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  • Living simply is not so much about the particulars of our lives as much as it is about the principles that govern them. Knowing what God has called you to do, and then doing it--that's living simply.

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Joanne @ The Simple Wife

1. I have to say that I am super-duper blessed in the mother department. My mom is an amazing godly woman who has taught me--and continues to teach me--so much.

Still, the things I want to learn, to emulate--from her and other spiritual mothers--are these:

...to be gracious.
...to be a good listener.
...to have the gift of making people feel they are important.
...to keep a guard on my mouth.
...to exude peace and calm to those around me.
...to be a godly woman at my core--so that's what shows despite circumstances.

2. Nurturing is NOT enabling, being touchy feel-y all the time, sappy, or syrup-y sweet. Which is what I fear nurturing might be.

Instead, nurturing is gentle, care-full. Nurturing is giving of self and time. Nurturing is sowing seeds and tending them. Nurturing takes time, patience, and commitment. Nurturing can be a way of life. Nurturing can be learned.

3. This "who asks who" is huge to me. I think I've hesitated to ask someone to mentor me for fear of being rejected. But this shows me that when God shows me who to ask, I need to do the asking. And that my job is not to seek out someone to mother, but to be open to whomever God leads my way.

4. I *think* I am cultivating younger women. I'm learning to listen, to be present, to demonstrate care by being there and loving them. Of course, I think I could do lots more. But I have to be realistic--and so do you!--about what is reasonable in this season.

I must also care for my family and do the things I've committed to do.

I think part of this cultivating is to be fully present with the people I'm with at the time. To really listen to the young mom at church struggling with a baby who doesn't sleep, to really listen to the woman seeking God's will at Bible study, to really listen to the friend dealing with an addiction.

5. Can I be totally honest here. My pride loves the idea of being a mentor. And this section turned that upside down. Humility is key to mentoring someone, to serving another, to putting her needs ahead of my own.

So yes, I can see myself doing this because it is something that will develop my character and teach humility rather than feeding my pride and desire for honor.

6. "In light of eternity, what does it really matter?" I need that eternal perspective to combat my tendency to get wrapped up in the details that don't really matter. "It removes the hindrances of frustration and fretting about circumstances."

I want this kind of calm and peace that comes from such an eternal perspective!

7. I really like the section on page 74 that says that "God establishes the relationship; we must cultivate and celebrate it." And I like that it's clear about what we do: "Study of God's Word, prayer, and praise."

Lisa notes...

I have posted my summary of chapter 5 here:

http://lisanotes.blogspot.com/2009/10/nurture-relationship-ch-5-spiritual.html

I'll be back later to answer these questions.

I am encouraged by reading Joanne's answers. # 4 especially speaks to me: to listen and to be present to younger women in my life. That takes away some of the "scary" sound of being a MENTOR. :-)

Lisa notes...

1. I love the idea of a spiritual “charm school.” My dream curriculum: how to have a consistent prayer life; building intimacy with the Lord; how to love others when you don’t feel like it; …

2. Nurturing – attentiveness; compassion; concern; direction; guidance; feeding.

3. I’m still mulling over the “who asks who” dilemma. The younger needs to really want it before it can work, so I understand saying she should initiate it. But sometimes she may be too shy, and if the older woman can see the unspoken desire, perhaps she could initiate it herself?

4. I pray that I am cultivating younger women. It’s nothing formal though. Just conversations with ladies in my small group; nieces; younger mothers at church and school functions; my own daughters;…

5. Physical mothering is about serving, so spiritual mothering is also. I think the amount of time involved with that is still what intimidates me.

6. I liked the reminder to let go of our own “self-image”. “This is the place, the time, and the situation that God wants me to use for His glory.” This was very freeing to me.

7. Misc:
“Because of our sin nature, we are incapable of living anything other than a self-centered life apart from grace.” p 78 Oh, how I need that grace!

Joanne (The Simple Wife)

Lisa,

I just had a "DUH" moment reading your answer of how physical mothering is all about service so it makes sense that spiritual mothering would be too. Well, of course!

And yes, I think an older woman could initiate if she sees the younger woman unsure of how to ask. Maybe offering it as a possibility and then giving the younger woman time to think and respond.

J.

Tammy

1. How to be more transparent, how to be bold for Christ but gracious at the same time, how to have a stronger prayer life and how to lead things like Bible studies and such.

2. Being there for someone-going the distance with them. Nurting takes time, effort, and patience. It requires being caring and compassionate and also honest at the same time.

3. I agree with what it says in the book, but I also agree with what Lisa said about the younger woman being too shy to ask. Because that has certainly been me many, many, many times! I am very introverted, and it is very hard for me to approach people about things. I do fear rejection and I have had it happen a couple of times when I did ask a couple of different women about mentoring. And I need to remember what you said Joanne, about seeking out the person God leads us to. And if we do that, then rejection shouldn't be such a worry.

4. I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job at cultivating. Maybe with my own little girl, but that's probably it. I do have conversations with other women at church and such, and I listen and offer advice or prayer, but that's as far as it probably goes. This is a huge area I need to work on.

5. I enjoy serving in whatever capacity. I enjoy helping others and doing things for people. So this is something I feel like wouldn't be forced or unnatural. I think it would be the part of mentoring I would really like doing.

6. I think I liked the last line the best..."It takes time and effort, but such a nurturing relationship will bring forth praises to God." Love that!

Jamie

I finally got around to posting my answers on my blog!

http://jamespurejoy.blogspot.com/2009/10/spiritual-mothering-chapter-5.html

Aurora @ Under Transformation

Hi Everyone! I'm just getting my answers up for Chapter 5 -- anyone else challenged by a super busy schedule these days?!? My days are packed!

My answers to Joanne's great questions are here -- http://wp.me/pqFt7-1Y -- looking forward to reading everyone else's comments!

Blessings
Aurora

Ashley

Hi All,

Thanks, Joanne, for inviting us take a week to let it all soak in. This is great timing for me. So here are my answers to Chapter 5…a little late as usual.

1. My “charm school” would include many of the things you all have mentioned and just that being together in real life that Jamie talked about. I’d love specific guidance in walking in faith (I love what Aurora had to say about this), deepening in my prayer relationship with the Lord, allowing my life to be a testimony, shepherding my children in the faith, blessing and encouraging my husband.

2. I think of nurturing as a walk of loving service that involves the following characteristics: humility, gentleness, patience, peacefulness, compassion and kindness (p. 79). In short, embodying the very attitude of Christ. And all this covered by grace and to the glory of God.

3. I have often wondered why an older Godly woman would not offer to mentor me. I saw this as the role of a wise, loving, spiritually mature woman. I stopped and read this part out loud to my husband when I saw it and then put two stars by it (a high distinction for me). I have to say that I now see how an older woman might see offering mentoring as presumptuous. And I do see the wisdom of an older woman cultivating the relationship through care, but the younger woman instigating the mentoring relationship. This has played itself out in my own life, though I am still trying to get the courage/have clear direction on what relationships with older women to pursue.

4. Yes, I am. With my own three daughters, of course. Also in the lives of girls I mentored professionally before having children, but who I now have adult-adult mentoring relationships with. I am also taking extra concern in the lives of some younger women at church, praying with them, calling them on the phone. Being available to encourage or give gentle advice.

5. I think the truth of service always rocks my perceptions. Remembering that ‘Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life’ continually challenges me. If I wrongly think about leading as a way to gain favor, I will never be satisfied, and I will drift away from God’s presence. I am capable of serving and nurturing only through the grace and empowering of Jesus, and when I “feed His sheep” in His name and by His leading, it brings Him glory, and I also find fulfillment. How beautiful.

6. The passage from Acts (on p. 80) was referenced extensively in my Bible study this week, and I need to hear and know this message. “…he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:26) Hunt follows this up by saying, “This is the place, the time, and the situation that God wants me to use for His glory…Seeing life from this faith perspective removes the hindrances of self-pity and boredom.” (pp. 80-81) Amen!

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