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.