Have you ever looked around and asked yourself the question, “Where are all the Titus Two Women?!” As I look back over the years, I remember that there were times when I asked myself that very question – seasons when I longed to have someone older come along side to encourage and teach me.
Over the past couple of years, in an effort to understand my calling, I have researched the history of mentoring, and studied the passage in Titus 2 that describes the role of the older woman. It has been helpful and given me direction. It has also helped me to understand more clearly why God’s plan included that I face many seasons without a mentor – so that I would seek His face, get to know Him better. and learn to rely solely on Him.
Mentoring is first seen in ancient Greece in Homer’s Odyssey. We see that Odysseus left his infant son, Telemachos, in the care of a friend named Mentor. The relationship between Telemachos and Mentor came to define mentoring as a process where an older person helps to counsel and guide a younger person. Over the years it has evolved into more than just a relationship, often becoming a program where adults train and become mentors for young people in need of guidance.
We also see a type of “mentoring” mentioned in Titus 2: 3-5. Paul calls the older women of the church, who were examples of loving their husbands, their children, being reverent, godly, modest and wise, and appointed them the job of teaching the younger woman. Paul’s message was always that he preached and taught what he was already living.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” In Titus the older women were encouraged to develop a ministry of teaching younger women, beginning with the lives that they lived.In this passage, the older woman was technically one who had raised her children, but there is no chronological age given. It suggests that you should start with your own children, and if your children are grown, you should begin to look for opportunities to encourage younger women and share with them from your years of walking with God, first by example, then with your words.
In verse 5, the older woman is told to admonish, which means to teach, train, and encourage. In context it is implied that this was a process of teaching, encouraging, training, and holding the younger women to a standard that was unfamiliar to them and yet important for the success of their marriages and families. The phrase in Titus 2:4 that says that they admonish is the Greek word “sophronizo”, meaning to train someone in self-control, restore to senses, admonish and exhort earnestly.
It is important that we see that the first priority was that the older woman be one whose godly example is what speaks first, and that she be a woman of character whose life challenges others to examine their own lives. The natural outcome of this will be that others are drawn to her and will want her to speak in to their lives.
If you have ever wondered where all the Titus 2 Women are, here are some things you can do:
- Look around you. Observe the older women you know or are acquainted with. Do you see a life and family relationships that you would like to emulate? Pray for God to open your eyes to the women who are already in your life.
- Invite older women for coffee. Show them that you value them. Ask them about their kids, what they are reading for their quiet time, and let them know that you are interested in getting to know them. They may be surprised to know you want their input. Often younger women seem so self-confident that it can appear as though they don’t really need the older generation.
- Read books written by older, godly women. My suggestion is that you read as many books as you can that are written by women who are older and who have faithfully lived their callings. I know that younger women are learning and have much to share, but often what we share when we are younger can be information that is still “theory” in our lives. A woman who has lived her callings can share information that she has lived outs, and the years often tend to sift out the information that isn’t really that vital.
- Do some heart evaluation. Ask yourself the question: “Do I really want to be admonished, taught and encouraged in the way Titus Two is describing?”
The desire to have someone invest in you as a younger woman is a good one, and shows a great deal of humility and maturity. Keep praying for God to provide that for you, and then look for the different ways that God is meeting that need. You might be surprised what you find.