When my son was diagnosed with a brain tumour, I felt like the world shifted on its axis.
I had never been more terrified and unsure of who I was or what life meant.
During that season, I felt the Father love of my God like never before. I felt Him carry me and my family through that season in the gentlest of arms, with no expectations of me other than that I would simply let him hold us and trust His goodness.
However, on the tail of that I experienced a spiritual desert season of anxiety, anger, loneliness and uncertainty.
Everything I believed suddenly needed to be held to the light; examined and tested by the fires of doubt within me.
I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide from the world.
It felt big and scary, and I had no idea which way I should turn next.
It was in this season that a good friend of mine invited me to join her women’s group.
Hungry for communion with other Christian women and longing to become a prayer warrior for my children, I accepted the invitation, having no idea that God was about to do a work of redemption in my soul.
Most of these women were much older than myself, well past the stages of parenting and marriage that I was struggling through. We came from a variety of denominations and faith families, and there was really no common thread that wove us all together outside of our Jesus.
But this group of women welcomed me into their prayer circle and picked me up out of the dust. They took the pieces of my broken, bleeding heart that had been battered to shards through the storm of the past year and gently starting piecing me back together with the truth, grace and love of the gospel.
They wept with me, prayed with me and bolstered my spirits. They laughed with me, gave me wise advice and honoured me in my feeble efforts to strive for something greater in my parenting, my marriage and my walk with Jesus.
In short, they were Jesus to me. In a time when I desperately needed support, God led me to this incredible group of women and used them as a channel to heal me, teach me and offer me joy through new friendships.
Over tea cups, desserts and our Bibles we worshipped, repented and grew together.
When I walked into that space every Wednesday evening I knew instinctively that here, I was safe.
These women are my sisters in Christ;
My fellow warriors on the front lines of enemy territory, claiming back our children, our marriages and our identity through the power of His words spoken into the quiet of a cozy living room.
Titus 2:1-6 says,
“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live…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.”
When I read those verses, I think of these women in my prayer group. I think of the wisdom I have glimpsed as I’ve listened to them share their stories and prayed alongside them for their middle schoolers, teenagers and young adult children. It’s comforting to know they have walked this road ahead of me and that I am not alone as I muddle through each new phase. Their humility and courage inspire me to keep putting one foot in front of the other; to love my children well while they are here with me, to model patience and kindness in my home, to be a woman of strength and grace.
I also think of my own mother when I read these verses. She modeled so much kindness, generosity and integrity to me as I was growing up. She willingly set her own needs aside to care for my siblings and I, day after month after year after decade. My childhood memories are rich because of her constant presence in our home, faithfully going about the mundane tasks of life on a farm with five children. So much of what I know and believe about motherhood, my identity as a woman and my Kingdom work was instilled through those early years.
I think about my cousin who I lived with as a young adult while dating the man who is now my husband. The two years I spent in her home watching her navigate early marriage and parenting young children left a deep impact on my life. I’m so grateful for the authentic, generous, humble presence I observed her to be in her home. She taught me so much about respect, kindness and courage to do the right thing even when it is not easy. So many little patterns in my marriage and parenting trace back to her mentoring.
There are so many more I could name. My mother in law, my grandmothers, older women in the church and my neighbourhood who have poured into my life, often unknowingly.
I like to think of all these women as my Titus 2 women.
They bring texture to the fabric of my life. Their experiences, perspective and fire-proven faith give me confidence that I, too, can emerge stronger, wiser and gentler on the other side of adversity. The stories they carry with them plant seeds of wonder and curiosity in my heart; to travel, to experience, to delight in the world around me.
It’s so easy to find the people most like ourselves and camp out there in that comfort zone, but I want to keep intentionally seeking out women who are older, wiser,more mature than I am. I want to have a heart that is teachable and brave enough to pursue growth.
As I move into my thirties, I want to be aware of the young women around me who are observing my own fumbling attempts and open my heart and home to them as well.
I believe there is so much wisdom and beauty to be found in multigenerational friendships.
What have you learned through friendships with older or younger women in your life?