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(A Time To Leave/A Time To Cleave)
Luke 1:56
Betty J. Winters

This is the last of a series of eight on "A Paradigm for Motherhood." In the last issue I concluded with the thought "care enough to be there and love enough to stay there." The reference of leaving and cleaving comes out of Matthew 19:5 and is mandated by our Lord in regards to marriage, but I want to use this in connection with the older woman who has taken on the job of equipping and encouraging the younger woman. The question then is when is the younger woman strong enough to leave and what are the criteria for her to cleave to the older woman? Whatever the choice, at the time, it will take the confidence of each woman to deal with the situation at hand.

So, what will motivate us as older women to help the younger woman leave or cleave? You will recall that in Part VII, "Comforting The Silent Sufferer," that I emphasized some do's and don'ts of the comforter as well as some ways the sufferer could remain strong during times of suffering.

If the choice is made to have the younger woman cleave, we must be motivated by love for the person and that love must be the nucleus to serve the other person until they are able to move forward. Just as the Lord asked Peter in John 21:15-17 about his love for Him, Peter's response would be ours based on our love for Jesus. Loving Jesus is a strong motivation to help the woman who must cleave.

What about the unconditional love of God for us? It is this love that will give us the strength to help the younger woman leave. A part of being an encourager to the younger woman is to give her Christ-Confidence so that she can move ahead. Elizabeth and Mary are classic examples. Mary was with Elizabeth for three months. Perhaps she wanted to remain longer. Scripture is silent regarding any advice Elizabeth might have given Mary. However, in Luke 1:39-45, it recorded that Elizabeth believed Mary was to be the mother of the Lord Jesus, so I believe Elizabeth would encourage Mary to leave, confront Joseph, the wagging tongues, and nodding heads and go on and face the world.

There are some things we cannot do and some decisions we cannot make for our younger sister. Whether you are assisting a biological daughter or a spiritual daughter, always remember that you can make a difference in their lives.

Your life should be one of value and no matter where you are on life's time-line, your experiences, your walk with the Lord are certainly worthy of perpetuating the younger woman. .

If you do this, your life will be the richer and women will be encouraged to STAND, the Lord will be GLORIFIED, and His WORD will be honored. .