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Physical Stages

When we examine the stages of a woman’s life, we usually begin with the obvious—her age. We categorize women as young adults, middle adults, mature adults, and seniors. This is a good place to begin, because women of the same age have some commonalities in the physical realm. But the similarities may end there because of the other circumstances shaping women’s lives.

Regardless of her age, a woman’s health will also be an influencing factor in her interests and activities. Ministry to women should always take into consideration the special needs of those with physical limitations. Because of the importance of a woman’s health, some ministry to women may include ways of dealing with the major health issues of diet, exercise, and rest.

Young Adulthood (Ages 18 to 30)

Young adults have passed through the developmental stages of childhood and youth, and now are entering adulthood. These are expanding years when a young adult woman makes many important choices that affect the rest of her life.

She makes choices regarding an education and a career.  She makes relational changes as she may leave the home of her childhood during this period and establish her own home—either as a single woman, or married to her choice of a life mate. Ministry to young adult women should be based on understanding the choices she has to make.

The strength of this age group is the abounding physical energy found in healthy young women. They have passed through the hormonal changes they experienced as teenagers and are physically prepared for the demands of building a life. Walking beside them at this formative stage of adult life is one of the privileges of ministry.

Middle Adulthood (Ages 30 to 50)

By the time a woman reaches middle adulthood, her life usually has taken shape. If she is healthy, these years are creative and productive. At the end of this stage of life, a woman may experience hormonal changes as her body is transitioning again. According to Beverly White Hislop in her book, Shepherding a Woman’s Heart, “Most women have the greatest difficulty embracing the hormonal changes during this time of transition.”1


The choices made as a young adult are now shaping her life. Here we see the differences in people as a result of those earlier choices. Women in this age group have had enough experience in life to know their own strengths and weaknesses, but they may be struggling with constant change. Ministry at this time can help them understand themselves and grow in their areas of need.

Mature Adulthood (ages 50 to 65)

Mature adulthood is a time when people presumably are established in life, but it can also be a time of dealing again with change. Some women in mature adulthood may still be dealing with the hormonal changes of the earlier group. Many women find health problems, because genetic diseases and disorders begin showing up by this time in life.

A woman in this stage may be dealing with relational changes as well. By now she has probably experienced the death of parents and some siblings. If she had children, they are establishing their own homes. If she had a career, she may be well-established in it; but in a changing economy, she may be forced to seek a second or third career before she retires. This is a stage when many women reach out for friendship with their peers, making this a prime time for ministry to women.

Senior Adulthood (65 and above)

Health is a major factor for senior adult women who have reached retirement age. Having completed their time in the work force, they have more time for travel and hobbies, if their health permits. If health has broken down, they may be confined to home or a care facility. As with other age groups, ministry to senior adults must take into consideration their physical needs as well as other needs, which we will discuss later.

 

Reflection Question

Review the physical stages of a woman’s life. What are some specific ways you could minister to women in each of these age groups?

       

 

 



1Beverly White Hislop, Shepherding a Woman’s Heart: A New Model for Effective Ministry to Women (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 62

 

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®.

 

“Stages of a Woman’s Life” is published by the National Women’s Department at www.women.ag.org, 2020. Permission to reproduce is limited to personal use or within a teaching setting. All other forms of use are prohibited.