Dear Older Women,
I'm watching you. Not in a creepy stalker type way, but I'm watching you to learn how to be a godly woman.
Therefore, when I hear you unfairly criticising young mothers behind their backs, I feel dismayed and discouraged. I wonder what you're saying behind my back about how I parent Rory. I'm not sure if I can take you at face value. I don't know if I can approach you or be honest about the parenting decisions I've made.
When you say that you don't know why young mothers are so stressed, it's not that bad etc., I feel like there is no listening, wise ear I can turn to. It seems like you've forgotten that you were that young mum 10, 20 or 30+ years ago and I don't know where to seek encouragement and empathy from.
When I see you drinking too much, getting 'tipsy', I start to feel like I'm alone in striving to swim against our alcohol-saturated and infatuated culture. I start to wonder what the point of being different is when the church is no different to the world.
When you have the 'my views of the Bible are correct and you're young and don't know anything' attitude, I feel like we can't study the Word together and have a friendly discussion, learn from each other, and even disagree.
You see, I don't have a Christian mum. I learn from the myriad of Christian women I've met in my life.
'Older woman' doesn't mean old. It's all relative. By older, I just mean older than me.
I had a scary thought recently; I'm so used to being the younger woman and 'watching' the older women. But now I wonder....who's watching me?
To some, I'm the older woman. The primary school girls, the tweens, the teens, and the twenty-somethings. Maybe they're also sussing out what it means to be a woman who loves Jesus and follows Him wholeheartedly. Maybe they're watching to see how I relate to others, behave when I think no-one's watching, speak about others, react when people treat me badly and life doesn't go my way, how I treat my husband, my son, the lowly, forgotten people in society....
That's scary, but it's also a privilege.
I just have to share a great conversation I had with a lady from my church recently. She is in her early eighties and she and her husband have recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. When I congratulated her, she asked me how long Duncan and I have been married.
"Five years," I replied.
"You're just at the beginning," she told me. "Have you ever thought about walking out?"
Thoughts raced through my mind. The honest answer was 'yes', so I didn't want to lie. I think if all women are honest, they'll admit to having had those thoughts. Marriage is wonderful, but it's also hard work! But if I told the truth, would she just give me a lecture?
"Me too," she said. "So many times." Then she encouraged me to stick at it.
I came away feeling so refreshed by her honesty and looking forward to (God-willing) celebrating more marriage milestones with Duncan.
Thank you to those women who have mentored, encouraged, prayed for and with me over the years, who have read the Bible with me, and been up for a chat. You're the kind of woman I want to be. Your example is noted.