The girls gathered round with their children, chatting and nursing and comparing baby stories. "Mine never sleeps through the night," one bleary-eyed mother says. "What about you, Sarah?"
Sarah smiles, "I'm too old to remember what happens thirty minutes ago, let alone last night."
The girls chuckle and admire her, she is ninety years old, still turning masculine heads with her feminine VAVOOM, and full of stories.
"Sarah, tell us the one about the King of Egypt, about how Abraham left you high and dry and you had to be part of the Pharaoh's harem," they'd say. Or, "Sarah, did you really beat the crap out of your maid, Hagar? How do you deal with your anger now?" Or, "Did you really let your husband have sex with Hagar? You know, I've thought about letting my husband, Joey the great goat shepherd, do the same thing. Every one's doing it."
"For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord" (1st Peter 3:5-6).
Have you ever read about Sarah in the Bible? She isn't someone that I want to imitate much of the time. She was worldly and angry. She had some really bad ideas. She said to Abraham something like, "Hey babe, make sweet, sweet love to my maid. It's all the rage in the secular world, and it'll get us the baby that God promised us, but can't seem to deliver on." Then when Sarah gets what she desires, she doesn't like it. And in one of the ultimate blame-shifts, she points the finger at everyone but herself. I hate how Sarah treated Hagar harshly. Poor lady! Like it's Hagar's fault Sarah told Abraham to have sex with her. I doubt Hagar got a vote.
But what I like about Sarah is this, in her old age she is still walking by faith. "By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised" (Hebrews 11:11). That act of faith happened at ninety years old! If I live to ninety, will I be walking with God in such a way that I still have acts of faith counted as righteousness? That would be awesome.
So, what are you looking for? Who do you want to be like? Do you ever look around at the women in your church and hope one of them will spend time with you? What kind of woman do you wish for? Does a woman's personality discount her? That one's too loud, this one's too quiet. Does a woman's past discount her? Peter is telling us to find a woman who has gone before us to be an example. But what kind of a woman is she?
She is a woman who above all is currently walking by faith, and that will be a woman who is looking to be submissive to her husband. She may not do everything right, but she is trusting God to sanctify her more and more. That's the older woman to model yourself after and get to know.
Have you ever run into an older woman who's quick to give you Bible verses, and she'll tell you a story of something that happened twenty years ago, but she won't share her current struggles? It's always what has happened but never what is happening? That is a turn-off to me. If you're still breathing, God should still be working. We should be hearing your current praises and prayer requests as much as your past issues. Sarah, at ninety, still had things to say and do in the present. She wasn't just remembering what God had done.
If you are older and you are still facing struggles and walking by faith, don't be scared to share that with younger women. Younger women need "real" women who can be honest about those things. We don't need older women who have it all together now, and only had issues twenty years ago.
Likewise, if you are a younger woman, please look for women who have a heart of faith. Don't judge them by their outer appearance (didn't we talk about that one already?). Don't judge them by their crazy past (you can get some good stories that way) or lack of a crazy past (just because they didn't do the wild things you did doesn't mean they can't give you godly advice), but be humble and trust that God can put women around you who will encourage you to walk by faith.
For more thoughts on mentoring, be sure to check out these posts as well:
"Warrior Wives Don't Fight Alone"
"Veteran Warrior Wives Needed"
Sharing with: Christian Mommy Blogger, Missional Women, Your Thriving Family