By Verna Davis
For The Herald Bulletin
— When I was a teenager, there was a special lady who didn’t treat me like the socially-inept, boy-crazy, fun-loving, but rather empty-headed teenager that I was.
She was a minister’s wife, and the summer before I left for Bible College, she took me out for lunch. She said that since I was going to a college full of young preachers, chances were good I would marry a minister. Then she told me that marrying a minister was a ministry all its own. Aside from the ministry to the ladies in the congregation, my main ministry would be to my husband -- to support, encourage and pray for him and to never, ever criticize his sermons.
About 10 years later, as a young minister’s wife in a small church in Nebraska, I met another special lady. She was about the age of my grandmother, and two of her sons were ministers. She warned me about the ugly side of ministry, and told me to remember that the congregation of Israel even complained about the wife of their beloved leader, Moses.
When she found I was interested in writing, she paid for me to take a writing class and even volunteered to babysit for my young children once a week so I could have time to work on my assignments.
It seems like yesterday that these two “older women” took the time to mentor me. Now the tables have turned, and I find myself one of the “older” women in my church. It makes me read Titus 2:3-5 with a new understanding. “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives.” (The Message)
I want to be an older woman that encourages young mothers who are struggling to balance jobs, children, husbands, and a clean house. I want to be an older woman whose marriage stands as an example for love and commitment. I want to be an older woman who teaches instead of preaches, who speaks in love and not in lectures. I want to be a model of goodness. I pray every day for the courage and discipline to be such a woman. I want to be a mentor to the younger women in my church. I pray every day for the courage and discipline and humility to be such a woman.
If you are a younger woman in search of a mentor, seek out a woman who is not a gossip, who has had a successful happy marriage, who is gracious and humble, and whose husband and children love and respect her. If you are an older woman, be ready to be painfully honest about your own mistakes, and humbly give credit to God for your successes.
Titus 2:5 ends this way with a final warning for both younger and older women: “We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”