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THE PARADIGM SERIES

"A PARADIGM FOR MOTHERHOOD"

Part III
TITUS 2:3-5
(Outfitting The Young Women With Spiritual Confidence)
Luke 1:42-45
Betty J. Winters

In the last discussion, "A Paradigm for Motherhood," the focus was on two saintly women, Mary and Elizabeth. I wish to continue with these women and show how Elizabeth helped to outfit Mary with spiritual confidence. You will recall that Gabriel has announced to Mary that she would be the mother of our Lord, and you will also remember that Mary decides to go to Elizabeth's house and spend some time with her.

Perhaps you are wondering, (as I did) what was going on in the mind of Mary as she started her journey from Nazareth to Judah. Mary was an ordinary woman who had been honored with an extra-ordinary privilege. Conceivably, she probably thought, "How will Elizabeth react when I tell her this story that an angel said I would be with child and still remain a virgin." She did not have to wonder too long because Scripture tells us (Luke 1:42-45) that when she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth that the "babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women…."

No doubt Elizabeth's verbal affirmation gave encouraging energy to Mary, causing her to praise God and rejoice in Him. If we, as older women, are to follow the mandate of Titus, we are to react toward the younger woman as Elizabeth did. We are to affirm and outfit the younger woman with spiritual confidence. It is necessary and important that we withhold criticism, but the other side of the coin is, we must express approval. Are you unable to express verbal approval because of how you were raised? Dare to become versatile. If you are serious about spiritual mothering, versatility is absolutely essential.

As an example of verbal affirmation, I want to use my daughter, Tori. I constantly express to her my appreciation of the "super" job she is doing as a wife and the exceptional mothering she gives to my two grandsons. Being a good wife and mother are important and she needs to know her mother approves. Begin at home, and it will be easy to affirm other young women.

I would be remiss if I did not say to the older woman that verbal affirmation (words of flattery) are not enough, but to outfit the younger woman with spiritual confidence, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to outfit the younger woman with Spirit-filled and Spirit-led words with the sole purpose that God will be glorified. Elizabeth said that Mary was "blessed among women." The word "blessed "means to speak well of, praise. Sure Mary was concerned about the gossipers in Nazareth, but Elizabeth assured her that women would speak well of her and praise her, and Mary believed and said …"all generations will call me blessed."

Older women, when a young woman confides in you that she is pregnant out of wedlock or a woman says, as a teenager that she had an abortion, neither woman needs to be condemned or convinced that she is wrong, but she does need to know that you will be a support to her and so will other women. She needs to know that God can work all things out for good-that He will forgive and cast our sins in the sea of forgetfulness and post a sign that says, "NO FISHING."

We must as older women let the younger woman know that we are grateful that we were chosen to share good news as well as bad. We cannot afford to be moody, or stone walled, but show warmth and openness to those who confide in us. The young woman needs to be reminded constantly that it is through obedience to the Word of God that will bring happiness-that she needs to pursue holiness, not happiness. As she pursues holiness, everlasting happiness will come. If we would become example to the younger woman, we need to be saturated with God's Word and forever hold it before the young women as the standard for faith and practice.

I challenge you to assume the responsibility to transmit Biblical truths to the younger women, be a spiritual trendsetter, and encourage the young women to not listen to dictates of the outside voices that embrace the New Age philosophies. I ask you, are your words are a fountain of life? Are you affirming other women? We cannot remain silent. Our task is to speak the words of life. Proverbs 20:15 says "Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel."

BE AN ELIZABETH AND AGREE TO OUTFIT THE YOUNGER WOMAN WITH SPIRITUAL CONFIDENCE.