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Time for the latest discussion on Susan Hunt’s book, “Spiritual Mothering.” A big thanks to Joanne Heim at The Simple Wife for providing a great set of questions again this week! It’s never too late to join in the study so if you’re interested in participating, click the button on the left, grab a book and start reading!

1. Take a minute to read Karen’s story, beginning on page 71. If you were to describe the kind of “charm school” you’d want to attend with a mentor, how might you describe it?

The “charm school” I would love go to would be one where I could learn to walk stronger in faith and not by sight. That’s a regular battle for me, one the Lord has challenged me to fight for the last few years. As I make the choice to live my life believing Him and not what I see, it gets easier to live the Hebrews 11:1 life. But I still find it challenging to do when it comes to things that are very close to my heart. I would love to be schooled by an older woman on how to do it, to have a go-to, walking example of what this looks like.

2. This kind of spiritual mothering relationship is all about “nurturing.” After reading this chapter, how would you define nurturing?

I think this kind of spiritual mothering relationship is about giving a younger woman a soft place to fall. A supportive place to ask what may feel like dumb questions, a place to share failure with no condemnation. It’s also a guaranteed pom-pom shaking, happy dance fest when success and growth has been achieved. Susan Hunt talks about grace being the connector in the spiritual mothering relationship. When grace is the foundation of my ministry to a younger woman, I can give her the welcoming, loving acceptance she wants and needs. I think Mary felt that with Elizabeth. She arrived at her door pregnant which socially and religiously was a tough situation. Elizabeth showed her such grace. Mary must have known that Elizabeth would give her a supportive place to come with her circumstances. I want to be that for the Goddaughters the Lord has given me.

3. This chapter includes some valuable information on who does what. Who asks who when it comes to this kind of relationship? That’s an important question! Read the paragraph at the top of page 76. Do you agree? Disagree? Explain your response.

I agree that younger woman do have a responsibility to seek out an older woman, much in the same way Linda did in the story that opened up this chapter. But I think older woman need to put out the “vibes” that were open to being asked. We need to do a little “pre-cultivating” of relationships by expressing an interest in the lives of younger women whenever we have opportunity. It might be as simple as sitting with a younger group of woman at the women’s Bible study potluck or chatting with the a young woman before or after church. These interactions can signal that we’re open to being a spiritual mom.

I think one of the hardest things for everyone when it comes to asking is the fear of rejection, that the answer will be “no.” Older women need to give the unspoken message to younger women that it’s okay to ask, you won’t hear “no”, you will be received and accepted. It’s an important gift to give them and I think sets the stage for the entire relationship.

4. Are you cultivating younger women around you? How?

I hope I am! I have two Goddaughters, relationships that have been clearly and explicitly defined as mother-daughter in nature. Doing this book study has really impacted my thinking about my role as a mom and I can see changes in me that I hope are positives for them. There are other relationships too — I’m doing a book study with a young woman, something that’s taken more than a year to complete but that has been rich and rewarding for both of us. There’s also several young women that know they can call on me when they need an ear to listen and some Godly counsel. Over the summer, I had the mom of a 16-year-old ask if I would have her daughter over for a morning to spend time observing my work (I work at home) and to talk with her about how I see the Lord active in my work life. It was fun but I was really humbled and blessed that this family saw me as someone who could impart something of value to their daughter.

I will say that I think it’s a little “easier” for me to be available because I’m single right now. My life has a flexibility to it that a woman with a husband and children might not have. My single season has lots of room to serve, so I’m taking advantage of it!

5. “A nurturing relationship serves.” I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of a mentor as being someone who is exalted rather than one who is a servant. As you think about mothering someone by serving her, does that change your perception about your ability to be a spiritual mother?

This statement affirms my perception of being a spiritual mom. In the foreword of the book, George Grant comments that all ministry is interpersonal. I loved that statement! Jesus touched people through His ministry and if I want to be like Him, to do the things He did, I need to be involved in touching people’s lives. When I think about the mentors I have had in my life, they were/are people who were/are interested in pushing me up to greater heights in whatever my pursuits. They were happiest when I was successful. That’s the kind of mentor/mom I want to be — someone who encourages, pushes, challenges, in a loving and supportive way, younger woman to greater heights in Jesus to the Lord’s glory. I will gladly cheer from the stands, from the sidelines, from backstage as they grow stronger and more mature in the Lord.

6. Hunt walks us through what Jesus knew to be true about himself that allowed him to serve freely on pages 79-82. The fact that we know these same things about ourselves frees us to serve. “The knowledge of our eternal destiny gives a calmness and confidence regardless of present circumstances” (page 82).  Was there anything in this section you needed to be reminded of today?

On page 80, Susan Hunt writes, “A woman who struggles with poor self-image is so enslaved the she cannot be a servant/nurturer. The only adequate antidote for the self-image problem is Biblical knowledge of ourselves.” That was a good reminder for me. I can sometimes forget who I am in the Lord and when I do, I so easily slip into a fearful, paralyzed place. My ministry becomes difficult, my life becomes difficult! But as long as I remember who I am, who the Lord has made me through the blood of Jesus Christ, as long as I remember that I am a child of God who will one day live with Him forever, I can stand firm under whatever comes my way. And when I am unencumbered by fear and anxiety, I am free to serve the Lord and His people, free to serve younger woman He brings into my life. That’s a good thing!

7. Anything else?

Karen says at the close of her story, “Because somehow, in my youthful desire to be like her (her mentor, Linda), she guided me in discovering how to be like Him.” I really loved that that was the result of her relationship with Linda. It reminded me that one of the things I want to be is someone who points the young women in my life toward Jesus and to inspire a desire to want more of Him, to want to be more like Him.

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Today is a special day.

It’s Tommy Caldwell’s birthday.

This is Tommy Caldwell and his beautiful wife Marilu.

Tommy and Marilu

I love them both. Very much.

Tommy and Marilu have been a part of my life since I was a young girl. They mean the world to me and I’m so grateful for the love and support they have given to me over the course of my life. Everyone needs champions in their corner and I am so grateful that they have been by my side through so many important life moments.

In honor of Tommy’s birthday, I wanted to tell you about this very special person and what he’s shown me, taught me and given me through the years. Enjoy getting to know him a little bit and join me celebrating his special day!

Tommy is an amazing example of a loving and devoted husband and father. From the time I was young, I can remember marveling at his relationship with Marilu. It’s always been so evident how much he loves her, how committed he is to her. They’ve been married for 63 years and he’s still crazy about her. 🙂 Watching him be Dad, Poppa and Poppa Tommy to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren is a beautiful thing to see. I love to sit back and watch him during family gatherings. Whether it’s holding the latest addition to the great-grandbaby crew or listening to him catch-up with one of his grandsons or granddaughters or sharing a joke with one of his three children, one thing is clear — Tommy loves his family and his heart is most full when he his family around him.

About 10 years ago or so, Tommy and Marilu began to see me as an adopted daughter. I can’t tell you how much it means to hear them introduce me to people we meet as an adopted daughter. Tommy tells people that my mother left me to them in her will! I love being a part of his family because it means I get to enjoy the love he pours out to his entire family. He’s an amazing dad and I’m so glad all of his children are willing to share him with me!

Tommy is one of the most dedicated and committed people I know. This is especially true when it comes to serving God and his church. He’s one of the pillars of his church community and for years has been a leader on some of the most important committees at the church he has attended since his youth. Without even realizing it, Tommy has modeled for me what it looks like to serve with commitment. Now that I’m active in my own church, I realize that I watched him for years faithfully support his church family. It made quite an impact on me. I’m really grateful for that example.

No one tells stories like Tommy. He’s had an amazing life, full of rich, interesting experiences and life-long friends that have been a part of his and Marilu’s life journey. And from every step, there’s a great story or wonderful memory to share. Throw in Tommy’s wonderful sense of humor and I could listen to him for hours! And there have been times when I have! There was a day many years ago when my mother was going through a very long surgery that Tommy sat with my sister and me in a hospital waiting room, telling us stories for hours. He kept us entertained and distracted while we waited for my mother. It was one of many times that he did that for us while we worked through my her illness. It was such a gift of love to us. We never would have made it through some of those long hours of waiting and worrying without him. Thank you, Tommy!

Now, there a few “fun facts” about Tommy you might be interested in knowing about:

• He loves to garden and has an amazing yard filled with roses, orchids and all kinds of other flowers and fruit trees. His front yard is so beautiful, it’s the envy of more than a few of his neighbors
• Whenever he goes out to a restaurant and the waiter leaves a stack of paper napkins or if there are paper napkins left over after a fast-food meal, he takes them home with him. It could be said he collects paper napkins…members of the family have given him packages of paper napkins as gifts!
• For the last 30+ years, at Christmas celebrations, Tommy has worn these grey slacks with embroidered holly leaves on them. It’s hard to say what’s holding the pants together after all these years, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without Tommy in those pants 🙂
• He’s a faithful USC Trojan fan…and a Dodger fan…and a Laker fan…and an Alhambra High School Moors fan. Tommy went to Alhambra High. I went to a rival school, Mark Keppel High School. When I was in high school, Tommy (and Marilu) came to Mark Keppel High homecoming football games just to support what I was doing with the half-time show. Now that’s love!

Isn’t he amazing?

Tommy, you have blessed my life in ways you can never imagine. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and dad to me. You have helped shape me in to the person I am. You have been one of my greatest cheerleaders. Today, on your special day, I’m cheering for you and thanking the Lord for the gift that you have been to me. Happy Birthday!

With lots of love,
Aurora

The scripture of the week at my church this week is Ephesians 6:10-11:

…Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

I love the reminder — be strong in the Lord because He is powerful.

I love what I get to wear — the whole armor of God.

I love the result — I can stand against the wiles of the devil.

The Lord’s power + the protection of His armor = a defeated devil.

I imagine the devil hitting his head — hard — against the armor of God. When I choose to live in the power of the Lord, wrapped in His armor, I’m pretty sure the devil leaves with a headache. I like that. 🙂

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Well, we are moving right along with this great book study. There is a terrific group of ladies reading this book and commenting on what they are learning. Be sure to check out their posts, you can find them by clicking on the button on the left. And it’s never to late to join in! So if you’re interested, grab a book and get reading! Thanks so much to Joanne Heim at The Simple Wife for moderating our study and developing such great questions every week!

At the end of this week’s notes, there’s a question for everyone to consider. Hope you’ll take a look and jot a note or two with your thoughts!

1. Hunt identifies the elements of curriculum for this relationship as love, relationships, and conduct. “There seems to be a direct correlation between the characteristics discussed in the last chapter that qualify women to train younger women, and the elements of training” (page 56).
As you look at the list below, which elements are you most excited about? Which elements make you think, I’m not sure about that one?
• Reverence (love)
• Not slanderers (relationships)
• Not addicted (conduct)

I’m most excited (and challenged!) by reverence and love. I’m mindful that Jesus said love is the greatest of gifts. Being able to model this, to give this as a spiritual mom to my Goddaughters is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility. I realize that I need to pray for wisdom and circumstance to reflect love and reverence with and for the daughters I’ve been given.

Now think about the flip question. Is there an area in which you feel God has especially gifted you–either through natural ability or even huge failures and so knowing what NOT to do?

Interestingly, it’s the same — reverence and love. And I learned the value of giving it, of being loving through the failure of my marriage. It was a most painful lesson, one that has made me exceedingly sensitive about serving and caring for the people in my life with love as the motive.

2. “Biblical love does not come naturally” (page 57). What’s your response to that statement? 
What particularly stood out to you in the section on “Love” beginning on page 56?

It’s so true! I learned through my failure that real love, true loving behavior is not and cannot be a feeling but must be an action. And at it’s purest, being loving, acting in a loving way happens in spite of feelings. And that’s not natural. Biblical love is supernatural, powered and motivated by the Holy Spirit. I can only “do” Biblical love when my spirit is in submission to Spirit of the Lord.

Two statements out of this section made me underline and draw stars in the margins:

“Love demands dying to self and this makes no sense until one has come in reverent submission to the authority of God.” (page 57) — Don’t even try it without submitting yourself to the Lord!

“To ‘do love’ we must take off those things that will prevent us from being a servant. This demands dealing with selfishness, pride, laziness, insensitivity, and anything else that hinders our ability to execute love.” (page 58) — A servant considers others more highly than herself!

3. Here comes that speech thing again! “Until a woman has submitted her speech to the Lord, she surely cannot influence a younger woman to build right relationships.” 
Note that it does NOT say, “Until a woman has her speech perfectly under control.”
What does “submitting” your speech to the Lord look like? How might you make that a daily (hourly?!) practice?

James 1:19 comes to mind…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…

For me, submitting my speech to the Lord requires me to be thoughtful about what I say. Words have such power. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue holds the power of life and death. I want my words to always speak life in and over the people I love.

4. Prayer AND practical advice are part of what an older woman offers a younger one. How have both prayer and practical advice been helpful to you? Which do you tend to give more easily? How could you work on developing the other?

Knowing that people are praying for me has always been such an encouragement to me. This is especially true when I learn that people are praying for me when I haven’t asked them to. It always reminds me that the Lord sees me, that He sees when I need to be lifted up and puts me on the hearts and minds of people who will pray.

Interestingly, I tend to be someone who gives practical advice more readily. I do pray for people often and always when I’m asked but I always find myself wondering why I don’t do it right on the spot, with the person when they ask but hold the prayer for my quiet time. I should pray for them in both instances! I need to be more mindful of this and remember to pray for people in the moment. I think it will require a boldness I don’t have a comfort level with and need to develop more.

5. “Only a passion for God’s glory can overpower our self-interest” (page 63). We’re back to knowing our purpose and identity again. How is identifying yourself as “the Lord’s servant” and living with a purpose of glorifying God going? Is it starting to come more naturally?
It’s a process to change how we think! What’s helping you keep these things in the forefront of your mind? How are you “setting your mind” on these truths each day?

I’m recognizing that I am the Lord’s servant at all times, not just in formal ministry occasions or when I’m interacting with my Goddaughters. My identity is not circumstantial but constant. As I embrace this more fully, living as His servant 24-7 becomes more natural. I like that!

Each day, I’m challenged to remember that the Lord never ceases to think of me in my true identity. In order to have His mind, I need to do the same thing. Daily, I need to remind myself of His truth about me and purposing to live in the fullness of that truth. When I see my behavior or my thought life going astray, I now have a place to take it captive.

6. “Overindulgence in anything eventually enslaves” (page 63). How did this reminder hit you? Is there anything that immediately came to your mind as something you’re in danger of overindulging with? Again, how can we pray for one another in this?

These five words struck me as powerfully truthful. There isn’t anything that I think I’m in danger of overindulging but I was reminded of something that the Lord recently removed from my life because He was wanting more of my attention. It was something I thought pretty innocent (a radio program) but He was wanting me to spend the time I gave the program listening to radio ministries that would allow Him to speak to me. When I/we overindulge in anything, we lose out on opportunities to grow in intimacy with the Lord. For all of us, I’m praying the Lord will remove anything from our lives that keeps us from deepening our relationship with Him.

7. So you’ve seen what stood out to me from the questions and quotations. What’s one question you would ask everyone from this chapter?

“Which of the elements of training do you most hope a spiritual mother would help you develop? Which element do you most want to help your spiritual daughter grow in?”

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That’s what life has felt like this week…like the circus has come to take up residence in my world! It’s been increasingly crazy-hectic-busy since Tuesday. Yesterday, I was sure that someone had let the monkeys loose, it was that nuts.

I think the Lord allows seasons like this to drive us closer to Him. He knows us so well, knows our tendancies, knows our character. In my own life, I know He knows that if things are going along smoothly, I forget my need of Him. It becomes easy to not draw close, to not actively participate in my relationship with Him.

So the Lord allows a little craziness to remind me that during stressful times, I have a choice in how to respond. I can completely freak and use all of my wits to control and manage situations or I can look up and ask for His help. He wants me to ask for help. I’m not always so good at asking for help. 🙂

So He uses times like these to train me in this, to transform me just a little bit more into a woman who looks to Him for help, strength, and power. And you know what? It works! I’ve reached out to Him deeply this week. And He has shown His faithfulness.

The circus here won’t end anytime soon. The good news about that is that it means I’ll be spending lots of quality time with the Lord. I’ll see Him in ways I’ve known before and if I look hard enough, I’ll get to know Him in ways that are all-together new to me. I can’t wait. He gives such amazing gifts at times like this. No cheap cotton candy. But the good stuff, the meaningful stuff that lasts.

So that’s my world. What’s going on under your Big Top?

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It’s a been a crazy couple of weeks in my world — anyone else having the same experience?

One thing I’m trying hard to do is keep up with the reading group Joanne Heim at The Simple Wife is hosting. We’re going through “Spiritual Mothering” by Susan Hunt and it’s a rich read. It’s never too late to join in so if you’re interested, click on the button on the left for the details. For now, here are my answers to Joanne’s questions on Chapter 4. Would love to get your thoughts on anything you read hear — leave a comment if anything strikes you!

1. So far, what’s your favorite thing about this book? What’s been your biggest “a-ha” moment? What are you telling others about this book?

My favorite things about the book so far is that it gives me permission to mother. It releases me from the fear of wondering should I, I wonder if I should, could I, maybe I will, but what if (fill in the blank) happens, I will someday (maybe)…all of those questions, doubts and excuses fall away in light of the clear command from scripture to be a mother to another woman. I can suffer from paralysis by analysis. Susan Hunt shines a light on what God calls me to do so I can stop thinking about it and just do it!

2. From page 40: “Paul did not expect or want the women in the Cretan church to change their conduct without changing their thinking. He wanted them to think Christianly so that they would act Christianly. And sound doctrine is essential for right thinking.”
The truth is that for change to last, for it to be effective, our thinking must change–not just our behavior. How have you found this to be true in your life? Is there an area in your life where you are asking God to transform your thinking? Feel free to be specific so we can pray for you as we visit with each other this week.

The greatest changes in my life have come when the Lord has shown me His way of thinking about a particular issue. When He helps me to see things His way, I’m left with no choice to allow Him to change the way I think and from there, my behavior follows. Not without effort or temptation to go back to the old way, but it becomes easier to take my thoughts captive to His way of thinking so that the way I behave reflects His (our) thinking.

Over the last two years, the Lord has challenged me to see walking in faith the way He sees it. I could be Doubting Thomas’ first cousin…it can be very hard for to me to have confidence in things I can’t see. But that’s exactly what the Lord calls His children to do. This is especially true when it comes to believing Him for the promises He makes for my life. There are some precious promises He’s made to me that I am anxious to see come to pass. While I’m waiting, the Lord is teaching me what it means to live by faith and not by sight, to be certain of things I hope for and are not seen. It can be tough going but I am determined to know God as fully trustworthy, the foundation for my faith in Him and His word to me. I would so appreciate your prayers for me in this area!

3. Hunt talks about the urgency of this call to invest in the lives of younger women (page 42), stating that it is a “pivotal issue” in our culture. How do you respond to this? Do you agree that the way “to combat the decadence of [your] culture” is to focus on energies on these kinds of mentoring relationships? Why, or why not?
Look too at the quote from John Adams on the bottom of page 42. If this is true, what do you think it says about the country in which you live? Does how you respond to this affect how you view mentoring as both “urgent” and “pivotal”?

It certainly reinforces that investing energy in mentoring relationships is a worthy cause. Throughout the Bible and world history, women have had great influence on men, on communities and on the culture. The impact we have cannot be ignored. By investing and mothering the next generation of women, we can have an influence on what happens for generations to come. That’s incredibly powerful to consider!

John Adams’ quote reinforces the critical role women play in the success of any society. He names the loss of modesty and domestic virtues of women as key factor in the collapse of societies like the Romans and the Greeks, among others. Living in the United States, his thoughts are even more profound given his role in our history. The US today is a very stressful place for women to live, especially Christian women. There are many, many things that call out to us, claiming that the answer to all of our longings are just around the corner, just one drink away, just one revealing dress away, just one more sexual encounter away. The Lord has so much more for us. Women need other women to encourage them to choose differently, to live differently. Sometimes it’s just having someone cheering you on to the right decision is all any of us need to make a step in the right direction. It’s critical that I be that cheerleader, that encouragement to a younger woman.

4. Review the characteristics of the command on pages 43-44. As you read this (and remembering that God equips women to do what he has called us to do), what stands out to you? Is there an area where you need some additional discipline or help? How could you make that area a focus of prayer in the next week?

By nature, I’m a pessimistic and critical person and that stuck out to me when I read the section on not being slanderer. When I’m pessimistic about my life, I slander God by diminishing His power and His heart toward me. He always has my good in His mind for me. Always. Period. When I doubt that, I’m not seeing Him clearly and when I speak it, I don’t express Him clearly to others. I’ve been aware of this for awhile but thinking about it in the context of my mothering relationships, I realize I need to put more effort into what I think so that what comes out of my mouth lines up with the relationship I have with the Lord…this is a deep truth…my tendency to be critical needs the same overhaul.

No one likes a critical spirit. I think I let myself believe that I’m not that critical because I don’t say much. But, oh, do I think critical things! I need to be more sensitive to the conversations that happen in my head and make more of an effort to be sure they line up with the Lord’s way of thinking.

I really want to pray for this part of my character, for His transforming work in this area of my life. I don’t want to “raise” a spiritual daughter who suffers from this same sin!

5. “Older women are to encourage and equip younger women to live for God’s glory…The older women in the congregation were to be taught how to live in accordance with sound doctrine so that they could train the younger women–no exceptions” (page 46). 
All of us are older than someone else. So none of us can use the excuse of being too young to adhere to this command. Read through the section “Who Are the Older Women?” once more. Here’s what it comes down to: “No theological expert. No super saint. Just a woman willing to be obedient to the command to mother.”
Take a look at the reasons you’ve thought you might not be qualified to mother another. What kinds of things have held you back? Do your reasons still stand in light of what you’ve just read?

I remember so clearly the day the Lord presented me with the opportunity to be a spiritual mom to my older Goddaughter. It came out of the blue, very unexpected. She was in a tight spot and needed a place to stay. I have a home with space and I had the resources to have her come to live with me which is what she needed. The way He put the “opportunity” to me was classic Jesus — my Goddaughter asked me if she could come to live with about 10 minutes before I was to get on a six hour plane ride! I remember thinking then that it was just like Him to ask me to do a hard thing and then give me nothing but time to sit and think about it. 🙂

Long story short, what I realized is that I had no good reason to say no and that if I did, it was because I just didn’t want to be bothered. I was in a position to do what He asked on every level — life circumstances, spiritually, everything was in place. And so I said yes because I knew that I could not look Jesus in the face, after everything He has done and continues to do for me and tell Him that I just didn’t want to be bothered with nurturing one of His daughters. He just needed me to be willing. My Goddaughter is living on her own now. I wouldn’t trade the experience of becoming her spiritual mom for anything in the world.
 
6. This is getting long…so let’s end with the usual “Anything else?” In some ways this is my favorite because I’m always so curious to know what jumped off the page at you!

On page 50, Susan Hunt talks about her daughter Kathryn becoming a mother and how the experience brought out strengths in her that were not apparent before she had children. Susan goes on to say that mothering, spiritual or biological, brings out the best in us. And I agree with that. But one of the things that happened while my Goddaughter lived with me (and still happens in a different way now) is that the Lord exposes my weaknesses, lays bare the things in my character that are less than attractive, less than Godly. He is in the transformation business and I love that He uses my ministry to my Goddaughter to show me areas of my life that need to be conformed to be more like Him. Whenever possible, I try to share those moments with my Goddaughter so that she knows that the Lord uses her in my life just as He uses me in hers.

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Time for Chapter 2 of Susan Hunt’s “Spiritual Mothering” read along. It’s not too late to join in — if you’re interested, click on the button on the left for details. Thanks to Joanne Heim at The Simple Wife for hosting this great reading group!

1. In the first short section of chapter 2, Hunt talks about the second-pivotal principle of spiritual mothering: that our life-purpose is to glorify God. The driving force of any spiritual mothering relationship is not the relationship, but God’s glory.
How does this alter/change/influence/affect what you’ve thought so far about this topic? Does it change how you perceive this kind of mentoring? If so, how?

It such a powerful reminder about what my life is supposed to be about — His glory. That’s it. I love having a clear picture of what my goals are supposed to be. I’ve always felt that it made decision making easier. My choices either move me toward my goal or away from it. So the way I conduct my life either glorifies God or it doesn’t’. I need to live accordingly. That’s helpful to me!

With regard to mentoring, it’s clear that I need to make sure that what I bring to the life of my Goddaughters or other young women moves them forward in living a life that glorifies God. I need to be so sensitive to the counsel I give, the conversations I have, that my time with them is about directing them toward Him and not about having them live life the way I think it should be lived. I think I will be much more thoughtful about what I say, do and share with them to be certain that everything is in line with what the purpose of our lives is supposed to be.

2. Much of the chapter examines Mary. “I fear that too often we do not hold Mary up as an example, because we are overcompensating for some who have elevated her above humanity. This robs us of one of the most beautiful examples of faith found in Scripture…In Mary we do see a woman who embraced God’s glory as her reason for being and translated that into her experience” (page 26).
What struck you fresh about Mary’s story after reading this chapter? 

I never really thought through all that Mary must have gone through during that rollercoaster ride that took off after the Holy Spirit confirmed that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Talk about a tough road to walk! Her world was turned upside down and yet she stayed focused, stayed trusting, continued to believe that the God who had chosen her to do this would work everything out for her good and His glory. I’m not always so good at that…and my life, while it’s had it’s dramatic events and challenges, has never been given such a heavy burden to carry. Considering her life was humbling and challenging to me at the same time. I need to be more like her!

3. Hunt made a couple of statements about Mary’s response to the angel:
“This young woman handled the situation without her brain or her emotions being scrambled” (page 27).
“This was no emotional reaction but rather a deliberate and logical response based upon the character and promises of God” (page 28).
How do these statements compare to how you typically respond to something? Are you more on the side of being scrambled, or more deliberate and logical?
How does/should having a life-purpose of glorifying God and an identity of being the Lord’s servant affect our response any kind of situation?

I’ve always thought that most people have an emotion of choice when they confronted with difficult situations — they get angry, giddy (in order to avoid dealing with things), or whatever. My emotion of choice tends to be sadness so I guess I fall into the more scrambled camp. I realize that when I do that, I’m 1)unable to glorify God because I’m not focused on Him, I’m focused on me and 2) I’ve completely forgotten who He is and what He can do — if I would just remember that, there would be no need to be sad! I’ve worked on this part of my character for a few years now and it’s/I’m so much better than before but I know I need to fight the constant battle to see Him in my circumstances because He’s bigger than anything that He allows to come my way. This attitude should be the mark of the Lord’s servant. And I recognize that I need to model that for my Goddaughters so they can have a real-life example of what this looks like.

4. On page 32, Hunt distinguishes between confidence based on our identity in Christ and self-confidence. How do you see these as being different?

When I have my identity based on Christ and my position in Him, I have access to His power. The power that raised Him from the dead is available to me and all that He has for me to do — that’s a rich truth! When I am nothing more than self-confident, my power is limited to what I can do in my own strength. And while in the world’s way of thinking that may seem like quite a bit, it’s so much less, so much weaker, so inferior to what I have when I let my identity be in Him. The choice would seem to be so easy…makes me wonder why I allow myself to struggle so sometimes…

5. If you had to pick a sentence or a phrase from this chapter to write on your bathroom mirror to see each and every day, what would you pick? Why?

“(Mary’s) purpose was not her convenience but God’s glory.” — Page 31

Living for God’s glory is not always going to be convenient, I need to remember that. But inconvenience does not change my purpose. I must be faithful to the purpose God created me for regardless of whether or not it suits my plans. Spiritual mothering — any mothering, best I can tell — is anything but convenient! But God is honored and glorified when I choose obedience over my convenience. And more than anything, I want Him to be honored and glorified by my life.

I was in New York most of the week before last, working with one my clients. It was quite a week — we worked hard, put in some (very) long days and mixed in some fun. The best part of the week was working with people I really enjoy but don’t get to spend much in-person time with which was great. It was a good trip on so many levels. I was glad to go but I was happier to come home. I needed to get back. I was hungry and needed to be where I could eat!

During my trip, I was so aware of the Lord’s presence, His voice speaking to my heart, sharing His purpose for this time of travel, of His quiet but purposed encouragement. It was such a gift to have what felt like His extra special attention toward me. And it made me long for more of Him. It made me hungry for more of Jesus.

All week long, the hunger, the desire for more of Jesus grew…in the back of my mind, my thoughts kept drifting to Him…my need of Him, how amazing He is, His character, His sacrifice, His faithfulness…by the time I got back, I was starving!

So, during this past week, I looked for ways to have more — I read the word with fresh eyes and a fresh heart, I listened to worship music and sang with tears in my eyes, I listened to radio ministry and heard fresh takes on verses I know so well. It was a veritable feast for my soul…and I still want more :).

The question lingering on my mind is how…how do I get closer to Him, know Him better, love Him more deeply? It’s the prayer of my heart right now. I know He’ll answer. Because as much as I want Him, I know He wants me more…wants me to get closer to Him, to be nearer and near still to Him.. He wants it so much He died for me…how humbling…

So, while I’m waiting for His answer, I’m curious…what do you do when you need more, hunger for more of Jesus? Can you share your thoughts on this…especially if you’ve had a season of hunger for Him…how did He help you satisfy it?

About Me

I'm Aurora and I'm under transformation! Ever since Jesus Christ took hold of my heart, He's been working on changing me into His image. I'm passionate about growing in my faith and living fully in the freedom Christ paid for me to have. I love hearing about what the Lord is doing in the lives of His people and encouraging them to follow hard after Jesus.

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