Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Value of Older Women Teaching Younger Women

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Leslie Basham: Who teaches a woman how to become a wife and mom? A woman named Marlene has pondered this question. She experienced loss early in life.

Marlene: I lost my mother at a very young age.

Leslie: She didn’t have a mom to show her how to love her husband and children. She felt that loss as a young wife and mom and then she met a very important person.

Marlene: There’s a young lady sitting here, Gwen, and we were neighbors. There were other women who spoke into my life as I was becoming a mother and a wife and going through a very difficult marriage. She modeled that for me and still does today. Her season of life parallels ahead of my season, and she models life. Because she models life for me, she can speak into my life because I know what she’s talking about.

There would be days that I would be so depressed, and the kids would be running around the house. She was going through a challenging time herself, and she would take her walks. Then she’d pop in my screen door, “Honey?” And she’d walk in my house.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Friday, July 13, 2018.

Yesterday, Nancy looked at the value of Titus 2 relationships where older women teach the younger women. If you missed that broadcast, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today, some of the women who listened to that teaching are telling their stories. Here’s Marlene telling us more about her mentor, Gwen.

Marlene: And she’d walk in my house, and she would just be there. Nothing fancy. Nothing. We would pray, sometimes we would talk, sometimes we would laugh.

I don’t know if you knew, but God would just send you at the right time. When I would just give up, here was that “Honey?” at the screen door. I’d think, “Why did I leave my screen door open?” (Laughter)

I say that when you say, “First, the modeling, and then the training,” because when we would do Bible studies, and she would speak, I knew where her heart was. When she had to admonish me, and when she had to discipline, I could listen because not only did she teach it, she walked it, and life wasn’t easy for her either.

That is such a key when you mentor people—you have to walk the walk before you can teach it.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Amen. Who’s Gwen? Are you Gwen? We’ve got to get Gwen up here. Don’t go away, Marlene. Now, Gwen, one thing we’ve learned about mentoring is a lot of it can take place on power walks. (Laughter) And you’ve got to be willing to take some risks.

What in the world possessed you or motivated you to be so aggressive, walking into this woman’s screen door, into her life? What were you thinking?

Gwen: Well the truth of the matter is, we were going to the same church at that point in time. She lived right down the street from me, and—my mom tells me this all the time, “That nothing that God does is coincidental.” My pastor reminds me of that all the time because from time to time I’ll say, “Man, I can’t believe this is a fluke.” He’ll look at me and say, “There are no flukes.”

So my going at the right time, that was clearly God’s intervention, God leading me there to her house at a point in time when she needed it the most. The interesting thing is that over the years, and there is about a good fifteen years difference in our age, and so what she was going through, I’d already been there, done that, and I was willing to share that and to encourage her that it does get better over time with prayer.

Liz told me earlier, she said, “Get up there! Get up there! Tell her about all those girls in our church.” We did Titus 2 last summer. We have a women’s Sunday school class, and we did it as our summer thing.

All of these young women came. It was like they were coming out of the woodwork. They came to the class, and we began to study, and we began to share. I think that they, up until that point . . . Now, these are younger women. These are the age of that one over there. (Laughter) It was like they didn’t really think we had anything for them, but after we went through that class, they joined the women’s Sunday school class. They graduated from the—what do they call them? The Youth. They were still in Youth, and they were thirty-some years old. (Laughter)

They finally decided that they were ready because they discovered, “Well, hmmm, this is not so bad! They’re not as stupid as we thought they were! (Laughter) Well, hmmm, maybe they do have a couple of pearls of wisdom that we could benefit from.”

So that was very good, and I’ve become very close with some of those younger women. I don’t have any daughter of my own. I have a couple of daughters-in-law. So yes, it’s been a great experience to be able to share.

Nancy: Can you think of any older women who invested in your life who was that Titus 2 woman to you?

Gwen: Yes. My mom and Liz’s mom-in-law. Liz’s mother-in-law was the older woman who was there when I first joined our church. She just kind of took me under her wing, but she died several years ago.

Nancy: So, “taking you under her wing”—what did that look like?

Gwen: What did that look like? She mentored me. She got me involved, and she shared pearls of wisdom with me about life and things of that nature.

Nancy: Did she ever come knocking at your door? (Laughter)

Gwen: No, she didn’t. I don’t know a lot of people that do that actually. No, she didn’t, but she was very supportive. I was an adult at that point in time, and I’d been a Christian since I was ten. But it wasn’t until I got to Bollingbrook that I started growing, and so she was instrumental in that initial growth. And, of course, my mom’s been there all along, and she’ll be ninety-four in August. That’s been a real blessing.

Nancy: So she’s got some spiritual grandchildren, great-grandchildren . . .

Gwen: Oh, she has a whole community. (Laughter) They call her Mother Hughes, and everybody in the entire community knows her. Multiple generations know her. So that’s been a great role model for me.

Nancy: Amen. Anything you want to add?

Marlene: I think once much has been given, much is required, and I think that when people have spoken into your life, you feel a burden to make sure that you speak into others’ lives.

Nancy: It’s a stewardship, isn’t it, that we’ve been given, and a responsibility to share that with others.

Beth: My husband and I have been in full-time ministry for ten years now, well, almost eleven. The last nine months I have been the wife of a senior pastor.

My mom was also my matron of honor in my wedding. I had three older brothers, so it was a natural that this woman would stand next to me.

My husband and I were dating, and he told me that he felt like God was calling him to be a pastor—actually, we hadn’t started dating yet. I went back to my dorm room, and she said, “Were you out with that Chris guy again?”

I said, “Yes.”

And she said, “Well, you’re not going to start dating him, are you?”

I said, “No. You wouldn’t believe what he told me tonight. He wants to be a pastor, and can you imagine me as a pastor’s wife?”

And she’s like, “No!” (Laughter)

I was like, “Me, neither! I’m not going to start dating this guy.” And as God would have it, we’re totally in love—thirteen years into the marriage with four children—but how God had prepared me to be a pastor’s wife, I didn’t know.

That preparation came from a Titus 2 relationship that was very natural between a mother and a daughter. The way that happened was that we had moved to a church soon after I was saved, around ten years old. The church was just beginning. There were about sixty people. And until the Lord called my husband out of ministry at that church after ten years, nine months ago I had been at that church for twenty-five years.

That church went through three pastors, and my parents were always a part of the solution. You know that quote, “Don’t be a part of the problem; be a part of the solution.” There was never a question. Just like divorce was never a question as they’re going to be celebrating their fiftieth next year. Leaving a church was never even talked about.

So my parents prepared me. My mom prepared me to go through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I didn’t realize how important that was to prepare me to be a pastor’s wife full-time for life. Church was a given, and the body was important. So that was one of the Titus 2 overflows.

The other one was, my husband is trying to tell me to lock my doors, and I still leave my keys in my car. I lived in a house with a revolving door. We never knew who was going to show up or be in the extra bed, and I’ve never known any different. I didn’t realize that was strange.

So when my husband and I started in full-time ministry in college ministry, we had college students living with us from the time we were married until—through all of our children and newborns. They knew the day I was going to the hospital and coming home, and they were with me. I just never knew any different.

What precious preparation that was. Now, by God’s grace, hospitality is not hard work. It’s just life, and I just got that from Mom. The door is just always to be open.

God is just so gracious to do that work in me and have that modeled before me. He has called me, though I feel so inadequate, to be a senior pastor’s wife. To have had that home and that mentality and just be able to continue on.

I love to be able to pour into younger women, but I also have the same experience as you, I often feel like they are discipling me so much more than I have anything to offer them. It’s a privilege to be here today with two of my Titus 2 women. It’s just a blessing.

Nancy: Two of your younger Titus 2 women?

Beth: No, my older—my mother and her dear friend next to her, Cindy. Cindy’s right in the middle of mom and me. It’s one of those unique relationships where the three of us are really good friends. There’s just a what? A fifteen year gap between us down the road. We are all kind of mutually "iron sharpening iron" with each other. I’m so thankful to be with these women.

Nancy: Okay. Could I get mother and friend to come? Is it you two?

Judy: I’m the mother.

Nancy: Tell us what it means to you today to see your daughter now as a wife and mother and living out the things—being hospitable and a pastor’s wife. Tell us, what does that mean to you?

Judy: It’s just gift upon gift. I don’t deserve it, but it’s so precious. It’s just so precious.

Nancy: And you’ve been a part of the process. Tell me your name, you’ve lost your name tag.

Cindy: Cindy.

Nancy: Cindy, how have you played into Beth’s life? Just tell us a little bit about your role and investing in her, what that’s looked like, and what it’s meant to you.

Cindy: What it’s meant to me: There’s a whole room full of dear friends here with us, but these are two of my dearest friends. Judy has filled a void and been my spiritual mom. The first time I roomed with her, I didn’t know her, and we had to share a bed. I’m at a woman’s retreat thing, and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. I’ll not sleep all night. I don’t know her.” We’ve just been dear friends ever since.

She’s been an encouragement to me, and then to have the privilege to have her daughter be a very dear friend also. We have wept together over all kinds of things—children to moving. They’ve just been "iron sharpening iron" to me. They’ve poured into my life. I don’t know that I’ve really . . .

Judy: Oh yes, you have poured into us.

Cindy: It’s such a blessing to be around Chris and Beth and see God’s hand in their work. I was just able to share with Beth this morning that her husband Chris poured into our lives and had to give a time of, really, rebuke to me.

My husband and I were really struggling with a child who wasn’t walking with the Lord. We went over to their home, and I was just pouring out my heart. Chris, in his gentle, kind manner said, “You desire their salvation, and it’s a very good thing, but you’ve made their salvation an idol.” I told Beth I was so taken back. I didn’t agree with him right at that second, but I did, because my spirit immediately agreed with him.

So yes, that’s how they’ve poured into my life—just challenging me to examine what I love, and if I love my children more than I love my Christ and my Savior.

Nancy: A couple observations here about Titus 2 ministry: First of all, it comes out of relationship. It didn’t sound like there’d been formal, sit-down sessions here. It’s life to life, and it’s not just one person life to life, it’s multiple relationships that God brings together. It’s a ministry of God’s grace through us to someone else. It’s not giving anyone what we haven’t received; it’s only giving what we’ve received from God by His grace.

And then the mutual benefit. I was saying earlier that not only do younger women need older women in their lives, but we older women need younger women in our lives. So we need each other. That’s one of the principles here in Titus 2. We’re not isolated, and we can’t just make it with friends of our own peer group. It's great to have people of the same season of life, but we need people who are in different seasons of life to help encourage each other as pilgrims in the journey.

So here are three women who are doing that, and thank you for sharing. Thank you very much.

Sandy: I had to take a dental hygiene exam. I had graduated from college thirty-two years ago, and the State of Indiana made me retake my clinical exam. I had to go back to the University of Michigan. Cari had to retake her exam also, and we happened to have a mutual friend—my daughter and her sister are friends.

I knew she had just graduated from school, and I said, “Hey, can I call your sister and talk to her?” She challenged me to send in my money to take the exam with her. So we spent the summer together preparing for this—driving back and forth to Michigan, finding patients. She came from a Christian home. She lived across the street from me—her parents did—for the last ten years, but I didn’t know her or really much about her at all. We just had a lot of fun last summer.

It was coming to the end. I had taken my boards. I had come home from vacation, and I had to return some things she had lent me. I had an extra copy of Seeking Him in my car, and I said, “Cari, I just did Seeking Him over the summer. I missed a lot of sessions because I was away in Michigan doing my boards. I’m going to do it this Fall again. I’m going to be studying for my written part, and I won’t have time to do Bible study. Do you want to do it with me?”

She goes, “Sure.”

I go, “Well, I just happened to have one in my car. Can I put it in your car?” And so we did. We’ve been getting together once a week, a lot more times on the phone and who knows what, but she has so blessed my life.

I have an empty nest. My two kids are away. My son is done with college; my daughter is in college, and she’s away all year. I had a real loneliness, and she has really . . . We just have a really great relationship. We talk a lot; we share. She calls me out on my sin when I am sinning and worrying about my children and when I’m acting too much like a mom for my adult children and with her. (Laughter) I made a list of all the things . . . She challenges me to walk the walk in a way . . . I would have never thought in a million years that God could use this girl.

Nancy: And Cari, now that you’re up here, how has God used this relationship in your life?

Cari: Like Sandy was saying, I did grow up in a Christian home, but there weren’t really many examples day to day lived out in our home. Unfortunately, many times that happens. So I really never totally understood what it meant to walk the walk. I didn’t really have boundaries. There’s just a lot of things that I knew but I didn’t put them into action.

It’s funny now because Sandy and I will talk, and I’ll be convicted of my sin. I’ll be talking to Sandy about it, and if she would have pointed it out to me when we first met or early in our relationship, I would have thought she was crazy.

Sandy: She told me so many times. (Laughter)

Cari: Or, “People don’t live like that,” or “That’s not possible.” What else did I say? Mainly just how to walk the walk and what it means to have a day-to-day relationship with Christ without breaks.

Nancy: Could you envision yourself ever taking a younger woman under your wing and doing the same kind of thing?

Cari: Yes. I would hope I could as well as Sandy has. It’s weird because whenever we’re in bigger groups or among Christian women, it’s brought up as a mentor relationship, but I consider Sandy my best friend, so I’m like, “She’s not my mentor.”

Sandy: It’s a very special relationship. She’s allowed me to be a better mom because of what she’s poured into my life, and I can only say I have received way more. For Mother’s Day she made this for me. It’s one of our verses. We have a lot of verses that are “our verses,” but this is Hebrews 10:23 and 24. She wrote my name in the verse, and she gave it to me for Mother’s Day, and it’s one of my cherished possessions.

Nancy: Amen. Thank you both for sharing. What a blessing.

Leslie: "The older women are to teach the younger women." Most Revive Our Hearts’ listeners are familiar with that command from the book of Titus.

We just heard examples of how to live those words out. Several listeners have been telling Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth what mentoring looks like for them. Nancy has often said that Revive Our Hearts is not designed to replace your local church, and this program isn’t designed to replace mentors either.

Nancy: So true, Leslie. I believe it’s critical for women to be engaging in life-to-life relationships. So as we look at Titus 2 during this series on the True Woman Manifesto, I hope you’ll take another step in understanding this passage so you can take action on what you’re hearing.

You can learn more by getting a copy of a book that I've written called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. In this book we take an in-depth look at the instructions Paul gives to women in Titus 2. And one way you can take action on what you’re hearing is to go through the Adorned book with another woman or a small group of women.

And I love seeing those groups with older and younger women in them. There's a group like that meeting in my church for the past several months. I'm going to have the privilege in a week or so of meeting with them as they come to the end of this study.

We’d like to send you a copy of Adorned as our thanks when you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount. Revive Our Hearts can’t continue discipling women in God’s Word without support from listeners. And in the summer months, we typically see a significant drop in donations, so we’re asking the Lord to provide listeners who will step up to fill this need.

Be sure and ask for the Adorned book when you support this ministry with a donation of any size. Call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for Adorned. You can also donate at ReviveOurHearts.com. While you’re there, you can also find additional resources for taking a small group through Adorned. 

Thank you for your prayers and your financial support of this ministry. It means more than you could possibly know.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy.

Witnessing—it’s a word that brings up a lot of fear and guilt in people. Nancy helps you take a fresh look at sharing your faith tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth invites you to live out the beauty of the gospel It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.