I have been blessed by some amazing women through the past 12 years. Most have become good friends. And while I have learned so much from my immediate peers, there is something special about what I have learned from the generation that has gone before me. I have had the opportunity to serve with them, to pray with them, to learn from them. To watch them, have them pray for and over me, to have them help with my children, to bring us meals during difficult times. I’ve been blessed by their knowledge, guidance and steadfast love of the Lord. I have watched them worship, dance and fight for what they believe in. They have mentored me, given me gifts and treated me like I was their own daughter. Whether they knew it or not, they made an everlasting impact on my spiritual and worldly life. They have left me with a renewed purpose to be mindful of women younger than myself, and the knowledge that I too will one day need to step into their footsteps…and for now, there are women younger than myself watching me…
I use the word older loosely because I honestly think that there is always someone older than someone else who can be mentored to. It can be a woman in her 80’s to a woman in her 60’s or it can be a woman in her 20’s to a young woman finishing high school. I had the privilege to attend a women’s discussion group at our church that was lead by an amazing woman. And while I consider her a peer she is a few years older than I am. She is full of wisdom and was a true blessing to me that evening. As she is going into a new decade of life she posted 8 things younger women need from older women in church. (apparently people are considering her older now..shame on them! 😉 ) From my perspective she was spot on. A few of the things she wrote I didn’t even realize I needed until I read it and thought, “yes, that is exactly what I need!”
What would break my heart more than anything is for an older woman to not feel valuable any longer. I want women of all ages to be empowered right where they are with their stories ready to share. The value is incredible and what we have to share is priceless. Did you know even teens need you, are watching you…to see that they won’t be where they are forever and they have a place in their church family their entire lives. For those that have been intentional about this, thank you, thank you for the role you play in my life and those around you. For those of you who have hesitated, wait no longer because we need…
1. Your presence: Your presence at church, bible study, service projects, and celebrations speaks volumes before you even open your mouth. It says you support the pastor and the church. It says you care about the other generations. It matters that you attend.
2. Your worship: We need to see you worship Jesus. There is little more beautiful than an elderly woman engaged in worship. That may look different depending on the style of your church, but we need to see you fully engaged in worship.
3. Your stories: Tell us how God provided when you tithed in the hard times. Tell us how God sustained you when you hit a hard patch in your marriage. Tell us how to persevere when a child rebels against God. Tell us how God has worked in your life. We need your stories.
4. Your hugs: We need the physical touch of an older woman in the church. Many younger women live far from family or have a broken relationship with their own mothers. We need spiritual mothers who physically put their arms around us and tell us we are loved by God.
5. Your encouragement: Your words carry weight just because of your age. An encouraging word from an older woman goes deep into our hearts. Speak encouragement to your pastor’s wife, your Sunday School teacher, the young mom struggling by herself in the parking lot.
6. Your wisdom: You have wisdom and we need to hear it. Don’t wait to be asked. Share in bible study, small group, in the halls of your church. How do we follow Christ in a broken world? How does the Bible apply to our lives? We need your wisdom.
7. Your testimony: We need to hear how Jesus raised you from death to life. We need to hear stories of how he redeemed you and how he has been faithful to you. We need to hear of the fresh work he is doing in your life now.
8. Your smile: A positive, joyful older woman is medicine to my heart. Oh how younger women need to see the joy of Christ, cultivated over the years, splashed on an older woman’s face. Your smile among the body of believers is a powerful weapon for the Lord. Show it off.
-8 Needs By Bethann Miller
Bethann is a Program Facilitator for Truth for Women, who provide restorative care for sexually exploited women and increasing awareness. We are honored to help support their efforts through some of the jewelry in our shop.