Turns out I grew up surrounded by a treasure trove and I didn’t know it. Grandmothers, aunts, women in the church. Sunday school teachers. Camp counsellors. The youth pastor’s wife. Women who, whether they knew it or not, poured into me out of their life experience and faith in God.Turns out I grew up surrounded by a treasure trove and I didn't know it. Click To Tweet
In my 30’s and 40’s, while in the throes of momming two tween-into-teenage girls, serving a husband who had suffered a physical disability and the loss of his career, and losing my dad and walking through my fifty-six-year-old mother’s grief with her, I discovered the value of hanging out with women older than me who could speak life and shine light on my dizzying days.In my 30's and 40's, while in the throes of momming two tween-into-teenage girls, serving a husband who had suffered a physical disability and the loss of his career, and losing my dad and walking through my fifty-six-year-old mother's… Click To Tweet
Following my husband’s discharge from law enforcement, we moved to Arizona. That’s when I met June, Jeanette, and later met MaryAnn. These were older women who had embraced the Scriptural directive that we become women worth following as imitators of Jesus the Christ.
The love and care and prayers of these women provided the green house I needed for a season of intense spiritual growth–from the inside out. The love and care and prayers of these women provided the green house I needed for a season of intense spiritual growth--from the inside out. Click To Tweet
Not long after God brought June and Jeanette and MaryAnn into my life, He also stitched my heart to Karen O’s heart. A leader at a speakers’ conference put us together as prayer partners. Nearly 20 years later, we still connect through email at least once a quarter with updates, praises, and prayer requests.
There was no denying the reassurance I felt knowing that someone more seasoned than I, whose faith has been more tested than mine and strengthened again and again is praying with me and for me.There was no denying the reassurance I felt knowing that someone more seasoned than I, whose faith has been more tested than mine and strengthened again and again is praying with me and for me. Click To Tweet Puritan William Bates said it this way: “Precepts instruct us what things are our duty, but examples assure us that they are possible… When we see men [women] like ourselves, who are united to frail flesh and in the same condition with us, to command their passions to overcome the most glorious and glittering temptations, we are encouraged in our spiritual warfare.”
For the past three decades, I have purposefully sought out and picked at least one woman older than me to round out my bouquet of close friends. Here’s why . . .
Five perks of hanging out with older women of faith
- Older women carry the benefit of hindsight and possess the ability to help me see beyond my current circumstances. When I’m tempted to sink into believing the here and now, this moment or any moment of trial and heartache is all there is, I need someone more mature than me to remind me that God promises me hope and a future.
- Older women can model intentionality in the spiritual disciplines as well as purposefulness in friendship.
- An older woman tends to have graduated from the appearances and performance stages in life and is more willing to turn around in vulnerability to share struggles and insights from her own journey.
- Older women can provide a wise guide rich in life experience and insights from God’s Word.
- My best life is me growing and transforming more and more in Christlikeness. Older women seem more willing to risk hurting my feelings for the sake of my emotional and spiritual growth and maturity.
Admittedly, following each of my birthdays, finding women of faith older than myself becomes more and more of a challenge. In my case, an older woman has seven, eight, or nine decades of experiencing God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.
Over time, I’ve had to say goodbye to many a sweet friend and prayer partner. Believe me the benefits of the relationships are above and beyond worth the goodbyes. I begin to pray. Okay, first, I grieve and whine to God about my loss and my need. Then I ask Him to lead me to another older women.
Where do I find older women?
Serving as a greeter at church. Working with volunteers. Observing a neighbor. Participating in a women’s Bible study. Engaging in women’s activities and events in the church and the community.
I’d noticed her from the front door of the church where I served as a greeter. Her smile captured my heart. I saw that it was a smile that transcended her circumstance as I watched her serve her husband as disease weakened him. After her husband passed, I engaged her in conversation more and more until she invited me to come walk with her. Now we hang out and visit once a month over lunch or tea. Or some other activity. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a ninety-year-old beat you at cornhole. No handicap offered, although I could have used one.
Questions for you to contemplate . . .
- When did you last spend time with a woman five or more years older than you?
- Who in your circles could be an older woman of faith that you might connect with?
- What are your ideas for how you might make that connection?
Not sure where to start in your search? Ask God to provide you with someone older to build a relationship with and pray for the courage to take the necessary steps.
7 Questions for deeper connection with an older woman . . .
- Tell me about your relationship with Jesus.
- Have you ever struggled with regret? What did you learn in that struggle?
- What role does prayer have in your life?
- What is the biggest waste of time in a marriage?
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a mom of young children?
- Is there a Scripture that helped you survive a crisis or a devastating loss?
- What is God teaching you in your current season?
You can tailor your questions to fit the areas in your life in which you could use some guidance or encouragement.
I’d love to hear from you.
What has been your experience with a friend/mentor older than you?
Click here to find 100 Questions to Find the Gold in a Christian Woman’s Heart by Laura Booz.