Spiritual Mothering (Ch 1)

Read-Chat-Live _ Spiritual Mothering Joanne at The Simple Wife (yes, the same Joanne who graciously hosts Memory Monday) is leading a 12-week journey, beginning today, through Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women by Susan Hunt.

There’s still time for you to please join the conversation with us!

Chapter 1 “Our Reference Point”
Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . .
how often I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
Matthew 23:37

1. Spiritual mothering is . . .

. . .when a woman possessing faith and spiritual maturity enters into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live for God's glory.

“Enters into a relationship”
It has to start somewhere. Sometimes circumstances; sometimes intentionality by one or both parties. But whichever, it’s about connection. Because God is always involved, be assured that it is no accident. He doesn’t start things haphazardly, but always infuses purpose and meaning.

“To encourage and equip”
The intentionality continues. Deliberately do something. Help her grow. Give her support. Inspire her with confidence. Provide tools and words and understanding.

“To live for God’s glory” 
The great purpose. All of the above leads to this: the goal of living life so the Father is most glorified. Help her do this.

2. Our need for mothers
Do we ever outgrow needing our mothers? When I’m faced with dilemmas I’m unsure how to handle, or with emotional wounds that I need to vent, or with joys that I want to celebrate, I still find myself saying, “I wish I could talk it over with Mama.Me and Mama_1986

I  was blessed with many years to do that. But the past several have brought the unwelcome visitor of Alzheimer’s into our relationship.

I continue to grieve the losses, but I try to move forward with faith into unknown territory with my sweet mother. I treasure the many traces of familiar that still remain, and pray for courage to face whatever is next.

I know I am not unique in this longing for “mother.” I see it frequently from young women who have no available mother, either because of physical distance, emotional distance, illness, or death.

3. Our need to mother
And I also see the longing to be a mother. God, in his goodness and wisdom, did not make having children (biological or adopted) as a prerequisite to mothering. As Susan Hunt says, “Biological birthing is not the activator of this capacity [for mothering]; women who have never given physical birth still have this mothering capacity.”

She further explains,

Our femaleness gives us the capacity for mothering; our faith produces certain characteristics of mothering.

Some characteristics we see from the Scriptures are strength, excellence, tenderness, generosity, desire to nurture, comfort, compassion, affection, protection, and sacrifice.

These characteristics are relational—they simply will not allow a person to be an isolationist.

I praise God for women in my life who refuse to be isolationists, but who reach out to “younger” women like me, and I pray for greater capacity and selflessness in me to reach back out to those younger than I am.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Titus 2:3-5

4. ChallengeSpiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt
Susan Hunt ends the chapter with several “Spiritual Mothering Challenges.” Here are three.

1. Begin with prayer. Read and meditate on Matthew 23:37; Isaiah 49:14-16a; Isaiah 66:10-14a; Colossians 1:16-18.

2. Pray for opportunities. To mentor and to be mentored.

3. Write a card of appreciation to an older woman and to a younger woman.

Discussion on Ch 1
Next week: Ch 2, “A Life-Purpose

* * * * *

Mothering dilemma of the day:
My 20-yr-old daughter just called with a question.

Coming home for lunch, she discovered her roommate’s cupcakes on the counter (for a baby shower tonight) totally covered in ants. She got rid of the ants. Should she keep the cupcakes?, she wanted to know.

Um, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to eat or serve a plate of cupcakes that had previously been covered in ants. My initial advice? Throw them away!

My second, more thoughtful advice? Call the roommate and let her make the decision.

I do love being a mother. :-)


Brook said...

I so love the idea of this group since I tried to mentor someone this past year, but it was a disaster because of her many issues. However, I don't want to say anything on a public forum because I have "lurkers" on my blog. So I am going to enjoy studying on my own and reading what you all have to say!

Lisa notes... said...

Brook, I'm glad you'll be reading along with us anyway!

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

No, I don't think we ever outgrow our need for mothers. And as I type that, I find myself wondering where my own mother goes for that. Next time we talk, I'll have to ask her.

You did a wonderful job of breaking down the definition--something I appreciated about this first chapter because it makes it so clear what we're talking about and why--for God's glory.

You talk too about "selflessness"--about how it's required to reach out to younger women. That's so key, I think. To focus on the younger woman and listen to her, just the way other women have listened to me over the years. The focus really is on the younger woman and so often that involves listening rather than talking.

So glad you're part of this!


Jamie said...

I love what you've written here and how you break it down. I sorta just skipped over the "enters into a relationship" part and just took that as a given but I guess it's the most important part right, without entering into the relationship there is no need to mentor and no one with whom to share Christ with.

I also long for my mother although in a different capacity.

Thanks for your honest, open thoughts, I look forward to being on this journey with you!

G said...

I love the pic! I've got a similar one that I made up when dad passed away, but it's him at 22 and me at 2, then me at 22 and him at 42 (which is close enough to now). It almost got ruined in storage. Well, the matting in the frame did, but the pictures are still good. I found a similar frame at that cheap store where Big Lots used to be last time I was in Huntsville that looks a lot like the previous one. I'll probably scan them in before I reframe them.

Look for a message offline from me... prolly tomorrow, up way too late now, but my Treo is synched to my new laptop (along with an upgrade on the Bible program for it, suhweet!).

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa - I love that you picked up on the intentionality of the relationship. It made me think that I not only have to be intentional about mentoring relationships. I've understood that in relation to the mentoring I do with younger women but this is making me think that I need to do a bit more about seeking and ASKING for the relationship with someone that the Lord would point out to me. Intentionality works both ways, I suspect!

Looking forward to reading more along with you!


Shayla said...

I love how you started from the beginning-entering into a relationship. I hadn't really thought about that part. I know God gives us the opportunity, but we need to start paying more attention to those opportunities!

"Provide Tools" I love that you added that! alot of people think mentorship is sitting in a room talking for an hour (which it can be), but mentorship can also be cooking a meal together, giving advice to another mom during a play date etc. TEACHING another woman something that she can apply to her daily life is a tool- and those are necessary for mentorships!!!

Wow, I'm so sorry about your mother! I've worked with Alzheimer's patients before (they were actually my favorite-they were always sweet and respectful bc they were never sure who it was they were talking to- which is something WE should do, bc we live in a small world and bad manners/attitudes spread so quickly) both of you look BEAUTIFUL in your picture!

your mothering dilema was a great add in! Of course to us we all say "EW throw them away!!!" but when I think about it, I'm pretty sure Jesus would've called and asked first too :)


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