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Nurture the Relationship (Ch 5 “Spiritual Mothering”)

Read-Chat-Live _ Spiritual Mothering Mentoring is about relationship, naturally. But not just any kind of relationship. Specifically, a nurturing relationship.

Cultivating relationship
It’s safe to assume that Mary and Elizabeth had a nurturing relationship with each other. Not only because of their blood connection, but because of their grace connection.

Any two women who have received spiritual life from Jesus also have a grace connection. Established by God; cultivated by us.

Mary and Elizabeth had probably already cultivated their relationship prior to their miraculous pregnancies. They weren’t strangers.  So when Mary chose to share her good news, she went to Elizabeth. Author Susan Hunt of Spiritual Mothering asks us to notice that Mary, the younger woman, sought out Elizabeth, the older woman. 

She advises that we pursue that same pattern for mentoring relationships. “Often older women are willing, but they feel it would be presumptuous to approach a younger woman. Older women can do the cultivating, but younger women need to do the instigating.”

More than one
Mary and Elizabeth spanned different generations. Yet each was chosen by God to bring a baby into the world to fulfill a specific mission. They had a common purpose to glorify God through their sons.

What about Mary’s mother? We don’t know if she was alive or available to Mary. But even so, Mary still sought out Elizabeth. The more wisdom from an older generation, the better.

Susan Hunt says,

Mothers of adult daughters should encourage them to cultivate relationships with as many older women as possible. No matter how solid our relationships are with our biological daughters, their lives will be richer if they are also nurtured by other women.

Mothers, don’t be jealous. Share your daughters. The advantages are rich.

When my niece wanted the two of us to have lunch together to talk, my sister wasn’t upset by it, but glad that her daughter had several “older” ladies to glean wisdom from. And I was honored.

When my daughter at college introduced me to an older lady at her new church home that has helped her sew and cook, I was thrilled, not threatened. I want my girls to have many godly role models.

Outside ourselves
The mentoring relationship of nurturing cannot be self-centered.
How was Elizabeth able to say to Mary, “Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) 

Because she was God-centered, not self-centered. Filled with the Holy Spirit, not just her own spirit. 

Only through grace can we achieve such humility and selflessness. And get over ourselves and our perceived lack of usefulness. The Lord knows how to use us in each other’s lives for his glory, if we let go of our own self-image-control and follow his lead.

This Biblical knowledge of ourselves enables us to lay aside all that restricts us from entering into nurturing relationships with others. This Biblical self-view is what older women need to possess and to share with younger women.

Susan closes with this statement, “It takes time and effort, but such a nurturing relationship will bring forth praises to God.”

Doesn’t that make it all worthwhile?

* * *

Summary of previous chapters
Discussion on Chapter 5
Next week: Ch 6, “Encourage and Equip”


Joanne : The Simple Wife said...


I so enjoy your summaries of each chapter! Thanks for doing this in addition to answering the questions.

Yes, I want my girls to have many spiritual mothers--lots of women they can go to for godly counsel when "mom just doesn't get it"!


Aurora @ Under Transformation said...

Hi Lisa - I really liked your comments about mothers not being jealous when their daughters reach out to other older women. I have a cousin who encourages relationships between her teen daughter and young adult women who can encourage her to walk with the Lord. My cousin says that her daughter will not always "hear" her voice but she will often listen to the voices of these young women who affirm Godly principles for living. Such good counsel!


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