Thursday, December 8, 2011

For Love's Sake

I met Beth Moore last weekend. My friend Mary Margaret and I had attended one of her Living Proof Live conferences and we ended up at the same restaurant as Beth (another story) when the conference was over.  I waved at Beth and told her I’m from Arkansas (where she grew up). She immediately came over and gave me a big hug! It was such a neat moment for me and is a really special memory. I am a big fan of Beth Moore and have always thought it would be fun to meet her. And it was!

BMoore giving me a hug. Props to Mary Margaret for being quick with the camera!

But it was not the highlight of my weekend. I don’t say that to minimalize my Beth Moore encounter, because that was a really big deal to me. But also this weekend, I got to spend some time with one of my favorite people in the world: Margie Butler. I don’t know if she’ll ever read this and if she does it will probably make her uncomfortable because she prefers to be behind the scenes. Margie is married to my favorite seminary professor, Dr. Rex Butler, and while I was a seminary student living far away from home, they took me in as an adopted daughter.
Margie and me

Margie is one of the godliest women I have ever known. Her faith, while very private and personal to her, is on display for the world in the way that she loves the Lord, her husband, and her family. It is on display in the way that she serves selflessly and gives of her time and skills sacrificially. It is on display in the way that she took in this loud, flashy, hurting seminary girl and loved on me in ways that make me cry. Margie’s faith is solid, her advice is sound. She loves the Lord more than anything or anyone else in her life.
Margie Butler and Beth Moore don’t have much in common. They are opposites in a lot of ways. But they both love and serve the Lord with their whole lives. They both live godly lives in front of people like me: younger women who are striving to love and live for the Lord but need some encouragement from time to time. Margie and Beth are examples of women who are fighting the good fight and who will come alongside of a younger sister, put their arm around her and say, “I know this is not easy, but I promise it is worth it.”
So was meeting Beth Moore a highlight of my weekend? Absolutely! But what really meant the world to me was getting to sit next to my New Orleans mom during church last Sunday. Beth Moore mentors the masses through her writing and speaking, and she is effective in that way. Margie Butler mentors me through being a spiritual mother in my life.
Life in the daily grind is what discipleship is all about: being there for someone in every season, in every mood, through every holiday and every Tuesday. It is about helping us smooth out those bumps in the road that can totally sideline us if we let them. These women—the ones Paul talks about in Titus 2—teach us by example. They are loving their husbands and children and displaying the qualities of a godly wife, mother and friend just by letting us live life alongside of them. Are they perfect? Of course not. But personally, I respect a woman more for letting her imperfections show.
While having the discipleship conversation, I feel like I always hear older (not old, just older than me) women say, in essence if not in words, “I don’t have anything to offer my younger sisters. I’m not that impressive.”
I’m not sure how to say this nicely—THAT IS A LAME EXCUSE AND A LIE FROM SATAN. Here’s the discipleship equation. Follow along with my wicked math skills:
1.       Are you older than me?

2.       Do you still love Jesus despite the trials you have been through in your life?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER ME. And by ‘me’ I mean all of the younger sisters in Christ with whom you come into contact on a regular basis. Please do not claim some false modesty excuse when actually you’re afraid to let someone find out that you aren’t perfect. Or you don’t think you have the time to invest in someone. Listen, my generation of young women NEEDS godly role models. Won’t you do your part for the next generation of Jesus-loving women, and befriend a girl who needs some spiritual mothering? On behalf of my generation, I am imploring God’s women who are a step ahead of us in their faith journey to turn around and give us a hand.
And for the girls my age—we aren’t off the hook. Lest we think our own generation is the one most in need, I would like to point out that when we were teenagers, there was no such thing as sexting. Ladies, our younger sisters need a hand, too. We weren’t in high school/college so very long ago. We have some insight to offer.
Loving and encouraging one another through life’s trials is putting the Gospel on display for the world! Women of God, for the sake of the Gospel--for love's sake--let’s be Titus 2 women for our little sisters. Besides the fact that it is what we are commanded to do, it enriches our lives so much. The return is so much bigger than the investment. You have kingdom impact and you gain some family members in the process! I can’t imagine anything more meaningful.

Titus 2:3-5:  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

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