I am writing this morning to participate in the She Reads Truth #SheSharesTruth experiment – against I-don’t-want-to-say-my-better-judgment and not really against my will, but against something, i.e. I don’t really want to put these words down but am somehow feeling compelled to do so. (How about that for an intro? Ought to be interesting to see where my mind goes this morning.)
So, the subject matter is around spiritual mothering. Specifically, some of the triggering questions that were offered up to the SRT community were the following: How is spiritual mothering already taking place in your community? Has a godly woman influenced you in your growth in the Gospel, or has mentoring a young believer impacted your life? How would you like to see Titus 2 shape your relationships moving forward?
Although I have had (and still have!) a number of wonderful Christian women in my life – many of whom have certainly pointed me toward Christ, when I think of those individuals who have set aside part of their lives to pour into me, everyone who is top of mind is male. And I don’t think that’s wrong. I’m thankful for these men. (And I hope I’m not currently blanking on some huge impactful period of my life where a woman devoted a significant part of hers to growing me in the faith. If I am, I’ll blame it on pregnancy brain. Seems to be my go-to excuse, which is mostly warranted, these days.) But it just feels wrong to say this. Like I am defying some century-old bond of womanhood where I am supposed to have a female in mind to offer this recognition to. But the truth, at least as I see it, is what it is. Men have been my spiritual mothers.
But that’s not where this story ends. Just as many families get stuck in certain cycles (of poverty, of abuse, etc.), I am convicted that I am perpetuating this problem for the women in my own life. I know that in the times where I have clearly pointed other women to Christ, it has felt amazing. But my most vivid memories of knowing I helped shape spiritual futures happened many years ago. Even though my husband and I currently host what our church calls CityGroup house churches that meet during the week. And I try to give something of myself to all of the women. And I’ve taken the time and effort, at times, to invest more in some of the women than others. But I know that there’s not a single one who I have poured my all into.
Here’s where the excuses come again: We host this weekly group, plus we meet every other week with a couple to discuss their marriage (and by virtue of that, also ours), plus we serve on the greeting team, plus I spend a Sunday a month in nursery, plus I volunteer in other ways as needed, plus I work a pretty time-consuming and demanding job. Plus, I’m pregnant. And many of these service areas are genuinely about me giving time and attention to others instead of myself. But you know what? In truth, I want more. I want a woman, many years from now, to be able to look back and answer the above questions about having a spiritual mother differently than I did. And not for my own glory, but so that they can trace part of their growth back to a time where God put me in their lives or when God all-of-a-sudden spurred me into action in their lives.
I’ve commented at SRT before about an idea that I have recently become inclined to initiate at my church called Apples of Gold. (Not that it has to be called that.) The concept is around older women mentoring younger women – with a regular component of the gatherings involving teaching them to cook and leading a devotion time. But I feel so inadequate about leading this for many reasons: 1) I'm not old! I'm 36. But in my church, I'm certainly not young. 2) I haven’t really seen this modeled. My previous church had this program, but I was never able to participate in it. I have just loved the idea of it for several years. 3) I’m not an expert in the kitchen. I’m a good cook. My husband and others generally enjoy the food I prepare. My husband probably even says I’m a great cook. But I don’t have mad chopping skills, or whatever I envision other women who would volunteer to do this have. 4) I don’t have time. (Who does, right?) But of all the times to get this grand idea, this timing seems the WORST! I’m pregnant with my first child while trying to juggle all of the things I already have going on. How does this work?
But I know the answers to all of my questions and fears and excuses, while maybe not easy, involve Jesus. Jesus can teach me to model what I haven’t seen. He can guide me, if I let Him. Jesus can take away my insecurities. And in the meantime not allow me to hide behind them. And Jesus can help me find the timing. He can’t pray for me. He can’t trust in Him for me. He can’t put aside my selfishness for me. But he can guide my heart if I eagerly seek to follow Him in this. And if that means I have to give up something I’m already doing to accommodate a new phase in my life, he can help me make those hard decisions.
Lord, lead me. Help me to follow. (There, now, that wasn’t so bad.)