A note from Chris: I must admit … I struggled for a while with admitting I was an older woman. As a Boomer, I do not ever want to be a senior! But I definitely want to invest in the younger generation and leave a legacy that leads women to Christ. Today’s post is by Dawn Stephens, associate minister of local disciple making and women’s small groups at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala. I love her take on being older!
By Dawn Stephens
As I reached a milestone birthday on Feb. 3, 2014 (1964 was a very good year!), I have felt compelled to speak to my generation of Christian women.
As a women’s ministry leader since 1992, I have not experienced the overwhelming desire of young women (ages 22-40) to be discipled and mentored by an older woman, as I have the past two to three years. If we are going to effectively mentor and disciple this generation of women, we must embrace our age, and turn our life experiences into fuel for a mentoring lifestyle. We must also model this as a women’s leader.
This mentoring lifestyle is easily infused into the next generation of wives, mothers, business owners, government influencers and matriarchs of the faith. But I am afraid our culture, with all of its trappings, has enabled our generation to “stay young” which says it’s bad to age, and it should be avoided at all costs.
Instead, let’s focus on what God’s Word says about our age: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31). If we color our “crown of glory” and don’t embrace our age as something to be valued; we miss out on the blessing of investing, teaching and multiplying ourselves into younger women.
Are we trying to stay too young and therefore never step into our role as the “older woman” in Scripture? I’m not saying don’t cover those roots or care for your skin. I certainly do! But I am saying to see the external evidence of age as an affirming expression of God given wisdom and experience.
Sisters in Christ: Talk with God about what you believe about your age and ask Him to show you if you are running from it or how you can embrace it for your good and His glory. Also, encourage and exhort your peers to do the same — our young women need us!
I believe God is giving us an open window to speak into their lives and influence their perspectives, but not if we don’t see ourselves in the role of mentor and friend — and if we don’t challenge the women in our churches to do the same!
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5).
How are you mentoring women in your sphere of influence?
Dawn Stephens has been involved in women’s ministry in both volunteer and staff positions for many years. She is the associate minister of local disciple making and women’s small groups at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala. Her desire is to train, equip and encourage women to use their God given gifts and abilities to show Christ’s love and grace to our world. She graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Women’s Ministry certificate program, has served on the Alabama Baptist State Women’s Ministry leadership team, and serves as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier.