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.

 

The time I almost messed it all up…

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I got a lot of feedback from my last post. Many people live in the hard stage of waiting. I’ve been there, believe me. So today, I want to share how I almost messed it all up.

No one likes to be vulnerable about their mess-ups. Sometimes, however, I think that people need to hear. If we were all more honest about our sin and less worried about looking perfect, maybe we’d be able to help others avoid making the same mistakes.

It started out innocently enough. It probably always does. I was young but lonely, tired of being single, tired of waiting. He didn’t know Jesus, not even close. But I started spending time with him anyway and my emotions got all tangled up.

It was only my emotions, nothing more, but it was enough.

One day, I made a conscious decision. I had slowly been wandering away from the Lord so it wasn’t too much of a stretch. I decided to quit going to church, quit trying to do right.

I decided to walk away.

To trade in Jesus and for a relationship that was all kinds of wrong.

For some reason, I went to church anyway that weekend. There was a guest speaker in town, an older minister. I sat near the front with my friends, only half listening.

When he finished speaking, the minister asked the congregation to close their eyes. I don’t remember his exact words – it was a long time ago – but they went something like this…

“There’s someone here who has been walking the line. And you’ve made a conscious decision that you are going to cross over that line. But Jesus is calling you back. If that’s you, please stand.”

A few people stood but I sat glued to my seat, stomach in knots yet heart still hard. He’s talking about me. But I don’t want to stand. I’ve made my decision.

“A few of you have stood up. But I feel in my spirit that the person that this word is for has not yet stood.” The old minister’s voice was earnest. “If you choose to step over that line, you’ll be sitting in your living room years from now wishing you could go back to this day. Jesus is calling you back to Him.”

In that moment, I knew. I knew that the decision to walk away would mess up my life forever. I didn’t feel like standing, but I knew. Slowly, I got to my feet. The moment I took that step of obedience, my heart softened and tears—tears of deep, true repentance—began to fall.

It had all started at work so, when I went back on Monday, I handed in my notice. I quit. I needed to flee temptation.

To run towards the One who remained faithful in my unfaithfulness.

Song of Solomon 8:4 says, “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.” I spent the next few months pursuing my studies, working part-time at a coffee shop and falling in love with Jesus all over again. It was a hard year in many ways. Spiritually, however, it was one of the best years of my life.

That summer, I landed a job at a bank. There was a young man who worked there named Dave. It wasn’t long before he captured my attention. But I’d learned a thing or two. So I drew the line and put some safeguards in place. I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes that I’d made in the past.

I had committed my heart to Jesus. It was no longer mine to give away.

One night, Dave came to church and got saved. A year later, with the blessing of our parents and spiritual leaders, we started dating. Two years after that, we were married. This time, I didn’t have to trade in Jesus for a relationship that was all kinds of wrong because we shared the same first love and it was Him.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my living room thinking about the words that old minister spoke over a decade ago. My husband is sprawled out on the couch next to me, reading. He is everything I ever dreamed of, everything I ever prayed for. Our children are upstairs, peacefully sleeping. If I hadn’t chosen Jesus that night, where would I be now?

Elisabeth Elliot said, “The cross as it enters the love life reveals the heart’s truth.” Sometimes, we have to ask ourselves hard questions. If God never brings me a spouse—if I am single until the day I die—will I still serve Jesus with all my heart? Will I find my wholeness and security in Him alone? Surrendering the heart—laying it down at the cross—is perhaps the hardest battle any single person will face.

Did you know that it’s a battle married people face as well? Married people have to ask themselves hard questions too. Now that God has brought me a spouse—to love selflessly and to serve sacrificially until the day I die, even when things aren’t perfect—will I still give Jesus all of my heart? Will I still find my wholeness and security in Him alone?

Marriage isn’t a quick fix to all of life’s problems. As beautiful as marriage is, it is a metaphor for a much more perfect relationship. In other words, the longing to be loved—truly loved—can never completely be fulfilled by another person.

Yes, God created us with a deep desire for love and companionship, but it’s a longing that only He can fully satisfy. Married or single, we’ll never feel complete until Christ makes us whole.

Perfect love can only be found one place—and that’s Jesus.