Searched All Over…

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Lately, I’ve heard many young Christian women, unmarried, wives, and mothers alike, asking a simple but profound question: “WHERE ARE THE TITUS 2 WOMEN IN MY REAL LIFE?” Titus 2:3-5 should more like in-person, real-life training. That’s not to say that the Christian women authors and teachers aren’t fulfilling a significant and important role in the body of Christ. But it’s not the same as Titus 2 style mentoring. Young women don’t always know how to *find* a mentor, and older women often don’t know how to *be* a mentor. Some women seem really good at this, and others go about it somewhat subtly, but I think there are definitely Christian women that are falling through the cracks, on both ends of the spectrum. I have wondered in my mind for a while what I could do to change the situation.

As “younger women” like Titus 2 talks about, how do we go about finding a mentor– an “older woman”?

Here are some places I’ve found them:

  • In my local church
  • From neighbors & friends in community
  • Through books & biblical teachings
  • Over the internet
But I think one thing that can trip us up is if we are only open to learning one particular thing at a particular time.  When I think back about the women I’ve learned from, most of the mentors of my life have not come *at the time that I felt like I needed* to learn that particular thing. Instead, I have looked for women who do anything well… some are lifelong learners and have some interesting topics/subjects to teach me about (for example, one friend is really into psycho-analysis  and so I often volunteer for her projects in class so I can on a superficial level learn what shes learning. And by her conversation and sometimes venting, she explains to me how to apply those things in real life), so I learn things like that from certain friends.  Three different families that I spend time with now and when I was single raised their children thoughtfully & intentionally, and so I learned that from them even though I wasn’t remotely near having children.
Some women I’m watching now have challenging/difficult marriages but persevere through them and I try to learn that even though I’m quite content & delighted in our marriage.   Another woman I’ve learned from lately is really faithful at Bible study and teaching and so I’ve been intentionally spending time to learn that from her.  A different woman I haven’t met personally yet has an immaculate kitchen (despite having 3 busy children) and is also an excellent cook.   I’m learning a lot via text messaging and social media and conversation about food prep & keeping a kitchen tidier than I’d previously thought possible (not that I do that super-well now, but I do it better than I would’ve if I was only paying attention to try to learn one particular topic to learn from her and missed the things she did well).
 
If I purposed to only learn the one or two things I felt like I needed at a particular time in life, I might have missed learning from any of these women.  Instead, I try to focus on what other women do *WELL* and try to learn that, regardless of whether I think that’s the particular thing I “need” at that moment in life.  Look at what things a woman does “excellently” and seek to learn from her.  If we do that, I think regardless of our context (even difficult ones: overseas, with few friends/connections; in a small country church with few friends; in transition with no long-time friends, etc.), we can find a plethora of mentors even if it’s not necessarily in the area where we ourselves are struggling at a particular point.

Consider this the “launching” of a conversation about this issue- I want to hear your thoughts and comments as we talk through this issue of mentoring/teaching/discipling. I’d love for you to leave any questions or concerns about Titus 2-style mentoring, and I’ll do my best to either find resources that speak to your particular concern or question or I’ll touch on it personally in this series. Tell me what has lacked or where you struggle in terms of this kind of woman-teaching-woman discipleship. I can’t wait to hear from you and learn more together about this important role for Christian women!

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The pursuit of Titus 2: Who’s been teaching you?

ImageOver the past few weeks I’ve encountered women with a passion and desire spurred in  them to live rightly according to God. There is nothing more beautiful than biblical community, where the knowledge and application of others motivates you to look at God in a different light for your life. These “Chosen” ladies have helped me realize the need for biblical femininity in an age when many think they have ALL the answers and if you’re not doing it their way then you’re all wrong.The movements have set us on a path that makes  the things of GOD lofty and seemingly unattainable. The truth for me may not be yours but there is truth in the infallible truth of God. Titus 2 calls us to the type of ministry we should be engaged in as women and for the most part is where I’ll gain most of my context.

There is a glorious plan for womanhood set forth in. Manhood and womanhood were not an afterthought in God’s design for humanity. From the moment of creation, God made us male and female, equal before God, with different roles and responsibilities. The woman was made to be the man’s ‘helper’, serving God in light of the created order (Gen 1-3, 1 Tim 2:11-15).

Titus 2:3-5 (New International Version) Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to 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, so that no one will malign the word of God.

This spells out what this looks like in the life of a young, married woman with children. She is to love her husband and children, stay pure and self-controlled, manage her home and practice kindness, and be submissive to her husband. This isn’t an exhaustive list, nor does it mean that a married woman shouldn’t do paid work outside the home, as long as this supports, rather than undermines, her commitment to home and family (cf. Prov 31). But it does show where her primary focus lies.

Yet we must be careful not to use Titus 2:3-5 to encourage women to idolize home and family.These particular instructions to women in Titus 2:3-5 are meant to sail on an ocean of general instruction given in the Bible for all of us as Christians: without an awareness of that big ocean of the Bible’s teaching about Jesus and the kingdom of God, the Titus 2 boat can end up bobbing around harmlessly and inoffensively in the backyard swimming pool of suburban materialism, going nowhere.Much teaching on Titus 2:3-5 subtly encourages household idolatry. Singleness becomes a waiting room for marriage, rather than an opportunity to serve Christ with undivided attention (1 Cor 7:32-35), and the family home becomes an end in itself, rather than a place to reach out to others.

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But Titus 2:3-5 encourages young women not only to ‘work at home’ but also to be “kind” in 1 Timothy 5:9-10, the word ‘kind’ is linked to many good deeds of godly women—not just bringing up children, but also showing hospitality, serving Christians, and caring for the needy. A godly woman’s home is not only a secure refuge, but also a base for loving, serving and reaching out to others.

This is to serve as just an introduction and not an exhaustive study: a call to serve one another better if you will. I’ll be dealing with the just of the things that pertain to womanhood in the coming series. Welcome back!