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.