The Gift of an Older Woman




As I moved through different seasons of my life as an adult, each season increased my desire for older women to be a part of my life and I often sought them out for their wisdom and knowledge. An extra bonus was the patience they demonstrated as they listened to my questions or ramblings about my own life.


Even though we live in a culture where age does not tend to be valued as highly as youth. One thing seems evident. There are some seasons and circumstances that seem to naturally nudge us to look to an older person. It is especially true when we are facing something totally new and perhaps scary. We look for someone who has experienced it and can give us the information we seek as well as model the courage we need to face it ourselves.


One common time for us as women is when we become pregnant with our first child. Oh, yes, we like hearing how our friends have experienced it and what they can share. They know all the latest things we need for the nursery and where the best places are to buy them. But sooner or later, we will invariably seek out an older woman whom we trust and respect for the type of knowledge no one else can impart.


Nothing can replace the lived experience of someone who has traveled the path that now lies ahead of us.


 As I continue reading the passages in Luke and Matthew journeying toward Bethlehem and Christmas Eve, what Mary chooses to do after the news Gabriel delivers to her makes a great deal of sense. In addition to learning she, a virgin, would bear a child who would be the Son of God, Gabriel tells her that her cousin Elizabeth is now in the sixth month of her own pregnancy despite being old and barren. Gabriel adds that “nothing will be impossible with God” not only to point to Elizabeth’s pregnancy, but perhaps also as an encouragement to Mary about what is about to happen to her.


Scripture does not say when or how she told her parents the news. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be. Her news might mean Joseph would divorce her or that she might be stoned. There is no precise information about when or how she told Joseph the news either.


One thing is certain.


The Lord had entrusted a great deal on His call on this young teen’s life!


What scripture does tell us is that she “made haste” to go visit Elizabeth. I resonate with that decision. There was another older woman who had a special call on her life and was pregnant despite having been old and barren. Gabriel had spoken to her as well so Mary probably felt sure Elizabeth would understand and be able to possibly give her wise counsel.


I think it’s unlikely Mary would head out on this trip without her parents approval and knowledge. I might also think she would have an escort since it would not be wise or safe for a virgin to travel unaccompanied. Maybe this was also space for Mary’s parents to come to grips with what she had told them and let her get out of the village for awhile as they considered what to do next.


What scripture is clear about is Mary quickly left Nazareth and headed for the hill country to an unnamed town in Judah to see Elizabeth. As soon as they saw each other, the Lord confirmed to both women that each was carrying a very special son because the baby inside Elizabeth leapt as soon as he heard Mary’s voice and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.


We also know from that same passage that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months. What a special time that must have been for both women! I would have loved to hear more about the conversations they must have had about God’s election of each of them and how they would be forever linked more powerfully than through their biologic relationship.


As a woman, I am sure there were some practical things being discussed between these two women. What would labor and delivery be like? How would they go about mothering these babies whose lives would change the world? What was going to happen when Mary returned to Nazareth? Would Joseph still marry her?


Elizabeth and Mary had both been favored by God to be chosen. I might think they would be filled with wonder and talk with each other about why they might have been chosen. Neither could yet know the pain that would pierce their hearts, as each would have her son die far too early in life.


What a gift for God to give Mary! An older woman with whom she could share this unique journey!


 Elizabeth demonstrated what Paul describes as a Titus 2 woman, “teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”











44 thoughts on “The Gift of an Older Woman

  1. What a wonderful post. I can still remember hearing all of the family stories my mother, aunts and grandmother used to tell when they were all together preparing a meal or just enjoying each other’s company. Although some of the same stories were told over and over again, it was wonderful to just to sit and listen to my elders. Now those family stories are ingrained in my heart. Thank you for sharing your article with #blogginggrandmothers.

    1. Thanks so much! I loved those stories as well and now as the older woman, I smile to think it is my stories of them that are behind heard in my kitchen and family room. So glad to have you stop! This post is one of a month long series of looking at the scenes we know so well through the eyes of the ordinary people He chose to bring about His Kingdom. The posts go up every M, W, F and began on Dec. 5. Christmas blessings!

  2. This is so good! We certainly do need older, more mature women in our lives (and I’m now realizing that I have become that older woman to some!) and the story of Mary and Elizabeth is such a prime exapmle. God certainly thinks of everything in His plan—He knew exactly what Mary would need and from whom. Lovely to ponder in this Advent season! Stopping by from #SittingAmongFriends 🙂

    1. Yes, Laura, He does indeed think of everything down to the smallest detail! It can be so easy to miss the intricacy of His design and planning. So glad you stopped by! This post is one of a month long series looking behind the scenes of the Christmas images we know so well to perhaps gain a new perspective of how God chose ordinary people for His work and when they submitted, their names have echoed down through history to now. The posts go up every M, W, and F all month and I would love to have you visit. Christmas blessings on you and yours!

  3. What a great and thought provoking post. The younger generation sometimes looks at us and says we’re old fashioned. Sometimes though old fashioned works just fine. Thank you for partying with us at Blogging Grandmothers Christmas Link Party. We’ve shared your post on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

    1. Thanks so much! I love connecting with all of you! Christmas blessings on you! I hope you will check out the rest of this Christmas series of blog posts that will be up every M, W, and F through December.

  4. These were such beautiful thoughts, seeing Mary as one willing to be connected with the generation before her. I have always enjoyed connecting with women who are older than me, and realized recently that it was my own Mother who encouraged that in me. She would send me with cookies or bread to give to the older women in our neighborhood, and I would usually end up staying & chatting. My Mother knew the gift that was there for both of us in the sharing. Now that I’m sometimes considered one of the older ones, I’m even more glad for that truth my Mother taught me. What a joy Mary and Elizabeth shared! –Blessings to you this Christmas!

    1. What a beautiful remembrance of your mother, Bettie! How quickly time passes and we take their place! Thanks for your warm wishes! Blessings of Christmas for you as well! I hope you are blessed by the other parts of this Christmas series that will last throughout the month.

  5. I love this post and I have also written about Mary and Elizabeth. I am the older woman now and my “one word”, (although it is actually two words) for 2017 is YOUNG WOMEN. I recently spoke at a large retreat with so many young moms in attendance and the Lord really impressed upon me that I need to be more intentional about Titus 2. Great word!

  6. Hi Pam! I like to think about what went on those three months myself. I always thought that Mary was very happy to ‘get out of Dodge’ and go a distance away to settle her soul. Having a cousin who was also dealing with a miraculous pregnancy was such a bonus too. Like you, I’m sure they were happy to talk about the pregnancies, but I wonder how much both of them were overwhelmed that there was a pregnancy at all?

    It reminds me too of how much we need our mothers. They are the ultimate ‘older woman’, and certainly I didn’t take advantage of mine as much as I could have. All that knowledge! How beautiful that Elizabeth shared while Mary served, both doing what they were called to do.

    1. Could not agree more, my friend! The sad truth is that we often do not realize how much our mothers have to share with us until they are no longer with us. I sometimes think it is because we see them in the role they are to us (mother) versus women who had lives before they were a mom as well many things we never saw or heard they did or enjoyed when we left home to start our own family. Love to you! Stay warm!

  7. What a beautiful reminder of how important older generation can play in our lives. Wonderful how you wove the scriptures and the reminder of how Mary and Elizabeth played such an important part in the lives of two great men. Thank you for linking up with Blogging Grandmothers.

    1. I am so glad you were blessed! I had a great time imagining what it might have been like for the two of them beyond what scripture shares…just because as a women, we know how we tend to connect. Blessings on your day!

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