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Spiritual Mothering

Written by Carla Love

Mothering might bring to mind feelings of being cared for, both physically and emotionally, or thoughts of someone who listens and understands, possibly helps solve a problem or wipes tears or celebrates with joy. Some of us might not have experienced this with our own mothers but we may have had a grandmother, aunt, or friend’s mom who filled this role in our lives. Mothering is nurturing.

I have been a “birth mother” for 34 years and a grandmother for 5 years. It has been one of the greatest joys and sacrifices of my life. But I was a “spiritual mother" before I was a “birth mother" and I continue this role after my children have left home and started their own families.

Mothering is nurturing. Jesus uses this language when he speaks of being our shepherd. He “carries us close to his heart, he protects us, he feeds us, he leads us, he teaches us, he holds our tears, he listens” (Isaiah 40:11). He invites us to be nurtured by Him and to nurture or shepherd others he brings into our lives.

To nurture or “spiritually mother” others is not too different from what a mother does with their child. It might involve discipling, serving, caregiving, teaching or showing hospitality. We often read this list and think we can’t possibly do this! We think we don’t have the capacity, or we don’t know how, or we are too young or too old. But if He is inviting us then He will give what we need to become spiritual mothers.

We are all called to spiritually mother or nurture others. Spiritual mothering is not just for those who have biological, adopted, or foster children. Look around you. Ask God to make you aware of a few people in your life that might need a spiritual mother. They may need someone who will listen to their story, pray with them and for them, sit with them in their grief and loss, celebrate with them in their joys and keep inviting them to Jesus. They need someone who will read and engage His word with them, invite them over for a meal, show up and serve them when they are in need, send a text of encouragement or prayer. And like a mother who cares for her children, it most certainly will involve sacrifice. You will have to be the initiator. You will give up time to be with them. Caring for them might be messy and inconvenient. Teaching and discipling them might feel slow. But the joy of nurturing another in their journey with Jesus is a gift!

The Lord has been gracious to invite me to this Spiritual Mothering over the years and I count it as one of my greatest joys. I invite you to say yes to His invitation to Spiritual Mothering, to nurture and care for others.

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