Saturday, November 2, 2013

Younger older woman?

After five years in a rather out-of-the-way location, in a church that was overwhelming made up of middle-aged and elderly women, I find myself in a new location with a very different community. Also, my children are getting older. Now I'm surrounded by women my age and younger, and some of them even seem to be looking up at me as a "veteran missionary." Odd. Really, very strange.

But then, I am 33 years old, and we've been in this part of the world for more than 12 years now! That's not long, compared to some real veterans, but, yes, we didn't arrive yesterday. It really was odd when I was very young, very new on the field, and found myself kind of mentoring much older women, just because I was the only one who had grown up in a Christian family. However, I should be getting used to it now and stepping into that role more.

But how? I'm not quite out of the demanding early years of mothering yet, but I'm already fully immersed in homeschooling. This year it feels like I dive in on Monday morning and don't come up for air until Friday afternoon. Recently, I desperately wanted to reach out to someone because I thought she could probably use some practical help, but by the time I got around to asking, her situation was better and she didn't need anything.

The actual verse that I've been thinking about says we should be admonishing
"the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands" (Titus 2:4-5).
Even when I still have so much to learn myself, I pray that I can help others around me with some of those things. I do know that when we had to leave Russia, what people told us over and over was that they had learned from watching our family. And maybe a lot of what is there in Titus 2 really is caught, not taught? So, I need to be making time to spend with these other women. Then we can learn from each other.

And, I'm encouraged to see that it's working out! I may be busy at home all week, but so far, in our new location our weekends are usually filled with hospitality and fellowship. Also, God has me leading someone through a Bible study distance, by phone; that's an opportunity that I certainly didn't go looking for. It's not only about chronological age: who are the older women and who are the younger. We all need to be open to sharing and learning to and from the sisters God has put around us. Exciting, eh?

Are you more in an "older woman" time or "younger woman" role now? How is God providing ways for you to mentor others?


  1. Oh Phyllis, this topic is very dear to my heart. I love mentoring relationships. I have a mentor back in Texas that I read by phone, and God has put lots of younger women in my life (I'm 49).

    But I CAN SO RELATE to what you say about diving into home school on Monday and coming up for air on Friday! I think baby steps, and small things can be important. Even phone calls when we can't get together...

  2. i totally agree with betsy. i LOVE mentoring relationships... from both sides - as mentor-er and mentor-ee! :-) of course, with 6 daughters, some of them beginning to reach young adulthood, i'm mentoring... but i also love those opportunities to mentor women outside of my family. i was super involved with that in the church back in niger... trying to find my way with the opportunities i have for that role here. and i'm always looking for older women from whom i can learn... so much i don't know, especially as i'm starting to venture into a new phase of life.

    as far as your question? can i answer both?