Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women

CHRISTINA FOX|EDITOR Over the years, I’ve participated in many Bible studies. Some were specifically for women in my age and stage of life, such as college and career, young marrieds, or those in the trenches of motherhood. Other studies included a mixture of women from varying ages. Yet even in those studies, I found myself gravitating toward my peers—women who were pursuing their careers or busy at home with young children or running everywhere with their pre-teens. I wanted to connect with women who knew what I was going through, who shared in a mutual understanding of the challenges of juggling work and home life or who were also wrangling little ones or navigating the challenges of the teen years.   Recent years have found me in a Bible study where the majority of women are not in my age or stage of life; rather, they are older than I. These women are at or near retirement. Their daily concerns are not centered on the logistics of family life with children. Their conversations don’t focus on the daily challenges of work at the office. In fact, many have big concerns about real and frightening health issues. Or heart-breaking relational issues with their adult children and grandchildren. But you know what? Despite the difference in age, experience, and concerns of daily life, we have one key thing in common: our love for Christ. We are sisters in the Lord and these older, wiser sisters have taught me much. As it turns out, in the Kingdom of God, age is not a barrier to understanding. Just because someone is in a different stage of life than I, it doesn’t mean they can’t relate to me; rather, age is a bridge that leads to valued treasure—for the wisdom gained after years of walking with the Lord is a wealth of untold measure, a wealth we can all benefit from. Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women God designed it that way: It may seem elementary—a truth many of us know—but it’s an important one to revisit. The Bible doesn’t say much about women’s ministry. Except in one place: Titus 2. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he instructs Titus in what a gospel centered church looks like. In the second chapter, he gives Titus specific instructions for various groups in the church, including women. That’s where Paul exhorts older women to disciple younger women (vv.3-5). These older women were to be spiritual mentors to the younger women in the church. They were to teach them what it means to love and submit to their husbands, how to glorify God in their mothering, and what it looks like to be a woman of God. These older women were to take what they learned from Titus’ preaching, apply it to their own lives, and then in turn help the younger women apply the gospel to their lives. Whether it is in one-on-one discipleship, a Titus 2 small group, a Bible study, or in an informal relationship, we all need to learn from older women. And what better way to learn than in the context of studying God’s word? As we dig into the Scriptures together, our older sisters in Christ can point us to truth. They can model for us how to live out the gospel in our daily lives....

Three Reasons to Study the Bible with Older Women2022-05-04T23:19:03+00:00

A Whole Lot of Mothering Going On

While this post is somewhat about motherhood, it’s more about mothering. And while I will be talking about my perspective as a mother, I hope there is something here that will encourage you— whether your mothering is in the biological realm, the spiritual realm, or both. To embrace our God-given design as lifegivers is a joyful expression of who we were created to be. I’m a mother of five and a grandmother of eight. I’m fortunate that my own mother was able to come stay with us when a new baby arrived. Having her there to help in all sorts of ways made those first crazy days survivable. As terrifying as it was to bring that new little person home from the hospital, it was nothing compared to watching Mom drive away and knowing I was now on my own. When my own daughter began having children, I couldn’t get that airplane ticket fast enough. Every passenger between Houston and Nashville knew that I was going to meet my newest grandbaby! From my experience of being both on the receiving and the giving end of this special kind of caretaking, I can’t help notice some similarities with our role as spiritual mothers as well. Eat, Eat! We all know the intensity of a newborn’s cry for food. Eating is serious business! But a new mama needs to eat as well. Remember that early fog? When you feel like you just ran a race and want nothing more than to sleep, unless that something more is food? Labor and delivery were only the beginning of this marathon! Having mom there to shop and cook and do the dishes and make all our favorite meals was more than just help: it was nourishment for our weary, hungry souls. The last thing on my mind when I was a gazillion-weeks pregnant was making things look pretty, yet here Mom was: putting the jam in a pretty dish, folding napkins, and making our time around the table a celebration. When my own house was full of little ones, my older children knew the best part of having a new baby was the meals from our church friends. Every night was like Christmas as these dear saints blessed us with dinner (usually with plenty of leftovers!). I will never forget the morning that Miss April brought over a platter of freshly fried chicken. I don’t remember why she was there at 10 AM, but I do remember that those drumsticks didn’t make it to dinnertime!  After spending a week with my daughter last month, I was reminded how much hungry kids can eat. What fun to bake and cook for a crowd again! If you are in a spiritual mothering relationship, you know that one of the best ways to care for your daughter is through the word of God. It is her food and she needs to eat. Sometimes we model that by showing her what a beautiful feast looks like: a specially prepared Bible study or devotion, a lesson from our own life that we can share. Sometimes we show up with that “emergency meal” and remind her that no Christian can survive on a starvation diet...

A Whole Lot of Mothering Going On2022-05-05T00:45:24+00:00

Three Gifts in Spiritual Mothering

I’ve never read the best seller, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, considered the “pregnancy bible” for expectant mothers, but over nineteen million people have! In her book, author Heidi Murkoff, helpfully addresses the questions and fears most first-time parents experience. It’s a sobering, exciting gift to be entrusted with a life through pregnancy, fostering, adoption, or being a spiritual mama to children born to others. We know that little ones need selfless care and love to grow and mature. God must intervene to grow a baby physically and to nurture a child spiritually in their soul. There is much wisdom to gain as we take these encouraging truths and apply them to relationships with fellow children of God. Sisters, through the Spirit we’re enabled to share spiritual life with others, and to have a faith-filled expectancy that God will bear fruit through us. An encouraging example of spiritual care and discipleship is the relationship between Paul and Timothy. Paul wanted Timothy to catch the vision to take what had been entrusted to him and to share it with others who could entrust it to others still. This is how the family of God grows: spiritual multiplication through discipleship. Let’s consider three gifts of being a spiritual mother, which is a way we can all participate in God’s family expansion. As a spiritual mother you can engage in relationships that share a Paul-Timothy bond. Paul wrote to Timothy with affectionate language, such as "my true child in the faith," and "my beloved child," even as they were from different families, cultures, and generations! Their spiritual bond was eternal because it was anchored in Christ himself, their eternal Lord. They both caught Jesus’ passion for the gospel to go out to all the nations through intentional disciple making. It makes beautiful sense that their relationship went beyond a great Christian friendship; Paul poured himself into Timothy with the hope and expectation that Timothy would do the same.   I delight in having women in my life with whom I share a Christ-centered, spiritual-family bond. There have been a few relationships with a type of Paul-Timothy ‘knitting’— a kindred-hearted ministry calling and mutual sharpening in the gospel. I’m grateful for the spiritual legacy passed down to me which was infused with a missional heartbeat to give my life away to others; now it’s my turn to entrust it to others. Spiritual mothering causes you to lean upon God’s grace and strength....

Three Gifts in Spiritual Mothering2022-05-05T00:46:56+00:00

Learning the Language of Faith

The church I attend recently began a small-group discipleship ministry for our women. As part of getting to know each other better, the leader of my group asked us to share a little-known fact about ourselves. I decided to tell the group about living in Argentina in the early-1970’s. The usual questions regarding life in a foreign country followed, accompanied by my well-practiced answers. Being so far away from family and friends at a time when communication was limited to snail mail was decidedly difficult, but the opportunity to experience a different culture and learn a second language was priceless.We spent two years abroad because my dad accepted a temporary transfer to work for the Argentine subsidiary of his U.S. employer. Thus, part of the pre-move preparations involved my parents’ 2-week, company-paid attendance at a local Berlitz total-immersion language school. It was a stressful, morning-to-night grind, no English allowed.Unlike my beleaguered parents, I began my language studies once we landed in Argentina. I was enrolled in an American school where I had classes in English in the morning and classes in Spanish in the afternoon. That, plus daily interaction with native speakers in our community, provided an excellent learning environment. Nonetheless, my parents hired a tutor to help me with the intricacies of sentence structure and verb tenses.Community ImmersionJust as I benefitted greatly from learning Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country, Christians thrive best when we’re part of God’s visible church. Scripture is clear that each of us has an important, God-ordained place in His body (1Corinthians 12:12-30) and that we should not neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:24-25). Furthermore, God’s family is composed of members of varying ages, abilities, and spiritual maturities, just like biological families. We are called to do life together in compassionate covenant communities, where we rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn and come alongside each other to teach, support, and encourage according to the gifts we’ve been given (Romans 12:3-21).

Learning the Language of Faith2022-05-07T23:35:20+00:00
Go to Top