Awhile back I attended what was called a Titus 2 meeting at church. Titus 2 is a passage of Scripture that admonishes the older women to instruct and mentor the younger women. With that in mind, a panel of three older women spoke to a gathering of so-called younger women to share a bit of the wisdom they had cobbled together over the course of their lives as Christians, wives and mothers.
I have always been drawn to older people, older women in particular. They seem to provide something that is lacking in me, wisdom I suppose. Or maybe I’m still seeking the grandmother I never had. I don’t know.
The ladies who spoke all appeared to be model church ladies — soft spoken, perfect beauty salon hair, silver-framed glasses, crisply and modestly dressed, legs crossed at the ankles.
I was surprised by what I heard that night. One lady told the story of a time when she was a young mother and her two children had gotten into the baby lotion and baby powder and then gleefully hand trowelled the paste of sweet smelling goo everywhere. And oh how she laughs about it now. But not at the time. At the time, it was not one bit funny.
In her sweet Sue Ann Nivens voice, she confessed that she got so angry with them, that she spanked them. And then as she was on her hands and knees cleaning up the mess, she got angry all over again and spanked them a second time. The crowd gasped. One audience member asked, “A second spanking for the same offense!?” I did not gasp. I was nodding my head knowingly. And then when I realized I was the only one nodding, I looked around to see if anyone had noticed.
Afterwards, I spoke to one of the panelists and told her that I was surprised, that I thought I was the only mom who occasionally lost her cool. I confessed to her that I was ashamed of that, and embarrassed to admit it. She just laughed. And then she told me of a time when she was so angry at her child that she picked up his big wheel and threw it clear down the driveway. I looked at this tiny, 98-pound silver-headed, soft-spoken vision of grandmotherly Godliness and I could not even imagine it.
This is certainly not what I expected to hear from a panel of Christian ladies. An angry mother? An angry Christian mother? How could that be?
But you know what? It was encouraging. It was encouraging because in spite of the fact that they were not perfect women with perfect faith, in spite of the fact that they sometimes got angry and sometimes messed up – they were good mothers and their children grew up to be good people. Their children grew into productive people, people who honor their mothers and fathers and people who have held firm to their faith. And therein lies the power of forgiveness, grace and redemption to grow us into the women, wives and mothers we want to be.
And that gives me hope for someone like me, an imperfect woman with an imperfect faith who has a big wheel with a few dents sitting in her driveway.