I have no idea who this is speaking to of course, but maybe you do.  Truthfully, I acknowledged some time ago that I am now the older woman, at least to some women!  Today’s guest blogger is Pam Gibbs and I don’t know about you, but this speaks to me and my availability and investment in the next generation. Perhaps it will speak to you as well, and to the other women in your church.

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Dear {older} women:

I speak for myself but my plea echoes the thoughts of others my {age}:

We need you.

My mom passed away eight years ago this week, and her absence has left a void that can never be filled. But her absence can be lessened by other women being willing to pour into my life. And I think my female contemporaries would say the same thing, even if they still have a relationship (close or not) with their own moms.

Why do we need you? Because we are unsure as moms ourselves. Just like you, we don’t have a manual for how to raise our children. You have what we lack—experience. Wisdom gained from the added years.

We need you because being a godly woman in an ungodly world is even harder than ever, and we’re not sure what that looks like. Culture is constantly in our face, telling us what we’re supposed look like, what corporate ladder we’re supposed to be climbing, what accolades to achieve, what fame to seek (even if it’s just on Facebook or Pinterest), what trendy pursuit to chase. And nobody else is speaking loud enough for us to hear anything else.

Please, speak up. Take us out for coffee. Let us ask you questions. Listen to our hearts, because they are burdened and confused and in need of your shaping, even though we’re no longer children. We are still eager to learn. It just takes a while for our walls to come down because we’ve spent a lot of time constructing them so that others won’t see the mess of our lives.

Please don’t think that we have it all together. We don’t. Please don’t assume that our overbooked schedules and frenzied appearance means we are confident, under control, or at peace. Often, our frenetic lifestyle just mirrors the unsettled state of our souls.

Please don’t check out on us. Don’t think you don’t have anything to offer, because you do. We need your encouragement. Your wisdom. Your advice. Your example. Your guidance. Your humor. Your perspective.

We are waiting for you to make the first move, because asking you upfront for help seems intrusive. Unspiritual. Awkward. Demanding. But if you’d just ask us out to lunch and open the door, we’d rush in and drink deeply from the well of intergenerational friendship —for we are parched.

Where are you, [older] women? We need you.

 

Angie, Carter and RyanPam Gibbs serves on staff at Bellevue Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. She is also a freelance speaker, author, and editor, but her favorite title is “mom” (on most days!). You can check out her website at www.pamgibbs.org.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Kristi Longino says:

    Pam,
    Thank you for the reminder. When I was younger I remember so many of the older women in my church were tuning out. The standard line was, I’ve done my time. Now it is someone else’s turn. I think that attitude stinks! I do recognize that our times have changed. I know many women must sit where I sit. I am homeschooling the last of my crew -my 13 yr. old daughter- and caring for elderly parents. At 57 I am the older woman in our small church. I do believe it is important to invest in the younger women and their families. That is my heart’s desire. Yet some weeks I feel it is all I can do to take care of what is already on my plate. So here are a couple of things I have begun doing.
    Since I don’t homeschool in the summer I led a ladies study at my home one morning a week. My 13 yr. old and her 14yr. old friend offered free child care to the younger moms. My 22 yr. old daughter helped me prepare lunch for the ladies and all were invited to stay and fellowship. Children were fed and played with and safe. What a blessing it was for all of us. Especially me and my girls. The relationships that helped build are invaluable.
    A young mom having a difficult time accomplishing Spanish asked recently if Grace and I would want to do a Spanish class with her and the children. After prayerful consideration I decided that we could set aside that time to be with them one afternoon a week.
    I am finding that God gives you the time you need when your priorities line up with His. Have I gotten that quilt done that is all cut out and blocks made? Not yet. But there is always tomorrow…or next week…or even next year. It’s not going anywhere. Have a good day. Kristi

    • Chris Adams says:

      Kristi, thank you SO much for sharing how God is showing you pockets of opportunities to live out Titus 2:3-5. I agree, God shows us how to creatively obey when time pressures overwhelm us. No doubt those women you have invested in were blessed more than you will ever know!

    • Kristi, We have experienced the same thing in our church. As children grew-up and moved out of the youth group parents suddently felt they had “done their time”. While almost 50 I don’t consider myself to be in the “older” women’s group yet. But my children are almost grown and out of the house and I chose to live by example by still being involved in the children’s ministry and serving as group leader for our children to go to summer camp. I’m slowly starting to see women in our church who are older than me reengage in areas they initially felt “to old” to serve in. I was recently asked what I was going to do with all my time when our youngest graduated high school. First, the challenge will be getting him through college and successfully supporting himself. And now I see that with some of my new-found free time we need to have some ladies bible studies outside of regular church activities. So, thank you for that idea.

      • Chris Adams says:

        Sandra, I remember when someone called me the older woman, maybe I was 50 or early 50s not sure, but I was indignant! Several years after that, and surely by the time I was 60 I finally realized yes I am the older woman, but as i mentioned in another reply on this post, we are ALL older women to someone, and no matter how old we are, we are all younger than someone we need to learn from. It’s a lifestyle of always being younger and older and needing women in our lives we pour into and learn from. That is Titus 2 in action all our lives.

  2. I am 60+. I have not arrived at this “Godly Woman Thing” by any means. But I am, for sure and for certain, not who I used to be. And God used many fine, God-seeking older women to help me grow in Him. I keep telling my friends, we are now “that” generation.

    Mentoring programs are a great way to help connect these ladies. Our women’s ministry also will occasionally use communication cards and give women an opportunity to ask for an accountability partner or a friend to help them grow.

    Satan has done a great job in telling the lie that neither generation wants to be involved with the other. I would like to say working with the 20/30 somethings in our church has been a challenge. It makes me change my thinking and I have to learn new ways to communicate. And I have a whole new generation that I love and they love me back! As they say, It Rocks!!!!!

    • Chris Adams says:

      Thanks for sharing Pam. Satan does keep us in the dark about what God wants to do through our generations…all of them!

  3. My church, The Village Chapel, has a great ministry that allows older and younger women to connect over a cup of coffee. It is set up like a dating service in which the younger woman can go to our website and read a brief profile of the older woman and then contact someone with whom she feels she will connect–just for coffee. It is great!

  4. I’m almost 44 (gulp) and I’m here. I’m in Bible study on our military base, I’m encouraging young moms whenever I can. I’m here. I’m invested. Let me know if I can help.

  5. I think I fall in this category. In youngish but my kids are grown. I want to be here for the ones behind me. I blog in part to pave the way. It is lonely on this end, attending conferences when you are clearly the oldest in attendance. (and I’m only 41.) yes, where are the older women? Not just for them, but also for me.

    • Chris Adams says:

      The cool thing is we are always older and always younger than someone who we can pour into or learn from. Watch for an older woman that you believe you can learn from and ask her to coffee! Bet she will go, then ask her about her life. She will be honored you want to learn from her.

  6. Wow. What great comments from everyone! I love the ideas presented for connecting with other generations. One thing that I’m realizing in my own life is that it’s easy to stay in isolation. Building community, especially across generations, requires intentionality and commitment, even during those times when you don’t feel like it. Like earlier comments, I think Satan wants nothing more than to keep us separated. I was talking with a friend today and she made a comment that I think encapsulates the importance of this topic: Wounds occur in isolation. Healing takes places in community.

  7. This speaks to me! Encourages me! As a new leader of a small ladies group at my church. My hearts desire is to reach out to younger women in this way. Thank You

  8. I think Pam did a great job this one! I know at our church we struggle with Sunday School teachers and VBS workers because it seems that middle generation of 45-55 wants to be served instead of serving. On behalf of the 30 something age group, I want to say we need “older” women to be there and plug in. One easy way to fill the age gap is to have “older” women adopt a younger mom and her family and commit to pray for them. I know it is such an encouragement to me when an older woman I respect at church asks how my family is doing, offers a word of encouragement and then says, “I’ll be praying for you”. Satan wants this disconnect to stick around but the Lord wants unity and love among us all. Thanks for a great post and the encouragement! This challenge is for women of all ages and stages!

    • Chris Adams says:

      Kristy, what a great and easy idea to get women connected, just ask those older women to pray over a younger! That could be an open door for deeper relationships and mentoring to occur! Staring with a do-able action will encourage women they do need to connect and both older and younger are blessed in the long run!

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