Withness

I’m writing this blog on the morning it’s due to post, which is very typical for me. As the weekend is approaching, and I’m thinking about everything that needs to be done, it’s looking a little crazy. I’ve got the week’s ironing waiting for me, the house really needs a good going over, I’ve started this horrible project of sanding and repainting the kitchen chairs, the kids have tests coming up, I’ve got to get the dog to the Vet, I’ve got to get my Sunday school lesson ready (and make it really good, because I’m starting to train someone new to take over my class;)), I’m starting a new Bible College class next week and haven’t done near the work I need to in planning out the semester, I’ve got about 40 ladies coming over for a cupcake workshop on Saturday morning, then lunch and a fun baseball game with all the pastors and their families at my home in the early afternoon, then visitation later that evening. Even writing about it all stresses me out a little. But that’s usually the way we roll in the Holt house.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I really wouldn’t have it any other way. And I bet I know what you’re thinking as you read my list of activities for the next few days…..”SHE thinks SHE’S busy? She has no idea what my schedule looks like.”

And I’m sure you’re right. We’re all busy about doing the things we think are most important. Days are short, there’s so much to get done, and time just seems to slip through our fingers. We’re busy keeping up with the daily grind, caring for our families, and trying to put as many things on the list that have eternal value as we can.

But many of us are leaving something out. We’re forgetting a very important task. And it’s probably because it’s not an easy or convenient one. I’ll tell you what it is in just a bit. Just let me give a quick personal illustration first.

When I was 14, I went to church for the first time. My uncle (the “weird” religious one in the family) pastored a church, and my mom and I drove the hour drive to visit for a special Sunday with my Grandmother who had come up from Florida to Tennessee. After the service, my aunt asked me if I had ever accepted Christ as my personal Savior. I had no idea what she meant; so she explained it all to me, and I was saved that same day. My mom and I both were very excited about my decision. We went back the next Sunday for my baptism. The next two Sundays we visited two different churches in our area. But after that, we stopped going. I never opened my Bible my uncle had given me and I stopped praying. I didn’t even really know how to pray or read my Bible. Eventually, that excitement I felt about my new life in Christ just sort of withered away, and everything went back to normal.

Over the next 5 years, I graduated high school, got into a lot of trouble, made a lot of mistakes, nearly married the wrong person, and just made a complete wreck of my life. I had completely forgotten about my salvation experience all together.

But obviously the story doesn’t end there. I’m a missionary now, so things had to get better, right? They certainly did get better. At 19, I hit all all-time low, which thankfully sent me running back to God and my uncle for help. And God has been so good and gracious to me every since. He’s worked in my life in miraculous ways, and still continues to work on all my many rough edges.

I take full responsibility for my actions as a young teenager. I’m not trying to shift blame for all my mistakes. But as I have worked with other young ladies in the ministry over the years, I can tell you that something crucial, and very biblical was missing in my life at that time: withness.

I needed someone “with” me.

Take a look at this passage of Scripture. Paul is writing to Titus trying set in order the things that are “wanting” in Crete:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. – Titus 2:3-5

Sadly, not much has changed since Paul’s day. These same things are “wanting” today. Twenty years ago, I needed an “aged woman” to come along side me, to be with me. I firmly believe that if I had had that, my story would have been different.

And today, so many young ladies need that very same thing. They need withness. And we “aged women” who have been in this walk for a while now must step up to our biblical calling and be with them! It’s the way Jesus taught His disciples, and it’s the best way for us to teach young women today.

If you take a good look at this list of lessons in these verses, you’ll see that they are not easily taught in a Sunday school class or a ladies meeting. The best way to teach a young lady to be a keeper at home is to invite her into your home. Let her watch you separate your laundry and learn your tricks for getting tough stains out, teach her how to cook healthy meals for her future family as you’re preparing one for your family. Let her see how a family who loves God sits down for a meal together. Talk about what you’ve read in your Bible, and ask her what she’s read. Watch how she acts with young men, and speak to her in love about how she ought to act. Let her see you react when your child spills milk all over the floor. Be WITH her.

I know you need to go to the grocery store today. I know you could write messages in the dust on your furniture. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all busy. But let’s be busy WITH someone who needs to learn from us. Get your grocery shopping done today, but stop by her house and take her along. Let her watch as you decide which cuts of meat to buy. Let her dust with you when you get home. And talk to her about Christ while you do it.

Today I have a full plate. But when I pick the kids up from school, I’ll be stopping by another school and picking up three teenagers like I do every Wednesday. They’ll come home with me. We’ll eat some cookies, talk about their week, discuss what we’ve been reading in our Bibles, talk about a book we’re reading together, make dinner together, sit and eat together, then go to church. In that 4 hour stretch, they are watching my every move: the good and the bad. They are WITH me.

Let me be honest. Do I dread Wednesdays sometimes? Yes. Do I want to cancel sometimes because I’m lazy? Yes. Do I sometimes feel like I have better things to do? Yes. I have to push myself to continually let young women in my life. It takes so much extra work.

But even though it’s not easy, I know I have a responsibility to be WITH young ladies. I believe it’s one of the most important things I can do for world evangelism. We can’t just win people to Christ and send them on their way. We need to be WITH them. Would you take some time a pray about who you could be with this week? So many young ladies need an “aged woman” in their lives.

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  • 9 thoughts on “Withness

    1. Wonderful words of wisdom Lori! And so important for us today. I was just challenged by this same thought in the True Woman 101: Divine Design Bible study. God bless you as you make time to be with young women there in Chile!

    2. Such a fantastic, challenging testimony and something I am working on in my own life. With 5 kids, ages 12 and under in my home, it is easy to get busy doing my own things. But, I have been a Christian since I was a child, so I am an “aged woman” in the sense of spiritual things, and I know I need to focus on being around younger Christians more often. Thank you for this challenge!

    3. This is very encouraging! It’s encouraging to know that when a Christian backslides and gets out of God’s will, they can always come home again! Also, I am a young girl myself(21!) and I know from personal experience that it does make a difference when someone takes up that time with you and when you have that influence in your life, someone you can look up to and learn from!

    4. Excellent post. I believe there’s a HUGE need for mentoring for young women. Sadly, even when you mentor, some will make awful decisions anyhow. Once, I had a young woman come back to church and God. She said, “I knew because you told me.” She’s with us years later, probably my most faithful woman in the church. I loved your emphasis on being real and letting them see.

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