When I was a kid, I used to drive my mom crazy by hanging around incessantly whenever she had a friend over. Her friend would always bring kids, of course, and my sister and the other kids would play while I tried to stay in the kitchen and listen to my mom chatting with her friend before getting shooed out. Maybe it was because I was a little older than most of the other kids, but I don't really think so. I always loved being around grown-up women. They just seemed so glamourous with their perfume and ability to tie pony-tails without bumps.
As I've gotten older, I've still had a tendency to make friends with other women older than myself. I've learned that the wisdom of someone who has already "been there, done that" when it comes to my stage of life, whether it was 20 years ago or even just a few months, is inestimable. I love good advice and seek it constantly. At this point, if I'm not sure what do with Sweet Pea, I rarely run to a baby book or Google; I call my mom (of course), another mom-friend, or even use Facebook to post a question.
Last night I posted asking for advice on the best sippy cups and baby gates, because I hate ours in both categories. The response was way better and took way less time than reading consumer reports online!
My mom says that the girls of my generation are a little super-saturated with information. We have so much, so many opinions, right at (literally) our fingertips. She says sometimes it keeps us from trusting our natural instincts as mothers and makes us over-think what is ultimately a lot simpler than we think.
She's right. (Honestly, when has she ever been wrong?) I got tired fast of a lot of the parenting boards and what have you, because I found that the anonymity seemed to give folks license to be rudely opinionated and sometimes just mean.
That said, I am so thankful for blogs and the life-skill tips I've picked up from so many of them. Blogging helps me take a moment to savor what I love about my life and my family, and many, many other bloggers out there are doing the same. Reading about another woman who adores her children and appreciates her husband and is trying to suck the sweet nectar of life makes me drink a bit more deeply from mine.
I've also been so blessed time and again by my "in real life" friends, these women (some older and some younger) who are always willing to take a second to speak wisdom and encouragement into my life. Family members, like my mom, grandma and mother-in-law who always seem to know intuitively just what I need to hear; friends, some with babies like me who can recommend the best nursing bra or baby carrier or what that did to stop tantrums (thanks, T!) and some without babies who bless me by loving mine and living life with me; older friends, who give wry, wistful smiles when they talk about their "raising baby days," and remind me that even though this is oh-so-hard, it's so sweet and wonderful and good and I'll treasure these days in my heart for the rest of my life.
I'm thankful for and blessed by these women who walk alongside me, who teach me and encouragement me to be a better wife, mom, friend, and child of God.
"1 As for you...promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. 2 Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.
3 Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4 These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5 to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God." Titus 2:1-5
I get that, pulled out of context, this Bible passage might sound a little goofy. Heavy drinkers? I like how that is the chosen "sin" here. I also get that, without context, you could want to remind Paul (who wrote this letter of the Bible to his friend Titus) that we've come really far with women's liberation and he's backtracking us, dagnabbit! Remember though, that this letter was written almost two thousand years ago. It amazes me that God's word is living and active and so applicable, even two thousand years later. The heart of the passage is the same as it always has been, passed down from generation to generation; people need to love God, and out of that love, pour their lives into other people.
Women have the gift of words. Have you ever heard that statistic that women use something like 4 times as many words as men in any given day? We can use those words to tear down or to lift up. I've done youth ministry for a long time, and so often I've been reminded of the power of my words to my younger girlfriends. It's shocked me on more than one occasion to hear some tidbit I said repeated back to me by a teenage girl. "She remembered that? Something I said? How could anything I have to say be special enough to remember?" These remembered lines were not rehearsed by me, nor were they delivered with any kind of pomp or circumstance; they were simply comments on life made in idle chatter based on Truth hidden in my heart. Those moments remind me of the power of my words and the responsibility I have in the example I set to the younger women in my life, and remind me to live a life worthy of that honor.
I will never forget the day that an older friend of mine leaned across the table at a restaurant, looked full in my eyes, and said, "Taylor, there is nothing better than this." She was referring to family, and I was in a place where I was getting ready to search the world over and try to find something else. I went off for a month, and that statement kept pounding in my head and in my heart. I believed her because her life showed that she meant every bit of what she said. It took me only a month to realize the same would be true for me, and I was married 8 months later.
So what about you? What words of life and wisdom have been poured into your life lately? What have you done to encourage someone else?
Look for another Titus 2'sday post next week!