Five Ways to Be an Older Woman Younger Women Can Hear

They’re not listening.

This is the complaint I hear from my contemporaries about the next generations.

Women of a certain age worry about the generations coming up behind us.

We know we have a biblically-ordained responsibility to reach and teach younger women, but we flounder in this task. Largely because we view it as a task to be done, rather than an art to be practiced, an adventure to be lived, an act of love to be expressed with our whole being.

There’s a lot I don’t know about reaching the next generation. (I invite anyone under forty reading this to share your thoughts in the comments.) But, we all have to start somewhere. Certainly, younger generations are responsible to have ears that can ear, but older generations must do their part.

Here are five ways to be older women younger women can hear.

  • Live a Great Story – If the only Jesus-story or testimony you have to share is three decades old, it’s time to update your God-card. What exactly are you doing with this freedom Jesus died to provide?

If you’re reading your Bible, praying, obeying, worshiping, serving, giving, and sacrificing, there should be stories. If there aren’t, check in with a mature believing friend and ask God to refresh your assignment.

Don’t get stuck in a lesser story than Jesus designed you to live! Genuine, mature faith deepens like wine. Religious practice alone, like old bread, grows stale with time. Younger women yearn to be part of a great story. Older women living one will earn their attention. Once you have it, invite them to join you.

  • Vision Forward, Not Back – One of most ignored Bible verses is Ecclesiastes 7:10, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” Older woman are too often walking in the path of Lot’s wife – so busy looking back they’ve been left behind.

Travel light into tomorrow. Leave the past where it belongs. They weren’t better days, they were just different. Jesus is in this day and where He is is where we need to be, even when times are hard.

God designed you for these times. He designed you to be an older woman in these days. If your focus is the eternal adventure stretching before us, your eyes will be full of light. If your focus is the past, you risk the fate of Lot’s wife, simply a cautionary footnote who ended her future trying to cling to her past. We may not share a similar past with younger generations, but we share today, and we could be friends into eternity, so keep your vision focus forward and you’ll find more opportunity to make connections with youth.

  • Know Something About the Culture – Seriously, watch a movie made in the past five years. Check out a television show that’s not on TVLand or MeTV. Listen to the radio. Read a best-seller. Explore modern happenings.

If God called you to the mission field, you’d explore the culture. He’s called you to the next generations. Explore their culture – and not like it’s a smelly fish – like it’s a fascinating puzzle. Invite younger women over to binge watch something with them on Netflix or listen to their favorite musical artists. Trade off watching one of their favorite movies followed by one of yours. Ask them what attracts them to their entertainment choices.

Start a book club and invite the younger women. Switch off book choices by generation. Have a makeover weekend where the younger generation makes over the older and vice-versa. Be teachable, accepting, and curious. That’s a combination that is the foundation of role models. Laugh Easily. Love generously. Re-invent old age.

  • Be Vulnerable, Available, and Present – No matter how old we get, we’re sinners saved by grace alone. As we mature, we begin to get some things right, but we still fail. We don’t know everything. Forget the fake. Park your pretense. Let your vulnerability surface.

Confess your failures. Tell younger women your fears and needs. Be emotionally available and wholly present with the young woman beside you. Listen to her. Ask questions. Let time go lightly when she’s around. Be willing to go where she is when she’s available to talk. Younger women don’t want someone who’s perfect, they want someone who’s present.

Start an advice club where women share wisdom across generations. Older women can ask advice about talking with their daughters. Younger women can seek advice about careers, growing in faith, men, managing money. Single women can share counsel across generations. The middle generation can ask advice about dealing with aging parents. Widows can discuss dating with the thirty-somethings. We’ll get past the issues that divide if we don’t hide.

  • Finally, keep growing up. In this phase of life, we may be seniors, but in the light of eternity, we’ve only just begun. In 2 Peter 1:1-10, he lists eight qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love) that if we have them in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus. If we don’t increase in these qualities, we are nearsighted to the point of being blind. Make every effort to grow in these qualities and we’ll be effective and fruitful with the generations coming up behind us.

We lose a lot as we age. Here are some things to intentionally lose for the sake of building the kingdom in younger women – fear, a critical spirit, inflexibility, arrogance, hypocrisy, and pretense. We each contribute to the culture of women in the kingdom of Christ. What does it look like in your corner?

Add to my list. Comment with your own ideas about being older women younger women can hear.

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9 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Jan Clough says:

    Dear Lori,

    As with so many of your blogs the timing is just perfect.
    I have been in my church now for a little over a year after moving homes and seeking a spiritual home. Fast approaching 70yrs young and with a condition that can bring on fatigue l was determined not to be defined by either.
    As l patiently sought The Lords guidance and direction as to where l could use the giftings He has given me, He responded in a way that has brought about great fulfilment in many areas.
    I praise Him for the energy l desire and require and l thank Him for retaining the enthusiasm and love in my heart, especially for my dear sisters in Christ.
    Recently l asked The Lord to use me in anyway He saw fit, His will not mine, within a few days l was approached by one of my elders asking if l would be prepared to mentor a younger woman in our congregation. What a privilege l thought, oh! yes and also a challenge.
    I pray many older women will seek out their younger sisters giving them the time, wisdom ( learnt from past mistakes ), encouragement and love they so often desperately need. It can be so difficult juggling the demands of daily life trying to keep all those plates up in the air.
    My dear mother would often say – quote ‘ The greatest thing you can give is yourself’ Amen to that sisters!!!

    Thank you as always Lori for your wonderful encouragement and timely reminders.
    Bless you
    Jan x

  2. Barbara Latta says:

    This is one thing I struggle with, Lori. I have trouble identifying with the younger generation. Your list gives me a place to start and emphasizes the importance of leaving a legacy they can remember.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That was very helpful and something I’ve been pondering for awhile.

  4. Dee says:

    I’m excited about this post. Really helpful and encouraging for me. Thanks so much, Lori.

  5. Karen Gunnison says:

    As an old believer,was saved as a teen,I enjoy mentoring new believers and sharing how I’ve goofed,am still saved and striving to follow Him daily. We need to be real and honest to each other.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great word Lori…as usual. I am a 55 year old pastor. Men need to hear this too. I replaced every word “women” with “men”. I was convicted! I’m going to share this with some older men I know.
    Thanks, Mike

  7. Linda says:

    I love this blog as I wholeheartedly have realized how God‘s love for all can ignite our true selves if we grow in self compassion. As a believer and having faith in God, I pray we can join hands of all ages and share our hard and difficult to allow the love of Christ we all have available to transform our hearts❤️

  8. Deborah Kreyssig says:

    I love that you put a spotlight on this Lori. It’s such an honor to be able to mentor this next generation. They have a lot to offer. I think it needs to be like any relationship where it’s give and take. Share wisdom you have but also be willing to learn. We need to loose any judgemental attitudes we have and try to remember what it was like for us at their age. Even then, we can’t truly know what it’s like to be them because we have not walked in their shoes. Offer wisdom but let God’s Holy Spirit do the rest. Only He has all the answers and knows the plan for them. Pray for and with them and encourage them in love in their own walk with the Lord. I hope we take the time to do this. I know how much I have appreciated those who have mentored me. May we never be too busy to do the same.

  9. Cheryl Z says:

    Great advice! I’m 52 and have 8 children ranging from ages 31 to 11, so I’m continually learning about those generations, as I’m forced to live through them! The past 2 years have been especially enlightening, but I’m glad we talk now and then and I’m trying to keep up. I’m thankful for a few older women in my church that have befriended my teenaged daughters, and that my sons have access to a few older men, too. It’s crazy how quickly we can lose touch across the generations. We just need to do little things now and then to quit living in the past and keep moving forward.