Older women…encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, (Titus 2:3,5 NASB).
As far as I can remember, my Grandma Edwards was always old. She didn’t have many material possessions, but she had a sharp mind, a determined spirit, and buckets full of love. She was a small-framed woman who raised a family of five children during the depression by running a country general store and harvesting produce from her garden. Her waist-long, tightly braided hair wound around her head like a crown, and her teeth came out at night.
Another thing that always amazed me as a little girl was Grandma’s undergarments. She wore knit baggy underwear that hung down to her knees and an equally attractive T-shirt to match. I never saw these undergarments anywhere except on Grandma’s clothesline, so I decided there must be a special “Grandma store” that sold baggy underwear just for grandparents.
Grandma never drove a car, but she would ring up the grocery store and a box of supplies would magically appear on her back stoop. Grandma’s house was filled with the aroma of strong coffee and fresh-baked biscuits. There was also the scent of salve, which was the cure-all for any ailment, and of snuff, which she would sneak between her cheek and gum when she thought I wasn’t looking.
Each summer I would spend a week at Grandma’s house. The highlight of our day was watching Perry Mason on her big black-and-white television. We drank Coca-Cola from cold glass bottles and ate peanut butter crackers. Grandma had a standing date with Perry each day. If someone “came a’callin’ ” during that time, they knew to pull up a chair, grab a Coke, and wait until the verdict was in before conversation could commence.
During my weeks with Grandma, there were no trips to fast-food restaurants or shopping sprees at the mall. That’s just not what grandmas were for. So what did I do for seven days? I did what Grandma did (except dip snuff). I made biscuits, shelled lima beans, canned vegetables for the following winter, and learned how to sew.
When I was six-years-old, Grandma taught me how to turn a square piece of daisy-covered fabric into a gathered apron with a big bow in the back. At seven, we transformed a rectangular piece of floral cloth into a jumper with big ball buttons on the straps. At eight, we conquered the zipper.
Without realizing it, my grandmother was being a Titus 2 woman. “Older women…encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home.” It was her inheritance to me.
Grandma didn’t leave me a sum of money when she passed away, but she left something much more valuable. God used her to show me that leaving an inheritance to our children is so much more than money in the bank, well-invested mutual funds, and valuable heirlooms. It is leaving them memories of simple times together, showing them on how to become men and women of God, and leaving a legacy that causes them to “rise up and call you blessed.”
What sort of legacy will you leave behind? What will your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews inherit from you?
Dear Lord, help me to leave a godly heritage and invest love today that will multiply tomorrow. Help me to always remember what is important—not money in the bank, but God in the heart. Help me to be the type of woman that we read about in Titus 2 who exemplifies what You desire.
In Jesus’ Name,
What do You Think?
Read Luke 1:36-45, 56 and note ways that Elizabeth encouraged Mary.
What are some ways that you can be an example to younger women in your sphere of influence?
Let’s celebrate. Click over to my blog page and tell me the name of one woman who has been an example of a godly woman to you.
If you are a mother or grandmother, one of the most important things you can do is to pray for your children and grandchildren. I’ve created a small inexpensive laminated prayer card with Scripture to pray for children in the most important areas of their lives. And if you are a mom who needs a bit of encouragement, check out my book Being a Great Mom-Raising Great Kids. It has been encouraging moms around the world for over ten years!
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,
(James 5:16b NIV).
“There are saints of God who for long, long years have been shut off from all the activities of the Church, and even from the worship of the sanctuary, but who, nevertheless, have continued to labor together in prayer with the whole fellowship of the saints. There comes to me the thought of one woman who, to my knowledge, since 1872 in this great babble of London, has been in perpetual pain, and yet in constant prayer. She is today a woman twisted and distorted by suffering, and yet exhaling the calm and strength of the secret of the Most High.
“In 1872 she was a bed-ridden girl in the North of London, praying that God would send revival to the Church of which she was a member, and yet into which even then she never came. She had read in the little paper called Revival, which subsequently became, The Christian, the story of a work being done in Chicago among ragged children by a man called D.L. Moody.
“She had never seen Moody, but putting that little paper under her pillow, she began to pray, “O Lord, send this man to our Church.” She had no means of reaching him or communicating with him. He had already visited the country in 1867, and in 1872 he started again for a short trip with no intention of doing any work.
” Mr. Lessey, however, the pastor of the church of which this girl was a member, met him and asked him to preach for him. He consented, and after the evening service he asked those who would decide for Christ to rise, and hundreds did so. He was surprised and imagined that his request had been misunderstood. He repeated it more clearly, and again the response was the same.
“Meetings were continued through the following ten days, and four hundred members were taken into the church. In telling me this story Moody said, ‘I wanted to know what this meant. I began making inquiries and never rested until I found a bed-ridden girl praying that God would bring me to that Church. He (God) had heard her, and brought me over four thousand miles of land and sea in answer to her request.’”
One little crippled lamb by the name of Marianne Adlard, uttered fervent prayers to Almighty God on behalf of her flock and God sent a shepherd to gather the sheep from all around England. You may not feel that you have the ability to change the world for Christ, but consider this…one crippled girl impacted the world through her prayers. You can do the same. Amazing…the power of a woman’s words to God in prayer!
Dear Lord, thank You that You allow me to come into Your presence at any time. I confess that I do not pray enough. I confess that I do not take the power of prayer as seriously as I should. Help me to become a prayer warrior who intercedes for others. Teach me how to pray.
In Jesus’ Name,
What do You Think?
As you pray for other people, consider praying Scripture for them. Turn to Philippians 1, Colossians 1, and Ephesians 1 to see how Paul prayed for fellow believers.
Now pick one of those passages and pray for 5 people in your life today.
Let’s pray for each other. Click over to my blog page a at www.sharonjaynes.com and leave a prayer request. Then pray for the request before you and after you.
I learned some time ago that what God had to say to me was much more important than what I had to say to God. Prayer is both speaking and listening to God. If you’re having a difficult time listening to God or want to learn more about hearing His still small voice, check out my book, Becoming a Woman who Listens to God. You’ll learn how God speaks, how to remove obstacles that block our ability to hear, and how to hear him more clearly.
Love is patient, love is kind…it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs, (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV).
I sat with an older woman as she began enumerating her family’s shortcomings. “Callie never comes to see me,” she began to complain about her granddaughter. “And she never calls me either. I saw her sitting on the other side of the church last week and she didn’t even come over and give me a hug.”
“Benjamin is just as bad,” she continued, talking about her grandson. “He never comes by unless he wants something. I never hear from him, but if he wants money for a mission trip you better believe I get a letter. He’s just like his father,” she continued. “He never pays any attention to me unless he wants something.”
Throughout our time together, Mrs. Barnett mentioned several family members and friends who had disappointed her, who had not lived up to her expectations, and who had not given her the love she “deserved.” The more I listened; the clearer a picture began to take shape in my mind.
I envisioned Mrs. Barnett with a big stack of scorecards. At the top of each card was a name: a grandchild, a child, a friend, a pastor, and yes, even one with my name printed across the top. If someone telephoned her, they got 1point. If they stopped by for a visit, they got 1 point. If they gave her a hug without being asked, they got 1 point. If they told her she looked pretty, they got 2 points.
However, if they did not show the proper display of affection, they lost 5 points. If they did not come by for a visit within the expected amount of time, they lost 5 points. If they did not send her a card on the appropriate days, they lost 5 points. Birthday cards, Christmas gifts, phone calls, visits, etc, were all tallied on mental scorecards for later retrieval. She was very busy keeping track of all the plusses and minuses for each person.
I shook my head to clear away the movie being played in the theater of my mind and tried to pay attention to our conversation. After all, I didn’t want to get a bad mark on my scorecard that day.
Friend, let me tell you a great life lesson. As long as this woman keeps mental scorecards on the people in her life, she is going to be miserable. And if you or I keep scorecards for the people in our lives, we will be miserable as well.
First Corinthians 13 says, “Love is patient, love is kind…it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
Love is about giving – not necessarily about giving money or gifts, but giving love. Can I say that again? Love is about giving love. Love does not keep arecord of wrongs or perceived wrongs. It does not involve an accounting tally sheet of debits and credits or scorecards of plusses and minuses. It does not keep a running list of kindnesses to reward those who come out on top and shun those who do not.
Self-centeredness says, “What has that person done for me lately?” Love says, “What can I do for that person today?”
Self-centeredness makes mental lists of how others have disappointed them. Love makes mental lists of ways they can bless others.
Self-centeredness withholds affection and approval from those who don’t deserve it. Love gives affection unconditionally because none of us do deserve it.
Self-centeredness says, “Come here and give me a hug.” Love says, “Come here and let me hug you.”
Can you tell the difference? A ten-year-old certainly can. He or she might not be able to verbalize the difference or even recognize it, but they certainly feel the difference in the pit of their stomachs and in the tenderness of their hearts.
With genuine love, there are no scorecards. I’m certainly glad God tore up mine long ago.
David wrote, “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sin, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3 NIV). Certainly not me!
If God doesn’t keep a scorecard, making notes of the ways I have offended Him, disappointed Him, or not given Him the attention He deserves, then why do I think I have the right to keep scorecards on the people in my little world? He doesn’t give plusses and minuses and then tally up our cards to see whether or not we deserve His love. So why do we do it to others? God gives and gives and gives, and gets very little in return. Why does He do that? Because He loves you and me perfectly, wholly, and unconditionally.
Scorecards. Do you keep them? Do you keep mental lists of what people do and don’t do to deserve your love? If so, you’ll never be content or at peace in your relationships. No one may see the scorecards sitting on your coffee table, but they’ll know they are there. They will see them in your eyes, hear them in your tone, and sense them in your touch. And there may be a few brave souls who refuse to play the game and decide to bow out of your life altogether.
Here is what I would like to suggest. Tear up the scorecards. Here’s how:
Get a stack of index cards. Write one person’s name at the top of each card. Start with your children, your grandchildren, your parents, your in-laws, your spouse, your siblings, your pastor. Then move on to your circle of friends. Beside each name, write the words, “Scorecard.” For example: Beth’s Scorecard.
Hold the stack of scorecards in your hand and pray:
“Dear Lord, I am no longer going to keep a scorecard for ____________. Help me love like You love – unconditionally, with no strings attached. Help me to be thankful for the attention I do receive rather than resentful for what I don’t. I do not want to become a bitter old woman that people avoid, but a grateful, graceful lady people enjoy. And Lord, whenever I begin to fall into the old habit of making mental notes of how someone did not live up to my expectations, I pray that You will convict me quickly and help me to replace the negative thoughts with a prayer of thanksgiving. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
After you have prayed, take each scorecard in your hands and tear it into tiny pieces. Now, throw them away. Be free. Be blessed. Enjoy life.
If you actually did this exercise, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and say, I did it!
One of the ways we build relationships or destroy relationships is with the words we speak. Words can make or break a marriage, encourage or discourage a child, draw in or push away a friend. If you would like to tame your tongue and learn how to use your words to speak life into those in your sphere of influence, check out my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words and accompanying study guide. It is a favorite for Women’s Bible studies and small groups.