Ellen Castillo. Ellen has been gifted to teach practical theology, equipping
the next generation of Christians in the application of biblical counseling and
mentoring. She is a Certified Biblical Counselor with the International
Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC) and
the American Academy of Biblical Counselors (AABC). She has worked as a
Women’s Counselor in the context of her local church ministry, and most
recently as the Founder and Director of Word Of Hope Ministries. This blog post originally appeared on the Word of Hope Ministries blog page. It is reposted with permission.
To My Younger Sisters in Christ,
As an older woman, I enjoy being a part of your life because I adore you and because God calls me to it. (Titus 2.)
You often let me in to your world – I have been to many gatherings where I cannot help but notice that I am the oldest one there! You are gracious to welcome me. I love you and want to “do life with you” as you call it (I call it that now, too, sometimes!)
You bless me the most when you seek me out intentionally. When you want advice or a shoulder to cry on or someone to just listen, you have let me in to the deeper struggles in your life and those are burdens I gladly share with you. Thank you for that deep privilege.
There are some things that I often hear as I join in discussion with other older women regarding your generation. The older women are good at talking about these things but we are not always good about passing them on to you (as we are called to do as your mentors!) Forgive us for being fearful of going to these hard places with you. We struggle with insecurities just like you do, and often we think we will say the wrong thing, or push you away. We are also very aware that we have plenty of struggles to address in our own lives and we don’t want you to think we see ourselves as know-it-alls. We have, though, walked through more years on this earth than you have. With that walk comes some wisdom.
Just a few of these things we are concerned about are on my heart. In love, I want to share them with you for you to pray over, speak with your husbands about these things, and of course seek God in His Word regarding these matters. His Word is sufficient, and it does address everything we struggle with at heart.
(My friends reading this, please don’t think I am addressing this to anyone specifically. I am addressing it to all women everywhere.)
*We are concerned about your view of relationships. This is due in large part to the presence of technology in your generation that did not exist in our younger years. We are concerned that you sometimes gauge your relationship “success” based on how many ‘likes’ you get or how many ‘friends’ you have on social media. We have the same temptations, but we also remember what it was like to pick up a phone and call those who did not live nearby or put a stamp on a letter which would take a week or so to arrive. That was the extent of our ability to have relationships and we did much more relating face to face. We think technology is wonderful. I use it daily! But the concern is that it has become a place to hide or a place to say things we would never say in person. As my Facebook feed scrolls by, I am often appalled at some of the things I see Christian young women posting. It is, simply put, ungodly.
Ephesians 4:29 ~ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
*We are concerned about where you are getting your information that drives your passions (and soapboxes!)So often it is from the internet rather than in God’s Word or from a godly advisor. This is another pitfall we see in social media. It is tempting to post blogs or quotes that are identified as truth when they really are just opinion or bias. These things often cause divisions among Christians, and can be bad for our witness to unbelievers. We are concerned that you (and we) are not always thoughtful or redemptive in the use of technology.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ~ Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
*We are concerned about your tendency to be performance-driven Christian women. Your generation is busier than any past generation. Whether a stay home mom or a working woman, your week is booked solid. There is little time for rest let alone family time that is not scheduled. We see this taking a toll on you, and many of us have fallen in to the same pit of performance mindset. We are concerned for your sake but also for the sake of the Gospel. Performance-driven women are misunderstanding the indicatives of the Gospel and how they cannot be separated from the imperatives. It is in Christ that you are already approved of. Your striving and performance can’t change that approval. There is no more to earn and there is none to lose. You forget this, or you have not studied God’s Word to understand it. It gets lost in the cultural bent towards busyness, and our hearts and churches bent towards legalism. We are concerned that you are not carefully guarding your hearts.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ~ For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
*We are concerned about your generation’s general lack of modesty. Not just your modesty personally, but modesty in general. Our culture is rampant with deviant behavior. True, evil has existed since the fall. But we see more socially deviant behavior than ever, including those who stalk the internet. When we see you post naked pictures of your sweet children, we want you to know that what you see as cute and harmless, someone else sees as temptation. It’s disgusting to go there in our minds, but it is out of caution and protection for the younger generations that we must consider the impact of EVERYTHING we do online. Be careful, ladies, your children must be protected. We are concerned that you might learn that the hard way. We love you enough to caution you to consider these things from older, wiser women who have seen more of sin’s impact on a family than you have so far.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
*We are concerned about your priorities and that your home might be child-centric rather than Christ-centered. Our culture tells you to have your children in activities all through the week and often on weekends. Our culture also tells you that you must keep your children happy and shelter them from life’s storms rather than teach them to face the trials in life by knowing God and walking with Him. Decisions are often made according to the impact on the children rather than on the impact on God’s Kingdom and your marriage and future. Marriages suffer because children come first before the spouse. Worse yet, they come first before Jesus. Church is often missed for the sake of the children’s activities. This is new to our generation – Sabbath used to mean something and schools and clubs were considerate of church activities. This shift in culture concerns us because we see how hard it is to raise children who love God and His church. We hope and pray that you are evaluating your priorites and choices in light of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Nothing else matters more than loving God and others and spreading the Gospel – not even your family matters more than that. We are concerned that this is getting lost as culture takes root in our churches and in our hearts. We hope to see you and your children rooted in The Gospel and The Word of God.
Matthew 22:37-40 ~ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
I am convicted by some of this, too, as I read what I felt compelled to write here. Pray for me. I often pray for you. Let’s keep doing life together, intergenerationally, for the sake of the Gospel!
From an older sister in Christ, with love.