Jesus With Skin On
by Bonnie Mahnke
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Titus 2:3-4 "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behaviour......so that they may encourage the young women......."
Could someone PLEASE tell me when I went from being part of the SECOND group in theses verses Paul wrote, to the FIRST group!!!??!!! It has been a transition that I really did not see happening. It is said that we are only as old as we feel, and honestly, I feel better than I ever have in my entire life, so that should make me right about 24!!
I look around me and see young women with so much potential for the Kingdom, yet so much baggage from the world. I know what that looks like, because I use to see that reflection looking back at me everyday. On the outside is a woman with so much anticipation and excitement for life, yet, on the inside, there are places so scarred by human interaction, that it nearly paralyzes her before she steps out the front door. As she attempts to forge forward in life, she tries with every breath in her to push those memories into the deepest part of her gut. If she pushes far enough, they will eventually disappear, and in the next step, she will be able to move on. With every year, it gets harder and harder to push down that memory, that hurt, that abuse, that neglect, that feeling of unworthiness put on her by someone else in her very innocent place of childhood. Instead of doing as she intended by pushing it far from her mind, it begins to take on it's very own corner of her heart. This corner then becomes a place that is so guarded and protected, that it secretly begins to form, in some way, her view of the people and world around her. It cannot be held so tightly without the pressure beginning to seep into the corner next to it, down to the one below, and over into another. Before she is even aware, this place only known to her, has manifest itself into a pattern and character by which she judges every single action she or anyone else does. And without the absolute transparency of another woman becoming "Jesus with Skin On" in her life, she may very well wilt and die before ever given the chance to flourish into who she was created to be.
If we do this thing right, we have the ability to change a generation of women growing up around us! I am reminded of Ruth and Naomi, the love and devotion Ruth felt towards her mother in law was in reciprocation of the love and wisdom Naomi had poured into Ruth's life. Although Naomi did not understand why Ruth would not leave her, Ruth knew that the gifts Naomi had given to her in those years was so precious because it had prepared her, ultimately, to be the wife of the kinsman redeemer, and in turn for what Naomi had instilled in Ruth, they both were blessed through what God brought to pass in Ruth's life. I am POSITIVE Naomi spoke life into Ruth during her years in her home. Could it be possible that God would use any one of us to be "Naomi" to a "Ruth" in our sphere of influence?
Sometimes, being on the receiving end gets so comfortable that we may never even imagine that there is another side to this. We are poured into, so that then we may pour into someone else. This is truly how God designed the roll of women in His New Testament church. He longed for the older women to live uprightly so that when they taught the young women, they had examples of others after God's own heart, women of high regard that the young ones could then glean from. It is no different in the modern day church. The Bible is active, therefor, it is speaking to us new everyday, we are being called to rise up as women of God to reset the course of someones life around us. I will not miss His calling.
I am experiencing a new level in my walk with God not only because of the Amazing women God has placed in my life "above" me in age, but also, because He has made it very clear that I too have those younger than me, affectionately referred to as the "young ones" in my life of whom also need mentoring and discipleship. I am blown away at how God has spoken to me in this area, because it is not one I would have chosen on my own. Women's Ministry is just that, "Ministry to Women", and it excites me that God is flaming a fire in the hearts of "young ones" around me. I believe with everything in me, that if we keep focused on Christ, the influence of the group of women around us will explode into manifestations of callings that will far reach beyond our current city!!
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