To the moms whose kids are grown…

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“Older women … 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, NIV)

I feel it acutely. There’s my mom, of course. She is an amazing, godly woman who is filled with the kind of wisdom that can only come from the years behind her. I’m lucky to have her. But other than that? There isn’t too much interaction between generations, much of the time.

Sometimes, I wonder if the lack of older mentors is the reason my generation—the generation of young parents—seems so lost. There are parenting books, of course. Online home management courses. Sermons and podcasts.

But few pour into us on a personal level.

We discuss it amongst each other—how to love our husbands, raise our children and manage our homes.

How to be self-controlled.

Pure.

Kind.

But there is something to be said for the wisdom that comes from long-life experience. Yes, we glean from those alongside us in the trenches, but we also desperately need those who have already fought our same battles and won.

(Or even lost. Because every scar tells a story.)

Last night, I drove 30 minutes down dark country roads to a complete stranger’s house. A friend had invited me. I parked on the street and stumbled up the driveway in the inky blackness, towards windows spilling warm light.

The woman who owned the house welcomed me graciously. Although her children are grown, she opens her home on a regular basis to younger homeschooling moms. Her heart—her beautiful heart—is to pour into the next generation.

Women from all over came—some drove longer distances than I did. She put out carafes of coffee, tea and dainty, floral cups. We packed into her living room to pray and learn together.

And she explained to each new, shy face how the Lord has called her to provide support, encouragement, and to live out Titus 2:3-5.

The Church needs people like this.

Older women, we need you.

We don’t always know how to say it, but we need you to open your lives to us. To open your homes to us. To offer advice. To come alongside us and tell us that we’ll make it through the hard days. To smile with us on the joy-filled days. To teach us what it means to be good wives and mothers.

You see, there’s a lot at stake.

Our families, yes. But according to Titus 2:5, how we manage our families and homes also affects people’s perception of the Word of God.

According to Titus 2:5, the gospel is at stake.

You, who are on the other side, have so much to offer.

And we, who are in the trenches, want to learn.

 

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The Gift of Community

 

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An unfamiliar car was parked out front. I could hear the sound of a vacuum through an open window. The front door was open too, and the house looked so … empty.

It’s a house accustomed to being full. Full of childish voices, full of friends popping in and out, full of life.

I’ve spent many an hour there, visiting with other moms while children play. Talking long on the front steps after Bible study. Meeting in the driveway for walks and outings. Hurriedly dropping off my girls so I could rush off to work.

It’s weird how something so small—a friend moving to another neighbourhood not far away at all—can make you think so deep. And perhaps it’s because two little girls kept me up most of the night and I’m tired, or perhaps it’s because I’m naturally prone to emotion, but I got a little misty-eyed as I walked by that empty house today.

It seems kind of silly, right?

The same thing happened when my favourite neighbourhood shop closed down. There were many memories attached to that place—story times with the kids, long chats with the owner, hours spent browsing gently-used clothing. I choked up then too.

But maybe it’s not actually all that silly.

You see, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s not about buildings or places but community. The ability to create an atmosphere of community is a special gift.

I often feel like I need to get everything perfect before I can invite people into my heart space or into my home. I’m embarrassed by the grittiness of life. But in order for people to feel free to come as they are, I need to first be free to come as I am.

It’s something that both my friend-around-the-corner and my shop-owner friend have demonstrated beautifully. My friend’s house was more than a house. It was a hub. Same with the little neighbourhood shop. There was nothing fake about their hospitality. By inviting you into their space, they invited you to live life alongside them. No excuses, no pretenses. Come as you are.

Although it has been a while since I’ve wandered over to my friend’s house, that community atmosphere is something that I’ll miss having just around the corner and something that I need to be better at creating in my own home.

If we’re honest, in a world of Instagram filters and Facebook highlights, it’s something that many of us probably need to be better at. We need to worry less about perfection and focus more on simply loving others where they’re at—and where we’re at.

So my goal this summer?

To provide a haven for the broken, the whole and everyone in between. To pretend less and love more. To open my heart space and my home space, and to offer the gift of gritty, come-as-we-are hospitality—the gift of community.

Will you join me?