Simply Sather · Story

4 reasons I’m writing as a “Titus 2” woman

If I were to write a book, it would be called something like, “A Hot Mess + A Dumpster Fire: Inside My Thirties & My Faith”. It would basically be about how very hard life during this decade AS A CHRISTIAN.

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It no longer shocks me how many people think that becoming a believer in Christ means that your life becomes easier. Don’t agree? Think about how many people distance themselves in their relationship with God when something really painful or unexplainable happens to them or someone they love.

From about 31 years old to 41 years old, most of my days were difficult; filled with so many moments of pain and hard to comprehend tragedies. I often questioned God’s power, plan and sometimes I even questioned His love for me.

Before I was a widow, we’d had troubles in our marriage.

And then he died and I was grieving and struggling with those marriage troubles. I was ashamed and embarrassed in my grieving. I attempted to numb the pain by drinking and traveling. I was vulnerable in every arena that I found myself in – with women who were close friends, church members + leaders, employers and co-workers, peers and even some family members.

And because of what God has brought me through, I just know that I have to share my story.

Here are four reasons I’m attempting to write my story as a Titus 2 woman:

1 • I longed to talk to a faithful woman to who could listen, hear and relate

I felt desperate to talk to a woman who had experienced even a sliver of what had happened to me and who would be real about how hard and messy it could be; how emotionally unglued I would be for so much of that decade as I attempted to get my feet back under me.

I was often longing to have a woman hear my story and not feel sorry for me, try to fix me or make it about them. I often shared my story with women who were not to be trusted with my story because I was so desperate to make a connection to another woman who could understand that kind of pain.

While going through it, my healing was often stunted by well-intentioned (or what I need to believe were well-intentioned) folks who detonated more grief by their unknowing. They would want to help but would compound my hurt into harm with what they spoke what they would do if they were in my situation or when they would liken it to their own thing which seemed planets away from what I was feeling. (Don’t tell me about your grandparent who lived to be 89 years old dying when I’m blubbering about burying my 33yo husband. Not right now, thank you very much.)

2 • I longed to talk to a faithful woman who would help me make tough decisions without attempting to control me, taking advantage of me or shaming me

It was not just these kinds of things that made that time difficult. I made tons of horrible decisions that were often smothered in rebellion, desperation, and fear. For example, saying yes to a second marriage that neither one of us should have been in.

I have needed to ask for forgiveness for the things I’ve done to others in my own hurt, escalating an already difficult situation. Many of my poor, impulsive, pain-driven decisions turned a very tragic loss turned into a whole decade of hot messes and dumpster fires. Maybe I will write that book. Perhaps, it’s time to tell that story.

All of it.

3 • I long to help other women know that they do not have to walk through hard things alone

Because every time I sit across from a woman who thinks I can help her better navigate her life’s challenges, grow in her faith in spite of her circumstance or just hear her as she speaks her hard realities aloud, I can relate to her pain. I can hear her hurt and instantly, I feel connected to her.

And in that, I long to help her know that she can survive “it” (whatever it is). And that if she really wants me to, I can help her do the work she needs to in order to experience the victory and then thrive.

4| I long to believe that my story is not just for/about me.

I don’t want my experience to go to waste. I don’t want to believe that all that I went through was just to make me a better person. I also don’t want women to feel like they have to figure everything out on their own or navigate new spaces and seasons as if they are needing to do it independently, laced with comparison and competition.

It makes me think of the scriptures in the Bible that talk about these kinds of relationships between women.

“But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching. Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and submission to their husbands, so that God’s work will not be slandered.” | Titus 2:1-5

Y’all, I have not perfectly achieved this. And that is not really my goal. But in the past 6 months, as I sit and talk and connect with women in their deepest areas of hurt and shame, it’s clear to me that almost every conversation I have with women can be connected to these verses; especially the part about my showing up as an “older woman” encouraging younger women in their hard seasons and spaces.

I’m not proclaiming that I have anything all figured out. That would be laughable. But, I have learned a lot about the “reverent behavior” by doing a lot of not so reverent things. Wondering if you’re a Titus 2 woman? I appreciate this insight: 10 Signs You’re a Titus 2 Woman.

I thank God for His grace (one of my “one little words” for the year) which helps me to see myself more honestly and to share my story here without shame or apology. And to love women as a Titus 2 woman as a few godly, powerful, amazing gems have done for me.

That’s my heart. To share boldly and without fear for the encouragement of other women, especially as women and for women in the church. And because I believe in the power of God’s forgiveness, love, and mercy for His imperfect creations – us. Us who are messy, inconsistent, rebellious, disrespectful, hard-headed, prideful, overzealous, judgmental, critical, undisciplined, divisive and hurtful people. And that’s often before we have tragic things attempt to wreck our souls.

I am and have been all of these things through some horrible, tragic things and want to share with other women to be of help and encouragement as they navigate these hard spaces and places. In the words of Erin Davis, Bible devotional writer, “These aren’t things we inherently know. According to God’s Word, these virtues must be taught. And who should be our teachers? Other women! Women who’ve walked the path of faith ahead of us and can turn and say, ‘Follow me as I follow Jesus.'”

Simply Sather

see my stain?

I am sitting here waiting for my skirt to dry.

I spilled some oil on it and didn’t want to walk around in public with a big stain on the front of my skirt. I didn’t want people looking at me and seeing the stain. And well, since I’d already decided this outfit was the one I was wearing today, I did the very non-simple thing and just decided to wash the skirt.

Just the skirt.

And to dry it.

All of that because I did not want the stain to be seen in a class that I’ll attend with Mister later tonight. A class where will walk in and sit down and remain seated for two hours until it’s time to leave and come home again.

Mister would notice the stain, but it would not impact his love for me or how he sees me. Others may or may not notice the stain, the skirt or the outfit at all.  Because the truth is, they are not paying attention to me that much, if at all. People are not waiting with baited breath to see what I’m wearing so that they can comment or judge it. Well, maybe they are – but it’s most likely, they are not.

So much time given to such unhealthy thought. Like darts coming at me over and over, taking up space in my mind, pushing me to make really kind of ridiculous, incredibly vain decisions over non-life threatening things.

But, here I am, waiting for the skirt to dry.

Can anyone else relate?

I’m hoping at least one of you can relate to what it’s like when we make life difficult while hustling to cover the imperfections, the stains, the blemishes. It takes up so much space and energy and quite frankly causes unnecessary angst that stays within us long after the mess is cleaned up, the blemish fades and the stain is removed.

This morning’s time in my Bible brought me to this one verse:

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one

Ephesians 16:a (MSG)

A quick aside; this is how I’ve been reading the Bible lately. One or two (maybe three) verses each day. I stop and read, think about the benefits, blessings that come from acknowledging the words. I will then consider how I need help in this area (this is always an area that I have a revelation in), then I layer it with truth – more scripture – and then just write. (This model is from Naptime Diaries)

I’m even emotional thinking about it.

Because since I’ve moved away from quantity in the Bible (reading one whole chapter each day) and more toward quality experiencing it, I have noticed more of an ability to receive grace and give mercy, growth in areas I felt doomed to stay stuck in, a willingness to more confidently step into my blind spots and more courage facing my fears.

Like writing vulnerably on this blog…

At the beginning of the year, I set 9 big goals. And thankfully, I’m still making progress – though some months have been better than others – it’s been slow going. One of the goals I’ve been most adamant about accomplishing has been writing. Here, in this space, vulnerably.

Sharing more of myself than I feel courageous enough in the moment to share. Worried and concerned about how I might be viewed, what folks might say.

And then when I spilled the big spot of oil on my skirt and found my anxiety through the roof, I realized that I most definitely still have a lot of growing to do in the area of putting it out there. And realized that I needed to share it.

As I grow more confident in who I believe God says I am, I also tense up about sharing it with so many people. What if they don’t get it? What if they don’t like it? What if it offends or hurts them? What if they don’t like…me?

This is where my mind goes. And where my soul aches.

Because in the midst of doing what I believe I’m supposed to do (write and share vulnerably with other women) there is so much fear in what people will say or do in response. I can speak publicly in front of hundreds, but when it comes to typing and sharing my heart – I get scared.

But then go back to the verse I read this morning.

In ALL circumstances – even this seemingly small one – I can wrap faith around it and successfully defeat the enemy’s attacks on my soul, spirit and heart. I don’t believe God cares about my skirt or the stain on it, but He absolutely cares about the woman and the heart of His beloved daughter wearing it.

___

Post update:

After attempting to remove the stain from the skirt, I only found it to be more pronounced and when the light was behind me realized it might not be the most appropriate skirt for a 45yo woman to be wearing anyway.

I tossed the skirt but am holding tight to the lesson.