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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MOTHERING MANY


This month the Christian Writers are sharing thoughts about the theme “nurture” in honor of Mother’s Day. Please click on their links to the right on the appropriate days.

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Last December, Mom turned 90. She still looks beautiful even though the hair on her head is now synthetic. 

She’s still coherent, even though the stories this week are the same ones she told last week. 

She’s still my mom, even though I’m the one now buying her diapers and paying her bills.


God organizes us into families. He gives us the earthly mother He desires for us. Whether she met our physical, emotional and spiritual needs or not, does not negate the fact that the mother we had was the one intended for us.

Stewardship


But God does not simply organize families. He desires us women to give godly mothering to other people He has placed in our lives. Godly mothering at its core has to do with stewardship.

The Apostle Peter says:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4: 8-10

The straight-up definition of stewardship is: the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.

Worth caring for


The very first person God assigned us to be good stewards of was ourselves. He expects us to take care of these one and only bodies He gave us. How are we doing? If we were our own mothers, would we have to nag ourselves to eat our veggies and stand up straight? How can we be God’s hands and feet if they are weak and tired?

We are responsible for overseeing and protecting ourselves. These bodies, our hearts, our minds and our souls are worth caring for and preserving.

So are the other people God has placed in our lives. One of Cain’s sins was suggesting to God that he was not responsible for his brother.

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9)


Cain's suggestion didn't win any brownie points with God. Rather, Peter got it right. We are to be faithful stewards of others; loving and serving God's family.

Characteristics of a Godly Mother


God clearly intends us to care for each other; to love others with a sacrificial, stewardly love—as a godly mother would, by:

  • Providing for basic needs of others
  • Loving and nurturing others
  • Strengthening and encouraging others
  • Helping others grow in a healthy way
  • Helping others make the world a better place
  • Raising up others to know Jesus

We can take an inventory of the people in our lives. Who do I have legal stewardship over—people the law requires I care for? Children? A husband? Aging parents? How do they each need to be loved?

Who do I have stewardship over in my job? Students in my classroom? Employees or co-workers I oversee? Clients or customers in my store? They too are worth caring for. Their lives too are worthy of protection. How can I nurture and encourage them today?

Who has God placed in my life to watch over? Neighbors? Friends? Church members? How can I share Jesus with them right now? How can I help them make the world better?

Even if we are not anyone’s physical birth mother, God has placed people in our lives for us to care for; to protect; to nurture and encourage. These people are worth caring for and protecting. They are in need of mothering.

Mother to many


As we consider mothering, it’s easy to limit our thinking to blood ties or relational structures established by society. Yet, we are all part of God’s family. Mother Teresa was not an earthly mother to anyone. Yet she was a godly mother to many. So can we be.

Next week when I visit Mom, I’ll be looking around the retirement community to see who needs mothering. I won’t be surprised if the answer is “everyone.”


PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for families and for the mother you gave us, whether she was perfect or imperfect in her mothering of us. Please show us ways to nurture the people you place in our lives today. Let it be for your glory! Amen.


WHAT ABOUT YOU? Who may you need to nurture today?

This post is a revision of an article that ran in www.WeUsed2BU.com

10 comments:

Christine Henderson said...

Thank you for reminding us that when we are nurtured we should give back in kind for our parents when they need our help. Then you just hope family will be there for you when/if the need comes.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Christine - family take turns, don't we? Thank you for your thoughts.

Adam Collings said...

Some very good thoughts here Carol. How are we doing caring for the body God has given us, as well as all those people He has placed around us.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Adam - thank you - yes, I struggle with the sense, "but it's MY body; MY relationships." No, we are stewards of everything that belongs--not to me--but to GOD.

chris said...

Carol, reading this I thought of a guy that used to work for me, when he showed up on my doorstep looking for work I gave him what I could... I thought God sent he as he was one my "people projects" ... later did I realize in a big way that it was the other way around... that I was actually one of his people projects!! Thankful :-)

From Carols Quill said...

@ Chris - what a great story. God blesses us when we try to bless others!

Pam B. said...

I am blessed by the time I spend with my mom. She told me awhile back that she realized that it was time for her to graciously accept the helped offered---that is a gift to us, her daughters and makes the time we spend with her enjoyable.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Pam - I love your mother, too. She has a gracious presence about her. I'm so glad you've shared her with our book club.

lynnmosher said...

Carol, such a thought-filled post with wonderful reminders of stewardship, especially to be a good steward over our own selves. Thank you for this!

From Carols Quill said...

@ Lynn - it's easier to want to nurture others than it is to think about what we need to do to take care of ourselves, isn't it?