Generational Relationships

Titus 2:1-5, 10b
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
10b. so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Recently I have had the privilege to go to two ladies’ conferences. I LOVE attending conferences. I love having set apart time to listen to speakers and learn. The social aspect of conferences has never been my favorite part, but these last two conferences have changed my perspective on that too.

Bethany and I
The first conference I went to was the Revive Our Hearts conference in Indianapolis. I went with my close friend, Bethany, and the entire trip was one of the most fun vacation trips I’ve had in years. This conference was lead by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and an amazing team of women over Nancy’s book, Adorned. I hadn’t had a chance to read the book before the conference, but as I’m reading it now I highly recommend it. The premise is based off of Titus 2:1-5, building generational discipleship relationships in order to better “adorn the gospel of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10). Later on my friend Bethany will be writing a guest post over how the trip went and what it was over. The fellowship I had with Bethany was the highlight of the trip. We have been friends since the beginning of our lives, and it is amazing how God has lined up our lives to be able to live through things together and encourage each other in the Lord.

The next conference I just got back from yesterday was at New Brunswick Bible Institute in Canada: Never Lose the Wonder. It was led by Donna Gassett and her daughter Sonja Leavitt.

Mom and I
I was already challenged from the first conference to 1) be more connected to older women in order to learn from them and 2) reach out to younger women to pass on what God has been teaching me. This second conference solidified what I was still processing and learning from the first conference. I loved seeing that the speaker was a team with her daughter. There is no better relationship I have to learn from and talk with than my mom, and seeing their connection through music and ministry was very encouraging. I got to go to this second conference with my mom, which made it more special for me.

Also, the group we went with from my church was filled with older women that I look up to a lot. Right at the beginning of the retreat, one of them gave me some very heartfelt advice…about my hair. My hair tends to be very poofy/frizzy, so I try to tame that for Sundays, and recently my choice of action was a hair straightener. I was told very decisively at the beginning of the trip that my hair looks so much better curly than straight. I was thrilled with the advice! I already knew it, and I let her know that me straightening it was more of a lazy action on my part, but the fact she noticed and wanted to give me advice on how to look was thrilling for me! Advice means more to me than a weekly compliment of “you look nice today.” Learning from older generation friends can be deeply spiritual, but it is also very practical and, in this case, amusing.

Katelynn and I
The next part that stood out to me was watching myself as an older generation friend. Whether I’m considered the younger or older woman in a relationship is solely dependent on the age of my friend that I’m currently with. One friend this weekend, Katelynn, impressed me so much with how actively she pursued our relationship, even though I am quite a bit older than her. She is currently a student at NBBI. Let me give you a quick mental picture of the moment I arrived. My mom and I arrived quite a bit later because we left after I got out of work, so Katelynn had been very attentively watching for me since the beginning of check-in to almost the end. The moment I finally walked in, I heard my name being screamed, then I watched her charge me and attack me with a massive hug. She then did a great job at following me around for the rest of the weekend. I say a “great job” because it is a job. I am notorious for slipping away from people and disappearing randomly, and each time I did that I was shocked at how fast she found me again. She is such a sweet friend, and we laughed non-stop together. The reason why I point this out is because her behavior was a challenge to me as a young woman with my older generational friends.

Titus says we are supposed to be learning a massive list of life skills from older women, and yet how many times do older women want to talk with us, teach us, or pass things on to us, but can’t because we are too busy with friends our own age? There is a two-way responsibility found in Titus 2:1-5. Older women are to teach, and younger women are to learn. If I followed around my older women friends and initiated conversation as much as Katelynn did with me this weekend, I guarantee I would be better off in my relationship with the Lord, friends, family, co-workers, and more. I was greatly challenged, and Katelynn got to see sides of me that I probably wouldn’t have shown her if she hadn’t followed me around so faithfully.

Sitting and listening to the speaker felt a lot like learning from an older woman as she encouraged us to worry less and pray more, never missing out on the wonder of what God is doing. Driving up to the Canada with my mom was also great, though we were fighting more to stay awake than having tons of conversations, but I learn so much from being close with her and watching her. Being with the ladies from my church was great as I got to hear their advice, laugh at their hilarious stories, and learn from their personal life experiences. Being with the students that are close friends of mine was such a blessing, as I’ve been challenged recently to be more open and honest in friendships, not running away but rather taking time to linger with them longer and enjoy talking and passing on whatever comes up in conversation.

I am feeling very blessed and spiritually full from both of the conferences, and I’m thrilled at how they were so complimentary, meaning God is still trying to grow me in this area. Generational relationships are a huge part of growing, and I highly suggest to women to read the book Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth to learn more on the topic. She does an amazing job at challenging every area of life to become more biblically sound through the network and accountability of relationships.

Hint to all men: this would be an excellent Christmas present for the women that you love most in your life. J


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