For a few years now, I've been deeply discouraged by the obviously unhappy thirty-something year old women in my life who have missed every opportunity to love and mentor me through the years I've needed them most. My emotions have ranged from discouragement to frustration to anger to just plain old feeling sorry for them, because their actions and attitude towards me have made their own unhappiness obvious.
It wasn't until I was surrounded by Godly, nurturing women of this same age group who proved my encompassing view of them wrong that I realized that not all thirty-something year old's have this bad attitude. What "bad attitude," you might ask? Well, I like to call it the thirty-something syndrome... you know, those girls who are miserable because they're really too old to dress like they're still 22, but too young to dress like a full-fledged middle aged woman... the girls who have so much regret from the mistakes they made in their twenties that they automatically hate (or resent) any girl in their twenties who is actually living for Christ and trying to do all the right things and stay in the center of His will... those girls who are so unhappy with where they are and the choices they've made that they would secretly rather watch you fall on your face than accomplish your dreams.... those girls. The girls with the thirty-something syndrome.
I'm not sure what the most common cause of this is, but I know that jealousy, insecurity, and unhappiness are all factors. The saddest part of it all is that most women falling into this trap are far more beautiful than they realize, creative and smart, and could have a huge, lasting impact on the lives of girls like me if they would just set aside their poor attitudes and embrace the opportunity to make a difference.
Well, my experience with women like this and then, later, the women who proved to me that they aren't all like that has taught me a few things:
1. Never miss an opportunity to mentor a younger girl. You've been there, you understand, so instead of resenting them for being successful and striving to live for the Lord, embrace them, nurture them, and show them what genuine love feels like.
2. Go deeper than surface level. If you don't give someone a chance and try to get to know their heart, you can't truly understand them.
3. Being surrounded by Godly women in their 30's is one of the best things a twenty-something year old girl can do.
As I prepare for and plan a wedding, apply for jobs, and prepare to be the Godly wife Jesus has called me to be, there is nothing sweeter than learning from these women who have been there and want the best for me. Watching the way they love their husbands, watching the things they've taught their children, watching the way they invest their time and energy... it's been one of the sweetest gifts. That's the kind of woman I want to become.
Thank you to the women who have loved me, encouraged me, and taught me what it means to be a woman of God!