Years later, I went on my first playdate as a mother of three to meet some other moms at a park. The other mothers there each had one cute, containable child under the age of one. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation, one of the women turned to me and said, “You’re a veteran mom. What do you think?” I laughed out loud in shock at the ridiculousness that anyone would consider me a veteran mom; my oldest daughter was not even 3 yet, and my twins were less than 6 months old. When I related the tale to a friend later, her words echoed my mother’s wisdom from over a decade earlier: “To them you are a veteran mom.” I knew just a little bit more than they did, so they saw me as a mentor.
Titus 2:3 says “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.”
When I read this passage, it is easiest to cast myself in the role of the “young woman.” After all, I am still in the season of life where I am learning how to best love my husband and children. However, I have often read this passage and experienced the same emotion I felt that day in the park when I was called the “veteran mom.” I am often also given the role of “older woman.” I was the “older woman” in college when I was mentoring high school girls. I was the “older woman” when I was newly married and advising my single friends in their dating relationships. I was the “older woman” when I had children and my newlywed friends did not. I was the “older woman” at the park that day in the role of “veteran mom.” Age is relative; you are certainly older than some woman in your sphere of influence.
The role of “older woman” is a weighty one. In this passage, all older women are called to teach the younger women. This calling is not limited to those women who feel gifted as teachers. It is not limited to the extroverts or the pastors’ wives. It is a calling to all women who know just a little bit more than the younger woman sitting in the next pew. As my mother-in-law says, the only prerequisite for being an “older woman” in this verse is that you have been breathing longer.
There are all sorts of different ways you could serve as an “older woman” in the church. You could do so to people in your community group, you could volunteer with our youth ministry, or you could do so to those you meet on a Sunday morning. Right now, our church has elementary-aged girls, teenage high school graduate girls, twenty-something women, single women and mothers of young children. If you are looking for a way to serve, this could be a great place. There are many “younger women” ready to be blessed by what God has taught you.