Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18 NIV)
At the beginning of the summer, my younger cousin and I decided that we would go for a brisk run a few times a week. In the days leading up to our first run together, she talked a lot of trash about how far she could run. She told me that if I wasn’t able to keep up with her then I was truly out of shape. She went on and on talking about what she could do, much like many other young people I know. The evening of our inaugural run proved to be a much different story than what she had proclaimed for several days prior. After jogging for about a minute and a half she had to stop and take a break. I thought, “Surely, this can’t the same girl who told me that I was out of shape?!” There was at least a two block stretch between the two of us for the duration of our 45 minute run. Under normal circumstances, I would have used that entire situation as an opportunity to rub it in her face and remind her of all the trash that she talked beforehand. However, God used the situation to show me what my responsibility as an older, wiser woman is.
As we grow older, we tend forget that we were once the same hard headed, know-it-all, think our men and friends are God, can’t tell me anything, young girls that we despise so much. It’s so easy to get frustrated and give up on the younger women. However, we have been given specific instructions about how we are to train and mentor the ones coming behind us:
Then they [older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5 NIV)
As I mentioned before, I was a great distance ahead of my cousin but I would periodically turn around to make sure that I could still see her. I had to ensure that she was still making progress. As long as she was still pressing forward, I was leading her along the path and not leaving her. It is imperative that the older generations don’t get so caught up in running our race that we aren’t checking on those coming behind us. Yes, it may take them a little longer to understand or even want to understand, but we have to make sure that they are still pushing forward. If I couldn’t see her when I turned around, I would pause for a moment to give her a chance to get in my eyesight. Maybe it’s time that we pressed pause on our lives to check on the progress of the young women around us.
Occasionally along our running path I would notice a large stick or stone. Since I knew she was coming behind me, I would take a moment to kick it out of the way. I was concerned that she would not see the hazards and stumble and fall. It seems that we have gotten to a point where we want the younger generations to overcome all of the obstacles that we had to and struggle the way that we did. I definitely think we must be cautious in our approach so that we aren’t nurturing a bunch of spoiled brats; however, it is equally important that we make life a little easier for those coming up in the rear. Share what you have learned so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes. Because you are more mature and wiser, you can recognize hazards in relationships or friendships long before they see them. Help them to recognize and remove those things and/or people that would be detrimental to their future.
My cousin made it home about ten minutes after I did. Again, I could have taunted her and reminded her that I was the one out of shape. Instead, I chose to congratulate her on a job well done. After all, the race is not given to the swift… More important than me winning was me celebrating how far she had come. Ironically enough, I didn’t have to say anything. Her first words were, “Whew! I’m really out of shape!” I know it’s definitely tempting to get in her face and say, “I told you so!” after she makes a mistake. But if she has already realized what went wrong along her path, then celebrate her progress! Revelation is cause for celebration!
One last important point to remember is that we too can learn something from the youngsters. This entire EmpowerMoment was a lesson learned from a 22-year-old. Please don’t ever get to so “learned” that you aren’t teachable—even by those younger than you.
I know that these teenage girls and young 20 somethings can be a handful, but we cannot give up on them. We have been given a biblical charge to train, mentor and love on them until they get it right. Remember 10, 20, maybe even 30 years ago when you were the same person you now want to write off…
Please forgive me for the times that I acted as if I was better than the young ladies that You have surrounded me with. Help me to live a life that is fitting to be imitated. Give me the words to speak that would encourage, uplift and inspire the younger generations. I thank You for entrusting young women in my care; help me to live up to Your expectations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Today, I EMPOWER you to take an active mentor role in that young woman’s life. If you aren’t sure who that young woman is, ask yourself whose decisions and actions really baffle and anger you. You are the one that God wants to use to EMPOWER her! Choose to make an investment in the lives of your daughters, nieces, cousins, students, co-workers, etc.
Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible more than anything. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.