Growing up there was nothing sweeter than standing on a chair beside my granny while she prepared an apple pie. Granny would roll out the crust, place it perfectly inside the pie plate, and then stack it full of fresh sliced apples. Finally, she would crisscross strips of dough on the top, brush them with egg and add a sprinkle of sugar.
Granny taught me many lessons. From making apple pies to canning vegetables; she made sure I was well-equipped for the kitchen before I became too tall to stand on her chair. When I started cooking on my own, I would often call Granny for advice. She was always willing to help and her insight added that extra special touch to my recipes.
In the book of Titus, Paul is giving instructions to various groups of believers on how to live so that their lives will correspond with scripture. He speaks first to the elders and older men, then he transitions to the older and younger women.
“Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” – Titus 2:3-5(emphasis mine)
God intended for younger and older women to share life together. His plan included older women teaching younger women how to invest in their families and His kingdom.
Recently, I saw this command come to life when I took part in an inaugural women’s camp filled with 186 women, ages 18 to 95. The camp was the result of four courageous college girls with a vision for God’s girls coming together to worship, learn and fellowship with one another under one roof.
As I spent time at camp I was reminded of a beautiful story in God’s Word about a younger and older woman who went on a cross-country journey together.
We find their story in the book of Ruth.
When the story opens, we’re introduced to Naomi, the older woman, standing with her two daughter-in-laws in a foreign land called Moab. She has lost her husband and two sons. Destitute and stricken with grief, she decides to return to her homeland in Bethlehem. She takes her daughter-in-laws with her. Not long into the journey she looks at both girls and encourages them to return to their own homeland. Certainly, Naomi loved the girls and thought returning to their own land instead of hers would afford them more happiness and better provisions.
One of the daughters, Orpah, made the decision to return home. Ruth, however, chose to stay with Naomi. Her decision was life-changing. By choosing to follow Naomi, Ruth opened herself up to being trained by her mother-in-law, which led to her marrying Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer. Ultimately, by the end of Ruth’s story she becomes part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.
One of the blessings I received from camp was the time I had to spend with women who have gone before me as a wife, momma and teacher. These women bear incredible value to me. In many ways, they’ve walked in my shoes. They’ve experienced heartache, tragedy and real life struggles; yet God’s grace shines beautifully through their lives. As I sat with each one, we shared our life stories and I gleaned valuable wisdom and encouragement. No doubt, God ordained conversations with these women that I will carry with me for the rest of my days.
As the camp came to an end, God began speaking to me about intentionally investing in someone younger than me. I confess, I’ve let the ball down in this area, but the reality is there are women all around us who are hungry for friendships. Women, like you and I, in need of encouragement and advice. Women of all ages who often need nothing more than a listening ear. And so, I ask you as God did me:
Friends, our choice to invest not only matters, but it’s also a step of obedience towards living out God’s plan for older and younger women.
Next week, we will look at five ways to invest in someone. If you want a reminder about next week’s post, I’d love for you to join our community at the top left side of this page. All you need to do is enter your email address and you’ll be on your way to receiving future Raising An Arrow posts in your inbox. (Mobile readers will need to scroll down the screen.) Have a blessed week and I’ll see you soon!