Women and Goodbyes and Purposeful Relationships
At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, there’s just something about the bonds between women. It doesn’t matter if it’s mother and daughter, sisters, friends, co-workers; when women find commonality and spend time together then the world is a better place. There is more laughter, more smiles, more things get done, and life seems a bit more doable.
I remember the moment I really owned this concept. It appeared in a goodbye.
The last night of my freshman year of college was over. It was the morning after, Chrestman second floor north was a deserted wasteland of empty dorm rooms, and our cars were packed to the brim with dirty laundry and mementos of a year well spent. We had foolishly stayed up all night long reminiscing and eating cheese out of a can, had scratched our names in the closet for future generations to find, and there wasn’t anything left but to say good-bye and leave.
So we stalled.
But, eventually, we had to say goodbye. It was only for a few months, but it felt like we were going to be parted for eternity. Who was going to IM me from next door? Who was I going to walk to the cafeteria with so I didn’t have to eat alone? Who was I going to prank like it was my job?
What was I going to do without them?
It all felt so deeply final. Here I had found my proverbial life soul mates, and now I was going to have to say goodbye.
Besides proving that I erred on the dramatic as a nineteen year old, looking back I know why I had “all the feels” that day. I had truly bonded with these women. We had lived inseparably for a year, and it had made a huge impact on my life.
In saying goodbye I felt the depth of what they meant to me (and, praise Jesus, still do), and I wanted to grasp it for as long and as deep as I possibly could.
And isn’t that what true friendship and communion with other women is really all about? Finding that moment that you don’t want to say goodbye.
There’s an importance in those relationships that is easy to skip over or take for granted. Luckily, I was reminded of that depth while studying Titus chapter two.
We know Paul had taken time to communicate to Titus some directives he needed to pass on to groups within the church in Crete. And there are a couple of verses dedicated to women - specifically in verses 3-4.
While I read, I got the feeling that Titus was supposed to remind the women of Crete that their relationships with each other were purposeful. He saw the opportunity for them to use their love in friendship to push one another in their pursuit of a godly life that honors the Lord.
I thought this was interesting because he didn’t have to tell the women to be in relationship with other women - basically, Paul and Titus knew that was already happening. That’s how women have always worked, even in Biblical times. We find each other, and we hold on. His reminders to women weren’t about finding relationships but about godly purpose within relationships that already exist.
And, I began to wonder if that was a needful reminder for the church in Crete, what does that mean for us today?
So, I took a closer look at those verses directed to women specifically:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-4
Those are some pretty specific instructions. When I dug a bit deeper, I learned a little bit more about what Paul meant:
- Reverent in their behavior - respectful, devoted
- Not malicious gossips - not slanderers or one who falsely accuses and divides people without reason
- Not enslaved to too much wine - not bound to / under direction of / obedient to
- Teaching what is good - with words and actions
- That they may encourage/train the young women
- Encourage to be sensible - discreet, has a sound mind, limits own freedom and ability with proper thinking, demonstrates self government with proper restraint on all passions and desires, one who voluntarily places limitations on their own freedom
- Encourage to be pure - chaste, freedom from defilements or impurities
- Encouraged to be workers at home - hard workers, set an example and do your job well, have a good work ethic
- Encouraged to be kind - good, benevolent, profitable, useful, doer of good, friend
None of these mandates from Titus would be new to the believer in Crete or to us. But what is new is the context - instructions in the context of relationship. Older and younger women living life together, helping each other to pursue holiness. It translates to a purposeful relationship - one that leads by example and offers accountability.
While we’ve been reading and studying Titus, the idea of influence has to be at the forefront of our minds. And since we are women and are already in relationship with numerous other women, then the next step is to take a good strong look at how we are using our influence.
- Are we different from what the world teaches women should be - petty, materialistic, catty, gossipy, two-faced, simple-minded, wishy-washy?
- Are we leading by example as women of Christ so that our sisters in Christ can emulate our behavior?
- Are we surrounding ourselves with women who can offer true accountability and call us out if we need it?
- Are we humble enough to listen?
There are so many women who have such a profound impact on my life - women who I hold close and to whom I never want to say goodbye. These women laugh with me, they walk with me through hard times, they learn God’s Word with me, they point out my moments of compromise, they teach me so many things by just living lives that honor our Lord, and I am better because of them.
My deepest desire and hope is they can say the same things about me.
Another desire I have is that you have the same hope within your relationships. Just like Titus spent time admonishing the women in Crete, let me admonish you - choose to see purpose in your relationships, specifically with women. You will always be an older woman to someone and a younger woman to someone else. Live life together and pursue holiness together. It may change everything.
Let’s live so that it’s so very hard to say goodbye.
Amy Bufkin has loved Jesus for as long as she can remember. Even though she basically lived at her local church growing up, her faith and relationship with The Lord was incredibly shallow until her early twenties. It was then Amy learned how to study her Bible, began to truly commune with God, and her shallow faith began to deepen as she got to know her Lord and Savior. Now her passion is to communicate the same truths that changed her life to young women in as many ways as possible. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook