[God] has special people in your life for a reason. They have walked through valleys and mountains you have yet to experience, so listen to them, and take what they say to heart.
The Bible speaks very highly of wisdom. King Solomon sought it above all other things. But what exactly is wisdom? For the longest time, I thought wisdom was obtained by years spent on this earth. However, I have learned that while the time one spends on earth can add to their wisdom, a person's experiences are what truly shift the pendulum from “smart” to “wise.”
My grandmother, Bonnie Sue (a.k.a. Maw Maw), met the Lord on Sunday night in February 1961. Since then, she has had many experiences at the feet of Jesus. Her biblical knowledge expands far beyond many scholars, and her conviction in God’s truth is what gives me hope for our world.
I think everyone could use some of Maw Maw’s wisdom, both biblical and non-biblical. Therefore, I sat down with her to share her nuggets of truth with you, dear reader:
“What advice would you give women in their 20's?”
Mawmaw quickly told me that women in their 20s needed to do three things. “Get all the education you can. Establish a foundation for a great future, and be independent.” While I was growing up, my Maw Maw always told me to fiercely pursue my education. She emphasized how learning a skill or obtaining a degree could ensure that a woman could succeed in a man’s world.
Secondly, women in their 20s should “Hold on to very high moral standards”. So often in today’s culture, women are encouraged to compromise their morality and modesty in order to succeed. Whether this success is climbing the corporate ladder, attracting the attention of men, or finding friends, Maw Maw wants to ensure that all women know that their worldly success and approval aren't worth compromising morality.
Finally, Mawmaw wanted all 20-year-olds to “Enjoy life—you won’t ever be 20 again”. This beautiful and chaotic decade of your life is meant for you to make mistakes. You are not supposed to know what you are doing next. No matter how put-together another may look, no one has their life figured out before 30. So, enjoy being in a decade where you are allowed and expected to make mistakes, change your mind, and adventure. Enjoy and praise Jesus for your health and your youth. Your 20s are the most hectic and capable time of your life. Enjoy the season!
“What Advice Would You Give Women in Their 30’s?”
Let’s be real, your 30’s are the new 20’s. Now is the time to be the cute soccer mom, the independent CEO, the traveling junkie, or whatever else the Lord has led you to! I loved hearing Maw Maw talk about this stage of life. She themed this decade with stability and fierce womanhood. First, women in their 30’s, “Decide exactly what you want out of life and do it.” Yes, friend, it is that simple. Talk to the Lord, pick your path, and with Jesus’ hand in yours, run after it. If your 20’s were a mess, now you get to clean it up. Maybe life doesn’t look anything like what you wanted, so change it. You are still thinking about getting that degree? You still want to open that business? Honey, you aren’t getting any younger. Do. It.
Next, “Make plans for a family, if you desire a family”. Some women don’t seek motherhood; it is not a season that God has called them into. Some struggle with starting a family and are relying on their faith. Some are in the midst of four kids under the age of eight and are overwhelmed. Whomever you may be, Maw Maw and I want you to take a deep breath, say a long prayer, and make a plan. Plan how you will raise your children. Plan and pray for the household you want them to grow up in.
Last, “Start a financial security plan—an IRA or a CD.” Investing is not just for the rich. My grandparents set an exponential financial example. They did not idolize money, but they knew the value of a dollar. They used their financial blessings to invest in my and my sister’s future as well.
“What advice would you give women in their 40’s-50’s?”
I have often heard that women in their 40’s-50’s begin to experience a mid-life crisis, prompting me to ask my Maw Maw how she navigated this life phase with grace, joy, and purpose.
“Start preparing for an empty nest.” My grandparents had two children who both flew from the nest in their 20’s. Maw Maw missed her children being at home, and as any mother, suffered a stage of grief that comes with your children paving their own path and leaving home. Therefore, she says that preparing for that stage of life can better aid in coping. Learning to let go when it’s time can be hard, but it also can be a time to rekindle the romance with your spouse, pick up a new hobby, or travel!
Women in this stage might also want to begin “planning for retirement.” Now, Maw Maw doesn’t just mean planning financially. Retirement is your time for it to be about you again. Life is no longer about climbing the ladder or getting a corporate promotion. You no longer have to pack a diaper bag or worry about soccer practice on the weekends. You can allow yourself to enjoy the life God has blessed you with comprehensively in this season of well-earned rest.
“Enjoy life because it flies after 40.” I think this is a piece of advice everyone could take from Maw Maw. Enjoy the time God has given you because it’s truly a gift.
2 Corinthians 9:8 reminds us of this when it says, "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
"After 52 years of being married, how did you make it?"
In typical Maw Maw fashion, she opened with a “joke.” “Well, be deaf, dumb, and blind.” She might be on to something here... But in all honesty, Maw Maw said that “You care more about each other’s feelings than your own” and “when you don’t like them, go sit down and read your Bible. God will tell you why you will like them.”
Marriage can seem to be a production in modern-day America with all the finances, filmography, and theatrics surrounding the event. Marriage can even seem like a social obligation to keep up with your inner circle or Instagram fans. Perhaps it's a checklist item to appease the family or get the elderly church ladies off your back. Yet, Maw Maw and Pepa’s marriage outlasted any financial struggle, film, or social pressure I’ve ever seen, proving to be the real thing.
Finally, I want to encourage you, reader, to go to the wise people God has placed in your life, just as I went to Maw Maw to ask for her wisdom on life, career choices, finances, and relationships. He has special people in your life for a reason. They have walked through valleys and mountains you have yet to experience, so listen to them, and take what they say to heart.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes
Olivia Lauren is a graduate student passionate about Scripture, particularly the Book of Romans showcasing God's grace. Outside her studies, she enjoys teaching her dog new tricks and finding quicker ways to silence the smoke alarm after trying a new recipe.