when you’re old enough to be an “older woman” and invest in the next generation? Here’s my friend, author Carolyn McCulley.

Carolyn McCulley: I think maybe we’re a little reluctant to admit we might be the older woman. But let’s just think that’s in terms of maturity, not chronology, right? We’ve received much. And to those who’ve received much, much is required. There are many, many young women who have no knowledge of biblical womanhood because it’s so contrary to what our culture teaches, and they’re hungry, they’re really hungry for this kind of material.

Nancy: Here at Revive Our Hearts, we’ve encouraged you to have spiritual mothers, spiritual daughters, and spiritual sisters. Find an older woman you can learn from. And we’ve encouraged you to be that older woman for someone else.

And perhaps you’re still thinking, That’s a nice idea, but is it really possible?

Well, today we’ll hear from three women who are following this very model. These women go to church together, but they’re from different age groups and backgrounds. I wanted you to hear their story, because it’s such encouraging example of what it looks like to live out these kinds of Titus 2 relationships.

Susan: I became a Christian at sixteen, and I’m in my sixties now but had never been mentored myself. My name is Susan Segar, and I’m from Evansville, Indiana.

Especially after I became a Christian and into my, probably early thirties, I felt very alone—just no one to really talk to about questions that I had. I especially wish I’d had a mentor after I first got married.

I have a wonderful husband, love married life, but I just feel like having an older woman would have helped me go through different seasons in life, and I could have had someone speaking into my life things that I needed to work on or changes that needed to be made. I just really had that longing to find a woman who could speak into my life and answer questions that I had and just walk beside me.

I heard about the Adorned book when I came to True Woman ’16.

Nancy (at True Woman ’16): When I started working on that book, I was one of the younger women that Titus 2 talks about. When I finished the book, about two weeks ago (laughter), I was one of the older women that Titus 2 talks about. When I started writing that book, I was Nancy Leigh DeMoss. When I finished writing that book, I was Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. So a lot of things have changed in my life in the course of writing this book on Titus 2.

Susan: Our church had just started focusing on discipleship, and so I knew that I was going to be interested in reading this. I actually got the book right after it came out.

I began praying and asking the Lord, “Who might fulfill that role in my life?”

Judy: I’ve known Susan from a distance. I saw her at baby showers and different things, so I’ve known her from a distance. Then when her husband came on the elder board with my husband, I met her more officially then. She called and asked us to pray with her and her husband about another matter. We invited them in our home, had dinner, and I just fell in love with her.

Nancy: This is Judy Barnett.

Judy: When you get my age, you realize you’ve lived the three-score and ten years. My husband and I both turned seventy this year. We call it the last chapter in our lives. We want it to be very relational and very intentional.

I guess I felt so alone as an elder’s wife, and I just thought, I really want to help Susan through this time in her life. I started praying about it. I didn’t ask her, I just started praying about it.

Susan: One day we got together, and I just asked her if she would consider discipling me, and she teared up, and she said, “I don’t need to pray about this because I’ve already been praying that the Lord would bring someone into my life that I could mentor, and you were the one.”

So we began, about a year and a half ago, our mentoring/discipleship time together, and it’s been precious.

Judy: One thing I did not want to do was be put on a shelf or relax and rest. So I’ve just been really trying to walk it and live it.

Susan: It just made me happy because I knew that I had been praying and knowing that she had been praying, I knew it was a God thing, that this is who was really supposed to be speaking into my life. It’s been wonderful.

I usually go over to her house. We always start our time just praying. We are doing Nancy’s book, Choosing Gratitude. We will read a chapter, and then we will discuss it.

Judy: The reason Susan and I chose that book is that, as we started meeting together, we realized that that’s one of the things that God really wants us to be—thankful. We both struggle with that and having joy and being thankful, so that’s why we chose that book.

Susan: But Judy’s always there, like when there’s issues that I’m trying to deal with in my own personal life. I feel the freedom just to talk with her about it and receive insight from her as an older woman as to what are better ways to deal with life situations.

Judy: And, honestly, she’s mentoring me as much as I’m mentoring her. Sometimes I wonder, Who’s the mentor here? (laughing)

Susan: I guess it was about seven or eight months ago that I was praying that God would bring someone into my life that I could now mentor.

Mary: Susan is someone who is so dear and so loving. My name is Mary Arnold, and we met for coffee at a local coffee shop. Instantly, we clicked. I knew from there on out that I wanted to be around her more.

Susan: I met Mary through our youngest son. She was in college at the time, and he just really felt like Mary and I were so similar that we would enjoy one another. So we grabbed coffee when she was in town one time and just really felt a connection. We would stay in contact through phone, actually doing lessons, discussing Bible things over the phone.

Mary: It grounded me in my faith because I had gone through a college program that was a liberal arts college program. I was learning so many different viewpoints of the world and worldviews. There were just so many things that were against what I had grown up believing. I needed a foundation that I knew this is the plumb line. This is what I can look to and not stray away from.

Having Susan ask those questions back to me and just seeing how I was doing, checking in, it grounded me in my faith, and I knew what I believed in and was able to stand firm in it.

Susan: Then Mary actually moved to Evansville, and we continued our conversations. As I thought about it and prayed about it, Mary just kept coming to my mind. So one day at lunch, I just asked her if I could be her spiritual mama . . . and we’ve been connecting ever since.

Mary: The day Susan asked to mentor me, I said, “Absolutely, without a hesitation. You can be my spiritual mom!”

I do work at a women’s ministry right now. I’m the head of the women’s ministry at church. One of the reasons that inspired me was because I didn’t have a mom growing up. I have two wonderful older sisters whom I dearly love. My dad was a single dad of three girls—so only imagine that. He made sure that we had moms around us at all times. Our biological mom wasn’t present because she was an alcoholic. That was very hard for us. We would go and visit. However, it’s not the same as having someone who was present there with you.

When Susan came into my life, it was instantly this spiritual mom. I knew just having that person face to face, you can meet them once a week or every other week, just for coffee and sit down and go through Scripture together, it does make a difference. And for her to say, “Mary, please catch me up on life. How are you doing?” was tremendous for me. It met that need of a spiritual mom.

Susan: For me, it wasn’t much about teaching the Bible. It was more of a walking through life together. And so, to me, it wasn’t discouraging. It was actually exciting because I could walk alongside someone, someone else could walk alongside me. We could encourage and support one another as we live out the gospel in our daily lives. We are just having a good time walking through life together.

Mary: Working in middle school ministry, I have three to four girls who don’t have moms present. So, for me, that has been huge. I can speak into their lives because I understand that void.

I will say, absolutely, a mentoring or discipleship relationship, that spiritual mom does fill some voids, but not to the extent that God designed it to have two parents in that household and raising the kids. So there’s a part that can never be filled except through God alone.

I would say to seek God first to fill that void before anything else because even having another mom in that role, a spiritual mom, they can become an idol. However, because God had taught me and others had taught me to seek God first, that’s where I would run to first, and trusting His Word and just allowing that to resonate within my life, His Word, specifically.

But then, we need accountability. We need others who will mentor us and be able to give that back because we are blessed to be a blessing. So we are to give that back to others.

Susan: I’ve seen myself grow as a person. Before, I would always keep things inside and would internalize them and work things out. Now, it’s more of a, “Well, I have someone I can go to and share this burden with and know that they’re praying for me.” I feel like I’ve grown more.

Judy: It’s made me be more honest about myself. I think you can get apathetic in your Christian life, and I was there, just kind of tired. “I’m tired, Lord.” (laughing) She has really inspired me, Susan has, because of her love for the Lord.

Susan: I will tell you another need that it’s really met is that our three kids are now grown and gone. I’ve always loved being a mom, so I feel like having Mary in my life, it is filling that void that was missing once my kids were gone and out of the house.

Judy: No matter how old you get, you never stop learning. God’s Word is just so alive. We’ve always tried to use the standard of His Word when we raised our four children. Now our four children have children.

So one thing I say to older women is, “Point your grandchildren to Christ.” And that’s what we’re doing now, trying to spend a lot of one-on-one time with them and just helping our four daughters and wonderful sons-in-law to point those ten grandkids to the Lord. You never stop doing that.

Mary: Well, recently, Susan had actually asked me, “Mary, I would love to go through Titus with you since we’re both going to this conference together.” We were preparing to come to Revive’17. I thought, Okay, great.

I thought she just wanted to go through it as an inductive Bible study. But she goes, “No, Mary, I want you to be able to teach me more of how to study your Bible like you have.” I was humbled at first, and second, to be able to go through that with her was awesome.

Susan: As a mentor, I find myself just thinking of Mary, praying for her more, wanting to tell her things that I have learned, hearing of situations in her life, and just kind of praying and asking how the Lord would use me.

I just realize as I walk through this life how much more I have to grow, but I thank God for His Word and that I can go to Him, and He will just open up His Word to me and speak to me through that Word and show me ways that I can grow, and also, He doesn’t condemn me. There’s grace there, which has also allowed me to show more grace to others in my life because of the grace He’s shown me.

Judy: I had met Mary for the first time in a prayer meeting group on Friday morning. She just kind of keeps showing up at different places where I am. I loved her immediately, could feel the Lord in her immediately.

She one day asked me on the phone if she could pray with me, and I’m, like, “Oh, I love her, Lord!” It just made me excited that I could—because she has a very important position at our church. She’s our women’s ministry director, so I pray for her a lot.

Mary: Judy is precious, first and foremost. And to be able to have her mentor Susan, I know that there’s an effect in that. I was just speaking with Judy and telling her, “Judy, it’s the downline effect—whatever you say to Susan, it comes to me as well.”

To be able to see that wisdom that comes through Susan—I know that’s from God, of course—but also Judy being a vessel herself, and mentoring Susan, the wisdom that is given.

Revive Our Hearts ministry has helped me in regards to, yes, reading the materials and going through them. Susan recently got me the book Adorned. I’ve been reading through that. It just assisted me further, of course, in my spiritual journey. But in our relationship as a spiritual mom to a spiritual daughter, it has encouraged me, like I said, to continually go back to God’s Word as the plumb line.

Nancy: It’s been so encouraging to me to see the way that our listeners have gravitated to this theme of older women and younger women being together in intentional discipleship relationships.

Recently, Judy and her husband became monthly partners of Revive Our Hearts.

Judy: As of last year, we became monthly supporters. We had been praying about it and thinking about it, but we support several missionaries and campus ministries. When my husband retired, I said, “I just still feel that tug at my heart that we need to support Revive Our Hearts.” So in January we decided to become a monthly supporter, and we’re so thankful. Hopefully we’ll be able to give more, but when you retire, it’s tough.

I thought it was a good investment because God’s Word has changed my heart so much and made me a better mom and a better grandmother. I kind of relate now more as a grandmother than mom, but I loved being a mom.

I think if women can plug into God’s Word, that is the most valuable thing they can do for their kids, their family, their husbands. Or if they don’t have a husband, just their friends.

Nancy: She says that in addition to the joy of being a part of what God is doing through this ministry, there’s some tangible benefits for them as well.

Judy: Well, one thing, I got to come to the conference this year free, and this is my fifth year, I think. There are just no conferences like the Revive conference, and I’ve been to lots of different conferences. I’m excited to keep learning as a seventy-year-old. I want to keep learning God’s Word, but I got to come as a ministry partner. I also received a book in the mail.

Nancy: Listen, there’s a whole generation of baby-boomer women who are nearing retirement, and I believe these women can be a huge resource for the Body of Christ if they’ll keep their focus outward on how they can invest in others.

At Revive Our Hearts we’ve spent a lot of time this year focusing on this whole subject. First, with the release of my book called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. We also aired an in-depth teaching series on Titus 2 earlier this year. Then, at the Revive ’17 conference in September, we focused on women investing in and discipling other women. 

All along the way, this message has been resonating with women who are saying, “I’d like to do this.”

And now we’re excited about the release of a new small group kit.

We recorded all the talks and the drama sketches that were presented at Revive ’17. You can get all of them on a DVD along with a small group study guide and copies of the Adorned book and go through this study with a group.

I’m praying that thousands of groups will be formed in the months ahead and that relationships that are facilitated between older and younger women will have a huge effect on the next generation.

Now, Revive Our Hearts is only able to encourage women to disciple and train other women as listeners like you engage with your prayers and your financial support. In fact, each of our outreaches—this daily program, biblical resources, our international outreaches, conferences, small group materials, etc.—God brings all those ministries about through your gifts to Revive Our Hearts.  

I’m so encouraged to let you know that some friends of the ministry have seen the way that God is using these outreaches to set women free. So they’ve set up a matching challenge of $800,000 here in December. That means they’ve offered to double your donation and the donation of every listener, between now and the end of the year, up to a total amount of $800,000! What a sweet provision that is from the Lord and from these friends.

So to keep Revive Our Hearts thriving now and throughout the year ahead, it’s crucial for us to meet this match.

Today is a great opportunity to double any gift that you give to Revive Our Hearts. Would you ask the Lord what He would want you to give? Then call to let us know what that gift is and double your investment in women’s lives.

The number to call is 1–800–569–5959. You can also go to ReviveOurHearts.com. Just click the donate button for a quick and convenient way to give.

Thanks so much for your prayers during this time and for helping us connect women to each other to share the truth that sets us free.

Leslie: Tomorrow, Nancy will help prepare your heart for the Christmas season by providing fresh insight into a familiar passage on the birth of Jesus. Join us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is spreading the truth that sets us free. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.