My Search for "The Other Woman"

When I first realized that “she” was out there and I needed her, our family had moved, taking our 3-year-old and 1 ½ year old away from familiar surroundings. Like many American families today, we were far from home and family. Because of this, I greatly anticipated finding that other woman. Where (and when) would I find her?
The other woman I was seeking was the “older” woman -- the Titus 2 woman who would teach me, the “younger” woman, how to love my husband and children, maintain our home, be self-controlled, kind, and temperate. I could just imagine her saying, “I remember when I went through that…” And I could hardly wait to meet her!
For years, I looked for her, studying each new face and wondering if she was “the one.” After examining an older woman’s appearance and countenance, I often introduced myself and I tried to set up a casual appointment. An interview, if you will.

In the beginning I searched among women whose grown children appeared to be spiritually successful. These women, however, weren’t even available for an “interview.” With their children gone, they were busy with careers and local church ministries. Delighted to watch their example, I couldn't possibly demand more than what they gave so generously.

Next I set my sights on mothers of teenagers. They could tell me how to prepare for adolescence and avoid parenting pitfalls, I reasoned. With their marriages well established, they would have keen insight into marital relationships. I was unprepared, though, for their personal struggles. As their children battled for independence, their bodies rebelled, defying the end of childbearing years. These women needed someone to confide in, pray with, and support them. There was little, if any, opportunity to bring up my concerns and after an hour’s interview, my life-questions seemed trite.

Throughout this process I enjoyed the uniqueness of many women, never revealing my alterior motive to anyone. I wanted to wait until I was sure it was really “her,” and that her love for me was genuine. As the months passed, I became frustrated and angry. Why were none of the older women teaching me? I had begun to doubt that I would ever find that other woman.

It is not that she doesn’t exist. Over time I came to realize that my focus needed an adjustment. Looking back, the words, “I,” “me,” and “my” were rampant. It was then that God convicted me of my selfishness and idolatry. I had expected someone—someone besides Him—to fulfill my desires and longings. Uninvited, revealing questions rose: “Has the goal of finding an older woman distracted me from obedience to Christ? Have I given a special place in my heart to an older woman—a place that only God was meant to fill?”

I looked to God’s Word for answers and was reminded of His sufficiency. Did I have a need for discernment and wisdom? I only needed to ask.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Did I have a need for someone to listen and care? I only needed to cry out.
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their cry…. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:15,17-18)

Did I have a need for encouragement, for a pat on the back? I only needed to recall His goodness.
“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:24-26)

In carefully re-reading the verses in Titus, I discovered something new. “teach the older train the younger women....” (Titus 2:3-5) “Women.” It’s plural! The older women are to teach the younger women. Instead of a single-course meal it’s a smorgasbord!

This means that God provides a supply of Body parts to scratch the itch and bind the hurt. Even as I considered this, I was led to the story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord. At daybreak, Jacob sputtered, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” As my mantra, I responded to each disappointment, “Lord, I will not let you go....” Finally God opened my eyes. I recalled the times Sheila comforted me, Diann spoke sound advice, and Naomi interceded for me, all during my many years of wrestling. In His sovereignty, God provided each woman at just the right time. He comforted me with His hand in Sheila, spoke His counsel through Diann, and interceded for me through Naomi.

Perhaps the Lord is working in your life. As you look at your areas or struggle, pray and study God’s Word. Examine your relationships, goals, and expectations with confidence, knowing that God knows all. If you find, as I did, that you have been waiting and searching for someone else to fulfill your wants and needs, confess it as sin. Then look for the ways He is already ministering to you through His Word, His Spirit and His Body.

In my search for the other woman, God allowed me to see my need and to watch as He purposefully and personally fulfilled me. I sought earnestly and found that other woman—in the next pew, across the street, at the grocery store, on the other end of the telephone. She’s the woman God provides right now, today. I have struggled through the night, through this night, and I have been blessed. In her absence, I have found other women, not just that one wise woman I was seeking.

Sydney began leading Bible studies in college.  She received her teaching degree and is currently a wife and mother of four.  She ministers with her husband, David, through music, leadership and children’s ministries at their home church in Iowa City.