The older generation is not doing their job! I need encouragement, where are all the Titus Two women? I wish I could find someone to mentor me!
These are all statements that I am hearing and reading, and they are coming from young women. They don't feel like the older women are doing their job. I understand where these women are coming from. I just celebrated my 51st birthday, have two grown children, and I still long for women who are older to live life with me! But I also remember being a young mom and how I longed for someone come along side me to encourage and instruct me.
As I reflect back over the years, I can now see the unique ways in which God provided some key women who have lived life with me over the years. Now that I am in the season of life I am in, I have been doing some evaluating and study as to what this is supposed to look like. It's easy to think we know what the Titus Two woman is supposed to be doing, but I wonder if it is a bit different than we are thinking.
Mentoring is first seen in ancient Greece in Homer’s Odyssey. We see that Odysseus left his infant son, Telemachos, in the care of a friend named Mentor. The relationship between Telemachos and Mentor came to define mentoring as a process where an older person helps to counsel and guide a younger person. Over the years it has evolved into more than just a relationship, often becoming a program where adults train and become mentors for young people in need of guidance.
We also see a type of "mentoring" mentioned in Titus 2: 3-5. Paul calls the older women of the church, who were examples of loving their husbands, their children, being reverent, godly, modest and wise, and appointed them the job of teaching the younger woman. Paul's message was always that he preached and taught what he was already living. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." In Titus the older women were encouraged to develop a ministry of teaching younger women, beginning with the lives that they lived.
In this passage, the older woman was technically one who had raised her children, but there is no chronological age given. It suggests that you should start with your own children, and if your children are grown, you should begin to look for opportunities to encourage younger women and share with them from your years of walking with God, first by example, then with your words.
In verse 5, the older woman is told to admonish, which means to teach, train, and encourage. In context it is implied that this was a process of teaching, encouraging, training, and holding the younger women to a standard that was unfamiliar to them and yet important for the success of their marriages and families. The phrase in Titus 2:4 that says that they admonish is the Greek word "sophronizo", meaning to train someone in self-control, restore to senses, admonish and exhort earnestly.
It is important that we see that the first priority was that the older woman be one whose godly example is what speaks first, and that she be a woman of character whose life challenges others to examine their own lives. The natural outcome of this will be that others are drawn to her and will want her to speak in to their lives.
Often younger women proclaim boldly that the older women aren't doing their job. Maybe we need to rethink what the older woman's job really is. Look around you. Observe the older women you know or are acquainted with. Do you see a life and family relationships that you would like to emulate? If she is a godly example, then she has already begun doing her job. Would you like to learn more about how to love your husbands, children, what it means to be reverent, godly, modest and wise?
Where are all the Titus Two women? Look around you...
- Ask God to open your eyes to the lives of the older women who are already in your life.
- Invite older women for coffee. Show them that you value them. Ask them about their kids or what they are reading for their quiet time. Anything to get them to share and to let them know that you are interested. They may be shocked to know you even want their input! Often younger women are so busy and seem so self-confident, that it can appear as though they don't really need the older generation.
- Read books written by older, godly women. God has used several older women/authors to mentor me. I have collected and read every book written by Elisabeth Elliot! I consider her to be one of my mentors even though we have never met. My suggestion is that you read as many books as you can that are written by women who are older and who have faithfully lived their callings. I know that younger women are learning and have much to share, but often what we share when we are younger can be information that is still “theory” in our lives. A woman who has lived her callings can share information that she has lived out for years, and the years often tend to sift out the information that isn’t really that vital.
- Do some heart evaluation. Ask yourself the question: Do I really want to be admonished, taught and encouraged in the way Titus Two is describing?
The desire to have someone invest in you as a younger woman is a good one, and shows a great deal of humility and maturity. Keep praying for God to provide that for you, and then look for the different ways that God is meeting that need. You might be surprised what you find.