By Contributing Writer, Marci Ferrell
Many years ago when I was just a young girl in school, I remember taking a class called Home Economics. It went over basic home keeping skills, sewing and cooking. I grew up with a stay-at-home mom, and most of my female family members were stay-at- home moms. I do not come from a Christian family, but the example was set before me of being a homemaker.
I spent my days as a young girl playing “house” with my dolls, dreaming of growing up, being married, having children and taking care of my own home.
My mother didn’t realize the impact her role had on me at that time, as it wasn’t so much specifically being taught…as it was caught. Now remember, this wasn’t a Bible believing home, but the role of the older woman teaching the younger woman just happened as part of our day. My mom and I cleaned house together, cooked, baked, made homemade gifts and did yard work and chores alongside each other. We didn’t share the truths of God’s Word as to the why, but the part of being a keeper at home and what that entailed were shared with me.
As the years went on and I was in high school, my mom went back into the work force. Things changed at home. Home was no longer her priority to keep. She was tired when she came home, meals were made using more convenient methods, or take out was an option, and she wasn’t there to learn alongside. I didn’t realize how much I missed those moments until I was married and had a family of my own.
As I finished high school and continued on to higher education, the role of a home keeper was not looked upon favorably. You were encouraged to use your skills and gifts to work outside the home and have your own career. I bought into the lie.
After my husband and I were married, I continued working even after having our first child. Mind you, we were not believers at this time, but my heart was torn every time I had to leave my daughter to go to work. I am so thankful that it took only one year instead of twenty to draw my heart back home. We both decided it was better for me to be home ,and we made adjustments to our budget to live on one income. As I look back now, I give thanks to the Lord for His goodness in not letting me continue on this path.
As our eyes were opened to the gospel of Jesus Christ, He began revealing truths to us of the roles of men and women. My first introduction to the Titus 2 passage was through a favorite book I read yearly called Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.
As I read through this book, I wondered, why isn’t this being taught in the church? None of the older women talked to me about loving my husband and children, what it meant to be a keeper at home, how to be kind, self controlled, submissive to my husband, and pure so that the word of God would not be reviled. The passage of Titus 2:3-5 never even came up in any of our women’s studies.
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.
Fast forward several years and we are now in a body of believers where this verse is lived out among the women with their daughters as well as the older women to the younger women in the church.
Older women should teach younger women the skills and disciplines needed to have a successful home and marriage. Experienced wives and mothers will find their greatest avenue of ministry in teaching younger wives what they need to know to be effective wives, mothers, and homemakers.
God’s Word is the ultimate education for me as a wife and mother. Home economics can teach me the skills and basics, but it doesn’t teach me the why. Public education led me away from the role God called me to into a role that told me in order to make something of myself I needed to get out in the work force and have a career. God’s Word clearly tells me that my priority must be home. Now I understand it doesn’t forbid working outside the home or earning an income through a home business, but we must always come back to the question:
Is the priority of my family being compromised in any way by my work or outside activities?
Our roles as women are not easy, and they can seem to be mundane at times if we are not taught the reason behind why we do what we do. When we fulfill the role God has called us to as a wife and mother we protect our families from dishonoring God and His Word (Titus 2:5). Our purpose in all we do is to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). God uses our role as women and the difficulties and trials we may entail, to grow us more and more into the likeness of His Son (James 1:2-4). We are the dominant influence in our homes, our husbands are the leaders, but we have been given much power by God on whether we will choose to build up or tear down our homes (Proverbs 14:1).
The Role of the Older Woman
Let me start with a definition of spiritual mothering from Susan Hunt:
When a woman possessing faith and spiritual maturity enters into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live for God’s glory.
How can those of us who are a little further down the road be an encouragement and teach the principles laid out in Titus 2 to the younger women the Lord has placed in our lives? Our desire should be to help younger women live out godly lives in an ungodly world.
Paul gave seven specific instructions to the older women to teach the younger woman and he gave the reason why - that the Word of God may not be dishonored – Titus 2:5.
“The Greek work for dishonored is blasphemetai. It means to “speak of with irreverence, to revile or abuse. Blasphemetai is a very strong word from which we derive our English word blaspheme. It is not merely remaining neutral towards God’s Word. It is an affront to God’s Word when women violate any of the seven instructions Paul gave to Titus for the younger women. The older, Titus 2 Woman should influence the younger woman to bear fruit for the Lord an thus honor His Word.”
~Martha Peace, Becoming a Titus 2 Woman
This list below is not exhaustive, but the hope is to get you thinking and living out your role as an older women. Please share ways you have lived this out with us in the comments so we may be an encouragement to one another:
- Only through the gospel of Jesus Christ can a self centered young woman turn into a Christ focused woman who desires to live out these biblical principles. Share the gospel with the young women the Lord has placed in your life.
- Your daughters in your home are your first priority, but make sure you seek other relationships with younger women who can use guidance and teaching.
- Work alongside them in the home, and teach as you go.
- Share spiritual truths, and let them see you handling difficult situations in a God honoring way.
- It may involve doing an actual book study. Some great resources to read along with younger women are: Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free, Feminine Appeal, The Excellent Wife and Spiritual Mothering.
- You must be intentional about your role in the lives of younger women.
- Speak the truths of biblical womanhood into their lives.
- Managing a home is a huge task, and many young women are not prepared for caring for a home. Help them in practical ways by sharing cleaning and cooking tips. Showing how you have found shortcuts and better ways to do things. Do not be offended if they don’t take your advice. They are listening, and they may not see the need for that direction at that moment but will be thankful for the advice in days to come.
- You are teaching doctrine as you share how to handle unsaved husbands, disciplining children, disagreements between a husband and wife, relating to in-laws and parents, and any other areas that need some guidance on how they are to be dealt with in a God honoring way.
- Prepare yourself by being in the Word – the older woman is to be reverent, not a slave to much wine, not a slanderer but they are to teach what is good (Titus 2:3). Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut. 6:5).
- Remember it is not a program but a way of life.
The Role of the Younger Woman
As an older woman I want to share a word with you about your hearts my dear young women; make sure you remain teachable. I know there is much you know and much us older women can learn from you too, but after being married for over a quarter of a century, caring for a home, raising babies, becoming grandparents, and caring for aging parents, I can assure you we have some guidance and direction that you can learn much from.
Take the time to seek out relationships with older godly women – your mother or mother-in-law being the first one. Spend time in the homes of older women and watch and learn how they respond to their husbands, love their children and keep their homes. Ask questions and plan the time to learn new skills alongside them. There is much conversation that takes place as you are working together. Be honest and open to seek help in areas you need guidance.
May our lives be an example to the younger women in our lives. May we be involved in teaching the next generations the truths of God’s Word and what that looks like lived out on a day to day basis. Take time to study God’s Word so you are equipped to share with the younger women the Lord has placed in your life.
May our prayer be to ask the Lord to make us into women who are reverent in our behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine so we may teach what is good and train the young women. (Titus 2:3-4)