Joanne Heim over at The Simple Wife has organized a reading of “Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women.” If you’re interested in joining the group that’s reading and sharing thoughts on the book, click the button on the left to get details on how it all works.

This is my first post on the book, responding to the questions Joanne posed to the group (she’ll be doing that every week). Some of the ideas expressed in the forward, introduction and first chapter really stuck with me and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Lord is going to make some of this tangible and real in my life and the lives of my Goddaughters. One thing is for sure, with the Lord, it’s always interesting and always for our good! I’m also really looking forward to seeing what the other ladies in the reading group have learned. If you’re interested too, be sure to check them out — you can find them at Joanne’s place!

1. Susan Hunt defines spiritual mothering as this: “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.” What stands out to you in this definition? Why? Does this seem different from a typical mentoring definition? Why, or why not?

Several things jump out when I consider this definition. First, the primary qualities or qualifications of a spiritual mother/mentor are faith and spiritual maturity both of which are attainable through the power of Holy Spirit. I appreciate that fact that things I need to be a good mentor are things that are available to me! So often, I find myself feeling ill-equipped to do the things that God calls me to do. This definition reminds me that as I live my life for His glory, growing in my faith and pursing spiritual maturity, I will have what I need to encourage a younger woman to do the same. What a relief!

Second, the focus of our lives is in fact to live for God’s glory and that needs to be the primary focus of my mentoring ministry. The Lord has blessed me with two Goddaughters, one a child and one a young woman. With the older one, we spend lots of time discussing and processing the larger, more serious issues of life, everything from personal finance and housekeeping to Bible study and church ministry. I need to remember that regardless of what we are talking about, my encouragement to her must always be to glorify the Lord in every single area of her life. And to be a good witness, I must constantly reflect on my own life to be sure that I am living a life focused on glorifying Him. That’s a healthy challenge.

This definition is very different than ones we have probably heard before. Mentoring in the world’s sense has its focus on the one being mentored, the mentee. This definition places the focus on the Lord and deeper, stronger relationship with Him. I love that He is the goal of the relationship. I’d like to think He is honored and blessed to be the focus of it as well.

2. Beginning on page 18, Hunt talks about our need for mothering. How do you see this need among women you know? In your own life?

On page 19, Susan talks about the contrast between the image of women today and the women of God she has had the pleasure of meeting. When I think about the young women I know (and my own Goddaughter), I see the battles they fight not to be give into what the world would call women to be and do. To fight and fight well, young Christian women need mature women who are farther down the road to encourage them to not give in, to tell them of the blessings that await them if they are steadfast and to encourage them when the battle gets heavy. They also need practical counsel on how to avoid pitfalls that could lead to their hurt…as an older woman who has stepped in a pothole or two over the course of her life, I am in a position to give some advice on what to roads to avoid because they are just too bumpy. I need to be brave enough to share my failures so that others can avoid my mistakes.

In my own life, my need for a mentor is great. My own mother passed away when I was in my mid-twenties and while the Lord has graciously provided mothers to fill the void of love and affection, I really long for a mentoring relationship with someone who can give me the spiritual guidance I need. I’d love to have a relationship with a woman that I can share my fears with, ask my questions and to challenge me when I need it so that I can continue to grow in my faith and maturity. She’s out there somewhere…I can’t wait to meet her!

3. What’s something that you underlined, highlighted, circled, starred, or drew arrows to in this chapter? Why did it stand out to you?

One of the things that had me cheering was actually from the forward written by George Grant. On page xiii, he writes:

…there are no quick fixes, no magic formulas, no instant cures for the ills of our time. There is no easy way to equip women to grow in maturity in Christ. Instead, (Susan Hunt) says that the very essence of women’s ministry — in fact all ministry, is interpersonal. (Mrs. Hunt) draws on a wealth of Scriptural material to illuminate the righteous and venerable tradition of people actually investing themselves in other people — rather than in programs , projects or perspectives.

I loved the truth of this statement. In my role as a spiritual mother, I have come to understand so clearly that this is about investing in another person. It’s personal, it’s intimate, it’s powerful. It’s a great responsibility and it will demand my time, my commitment, my energy, my sacrifice for the good of my Goddaughters. This statement makes it so clear that in entering into a spiritual mentorship relationship, we need to be clear in what is being asked of us and to be certain that we are willing to be committed to the task. It is one of God’s daughters that we are being asked to care for and because of that, great care must be given to the relationship. That idea gave me great pause and challenged me to ask myself, “How am I doing with taking care of these precious daughters of the King? How can I be a better spiritual mom to the daughter’s He’s entrusted me with?”

Each chapter ends with a Spiritual Mothering Challenge–an opportunity for each one of us to think a little deeper about some of the ideas in the chapter. 
As we go through this book together, let’s each start praying for God to bring someone to us to mentor and for wisdom about who we could ask to be a mentor.

Lord, thank you for the blessing of the spiritual daughters you’ve blessed me with. Help me to be more of what you need me to be for them. Give my your eyes to see them as you do and to be sensitive to the needs they express and the needs I observe. Use me as your instrument to help them grow in faith and maturity in Christ and to live every moment glorifying you. Lord, you know my own need for this same type of relationship and I ask you now in Jesus’ Name for the good gift of a spiritual mentor. You know the woman you have planned for that role in my life. I pray for her now, that she would be blessed by you today. I know that you will bring us together in your good and perfect timing. Jesus, you are the love of my life. Thank you for opening the door to Heaven through your sacrifice. Amen!