Okay, as promised, here are some thoughts from chapter 6 of “Spiritual Mothering” by Susan Hunt. Great set of questions from Joanne Heim at The Simple Wife. Check out her blog and what others have to say about this great read!

1. Verbal affirmation. “We must express approval…it is not impossible, and to be a spiritual mother, it is essential” (page 88).
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not at all, 5 being very), how comfortable are you expressing verbal affirmation to others?

I’m a weak 3. My nature is to look for things that need to be improved and not focus much on what is going well. It’s not a good quality to apply to one’s self and it really doesn’t work well when you’re trying to mother! It can make you a bit of a Negative Nancy. I need to work on putting some intentional focus on what’s going well in my goddaughter’s lives. Since we’ve been reading this book, I’ve tried to start more conversations them with questions like “What’s going well this week?” and “What good things are happening with you right now?” I want them to know that I’m interested in cheering for them and not always looking to put their lives under a microscope to see what’s wrong, what needs fixing, point out what they need to do better, etc. I need to work on asking myself those same questions so I’m not so hard on myself!

2. Approachable spirit. Are you approachable? Or do you hold women at arm’s length? How can you work to be approachable to other women? Think about what you find approachable in other women. How can you emulate those things?

I think I’m pretty approachable. I get the sense that women are pretty comfortable talking with me and having conversations. One of the qualities I find approachable in other women is transparency. I love talking with women who are comfortable in their own skin and can talk easily about where they are in their walk with the Lord. They seem to model that there is no condemnation in Christ. They know it for themselves and they offer that to the women they come in contact with. I think that’s critically important. Women need to know that that can share their deepest struggles and not worry about another Christian condemning them. I think if there’s one thing that holds me back from talking to women about myself, it’s a fear that my issues will be met with condemnation.

3. Challenge to be obedient. “When obedience is affirmed it usually produces more obedience” (page 90). I don’t know about you, but I appreciate someone who challenges me to obedience, to greatness. How can you challenge women around you to obey the Word of God? 

I really appreciate that challenge as well! I think the greatest way we offer that challenge to younger women is to point them to the Word of God, to show them what He calls us to do and to be and them help them sort out the practical application. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing what your supposed to do but having no clue as to how you’re supposed to do it. Searching the Word together, putting an application plan in place and then providing supportive accountability would be a great help. There’s nothing like having someone ask, “So how are you doing with (fill-in-the-blank)?” to keep you moving forward. And then cheering the successes and offering supportive encouragement when the practical application doesn’t always come easily.

4. Brevity of expression. As women, we are perfectly capable of talking things to death. Yet it is often the clear, concise truths we remember the best. Are you good at “cutting to the chase”? Or do you tend to hide truth that can sometimes be hard in layers of words to soften the blow?

I could definitely be better at cutting to the chase! I think I do okay when it comes to encouraging women to keep going, to keep at it when it comes to walking with God. Where I struggle is when I have to address hard truths with someone, to confront my goddaughter(s) with things that I observe that need to be dealt with. I worry about overstepping my bounds, I worry about wounding with my words, I worry about driving them away…I worry. And so, out of fear, I say nothing. That’s not good either. Being wordless can be just as bad as being too wordy.

5. Anything else that was an “a-ha” for you in this chapter? Any question you want to ask?

I love what Susan Hunt said on page 93, “Women are spiritual trendsetters…When we reach women, we will reach the spiritual tempo of the culture.” This was so confirming to me as to the importance of women encouraging one another to grow deeper in Christ and to be a beacon, a light for Christ in the world. Our culture continues to make radical shifts that are troubling. The changes are promised through the Scriptures so we shouldn’t be surprised but we should feel a sense of urgency about growing in our faith and allowing that faith to touch the lives of the lost in the world and to encourage fellow believers to be strong in their belief in Christ and His promises.

One question I would ask is how are you doing as a spiritual trendsetter? Are you aware of the impact and influence you have in your corner of the world? I want to be better at this, more sensitive to the influence I have with the people the Lord brings my way.