Dearest 60-100+ Year Olds of the Church,
I recently sat in Sunday School with fellow couples raising young children, chatting about our week. Someone asked a question about my son’s health (post leukemia) and I explained the answer. The particular metaphor I used had come from Mrs. Judy, a 70 year old who I admire and call regularly for advice. Another mom commented, “Oh, wouldn’t it be great to have the grandmothers in our Sunday School class? Mentor Moms are the best!” The irony is that a class full of ‘silver haired saints’ sat across the hall less than 10 feet away.
We are ALL part of the problem. Let’s fix it together. We ARE listening to you, our elders. We young mothers who are trying to teach our children to walk humbly before our God and quickly to the bathroom to avoid accidents are eager for your wise counsel. We LOVE you.
I am abundantly blessed when a woman 30 years my senior calls me to see how my boys are doing or meets with me for lunch to laugh with me over how God interrupts our plans. Please hold our babies and return them with kisses. Godly young women spend billions on books and conferences learning how to be women who change hearts and the world while doing dishes and getting supper on the table –but we are hungry for fellowship. I love to discuss how our lives don’t look how we envisioned and bond over how God uses Down Syndrome, cancer, moves, prodigal teens, adults in rocky marriages or health problems– because we learn and encourage. The authenticity is amazing and you look so comfortable in your skin. (Thank you for telling us to moisturize our necks. Pearls of wisdom!)
Now, Grandpas, Elders, Deacons…guys who have walked with the Lord longer than I’ve been alive: We need you. The young wives whose husbands were unfaithful and left, leaving us to raise up young men with less than stellar examples NEED men to instruct our sons. I know a man who is an expert at teaching young men to tie a tie and give a firm, respectable handshake. These men teach the Word of God while teaching men great study habits and modeling what loving a woman for 40 years looks like. Meanwhile, we hear your comments about our generation and how hopeless it seems.
I spent much of last year in a hospital room, watching my infant son fight for his life. I watched children die, watched parents cling for scraps of hope, and suffer well. The ones who encouraged and taught me the lost were 10-40 years older. They had experienced loss, buried children, put kids through school, lost their spouses and were fighting leukemia simultaneously. They were my lifeline. They LIVED their faith well. Suffering taught me to LONG for Heaven, when all will be made new. In all honestly, some of you will be with Jesus within 10-25 years. Rather than sharing your hope and longing for Jesus, your speech seems utterly HOPELESS. You have the truth of Christ in you and have lived decades longer than us! You’ve witnessed marriages thrive, children mature into leaders, millions of acts of kindness and sacrifice… but you sit around getting angry after watching hours of the news on repeat. Rather than humbly praying or seeking to engage ‘problem causers’, we often see angry blame cast from the comfort of a recliner. That doesn’t show us how to engage and fix problems. We want to emulate you, but we don’t want to turn into the example many of you and your peers are setting. We watch you on Sunday morning AND Friday evening.
Backtracking and explaining SIN ruins the world is difficult when a child thinks following Christ is determined by which party we vote for or which news station we watch rather than serving the homeless or supporting the orphans. Lord have mercy. Help us to raise our children well.
Again, we WANT you in our lives. Rather than ‘spoiling our children and handing them back’, we see many of you volunteering for church functions, cheering the kids on at soccer games and holding hands with the wife of your youth. You can teach us to argue well and to not throw in the towel over wet towels on the floor…again. Teach us to love well and to abandon selfishness. We can get crafts and crockpot meals off of the internet. We can’t get great role models investing in our lives–which we desperately need. If you want to see your traits in the next generations you MUST TEACH US in a way we understand and then test to make sure we can emulate it. Then encourage us as Christ helps us write our own stories rather than making us carbon copies.
My favorite people in my life right now are 10-40 years my senior. Yes, I regularly call 50-70 year olds to touch base, to ask questions, and to share hilarious stories about raising boys. They invest in my life and I ‘keep them young’. Generations are meant to live intertwined lives. You have much to offer and we are yearning to learn it. Perhaps we can learn from each other and become more like Christ as we do it.
Also, let’s have Sunday School class together. We promise not to make too many age jokes when we study the Old Testament. We are eager to learn. Help us avoid sins that you battled. Help us learn from your experience. Model how to serve well. You can still change the world. You’re not in Heaven yet.
A Raised In the Church 30-something Wife and Mother Who Needs You