We long for significance.
We wonder if we are OK, if our life is on track. We ponder meaning. We wrestle with purpose. Each life stage and season has it’s own challenges, and God says to our hearts: ” I have made you. I will carry you. I will sustain you.”
We are significant because the signature of the Almighty is on our lives.
Half way through another year and I’m asking myself, ” how can it be July already? “
Life zooms by. Our family has grown up and our kids have children of their own. They have their whole lives in front of them. I remember that season, my whole life in front of me but instead of basking in the delight, I was consumed with all the chaos of real every day life. There were meals to make, games to attend, parties to plan and always another load of laundry to wash.
As I write, I’m looking at a picture of my younger self with my little boys. I smile and think almost immediately, those were the days. I wish I had appreciated every last drop of that season. I did what I could, but often fear and insecurity robbed me from embracing the days of imperfection. Today I’m older, my nest has emptied, and I don’t have my whole life before me…the clock is ticking. The older I get the more I realize that time is a gift. These days I am in flux, change and transition. I am not sure I do any of those well. No one taught me how to be in my sixties. I find it a privilege to be alive after living with a liver disease diagnosis for years and breast cancer just four years ago. But still, the fact remains, I do not know how to launch into a life that is not filled with the things of my youth.
These days I long for a community of women who know what my life is like. Women who have grown children, empty nests, and lives they are trying to redirect. Women with retirement looming or realized. Women like me who fight to keep their emotions in check because they no longer have the surge of feel good hormones. Women who must watch their diets, blood pressure and sugar levels. Women who carry fans in their purses because they never know when the wave of heat will hit. Women who once felt purpose and value but are hanging on by dear life because in this world age is not valued and purpose is for the young. No one talks about this.
And though youth is valued in our culture, age is indeed valued in the Bible. It seems to me that the older are to be there for the younger. It becomes our purpose:
“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands.” Titus 2:3-5
This is it, the purpose in the plan, the value in our experience made crystal clear.
We, being older, are to encourage the younger.
To share with them how their hectic days are the good days. To encourage them to embrace their family and their homes even on the days they want to run away. We are to walk along side of them, weep with them, hug them as women who know what their lives are like. We are to love them, simply love them. They might not think they need us, but according to Scripture, they do.
Two years ago I invited 12 women to join me for 12 months. We called it TWELVE. It was a wonderful experience with ages ranging from 25-60. Each month we would meet at my home for 3 hours. We laughed, cried, prayed and studied the Scripture. We came with homework finished and journals to read and share aloud. We were better for it. I loved holding them in my heart and praying for them during the month. In that 12 months, I had purpose beyond myself.
Purpose in Season
Scripture doesn’t teach us to grow older so we can become selfish. It is clear the older are to be reverent. That is a holy sounding word, isn’t it? But ‘reverent’, in the Titus passage, simply means holy or sacred. The purpose of the older women’s life is to be holy, to realize she is set apart for a life bigger than herself. Simply stated at each season we are part of a sacred journey.
Every woman, no matter her age, is older than another and has something to offer…there is purpose in the community of women, purpose in encouraging and walking alongside one another. Purpose in encouraging each other in life and faith. Living like heaven is real and encouraging other women to do the same. So, even though I feel adrift, my boat is sailing along the path set for me. My days are numbered and so are yours. It’s not the number of days that we are to fear, but how we spend those precious days we have.
I am looking for women who will commit themselves to the younger women. Committing to whom God brings, which might be women who are only be few years younger, or women who are decades younger. It could be a woman new to a life of faith. Women have needs, questions and struggles that they don’t talk about. Will you consider being a safe place, intentional for others?
Join me in TWELVE. Developing communities of women who are discipling, mentoring, loving and walking alongside other women. Join me in helping women live a story of purpose.
What is TWELVE?
- 4-12 women who meet once a month for a year.
- The goal is to walk alongside women with a focus on soul care and spiritual growth.
- Each meeting is 3 hours.
- There will be homework and private FB groups for each individual TWELVE group.
- There will be accountability, teaching and prayer for one another.
- There will be training and encouraging and equipping for each TWELVE leader.
What is a TWELVE leader or mentor?
- Committed to your group of women for one year
- Connecting with other mentor leaders each month for encouragement and to go over materials
- Encouraging one another with ideas for group time, activities, etc.
- Private FB page for all TWELVE mentor leaders
- Monthly online meetings, as we seek to hear God on this sacred journey of serving.
The focus of TWELVE is Ephesians 3:17, establishing women in the love of God. That they may know the love that can transform their lives, heal their hurts and give them the ability to live wholehearted lives. We will use the Design4Living Bible Study series ( David C. Cook) for our foundational materials. These workbooks lead women to the heart of God and the truth of His word.
For the first seventeen years of my Christian walk, I looked and acted full, but was sadly secretly empty. I didn’t realize it at the time. But my Christian experience was a lot like belonging to a Country Club. God had more. He invited me into a love relationship in my mid-thirties. Embracing his love changed me. I am still being healed and changed today.
I have a dream to see women all over the world learning to live in God’s love for them and learning to live loving others. This has been my heart since 1996. I am circling back to the beginnings of when God changed my Christian life, setting me on a healing path. I have gotten stuck along the way, but have learned things that, now older, I am willing to be open and vulnerable about.
I just heard a pastor speak today and he said, ” when I was 25, I thought I knew everything. Now that I am 50, I realize that I don’t.” Such truth in those words. Who are you older than? Will you love her enough to help her?
Living a sacred journey… not a perfect journey… is the goal. Here is a picture of younger me with one of my mentors Jinny Sultze. My precious friend Jinny is now with Jesus. She was beautiful inside and out, but she wasn’t perfect. She shared her imperfections with me. I watched her grow and it gave me courage to be real. She left a mark on my life. Now I am the older woman and I want to leave a mark. Will you join me? If you are interested in leading women, email me for an application: firstname.lastname@example.org
Praying and Anticipating,