I’ve never read the best seller, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, considered the “pregnancy bible” for expectant mothers, but over nineteen million people have! In her book, author Heidi Murkoff, helpfully addresses the questions and fears most first-time parents experience.
It’s a sobering, exciting gift to be entrusted with a life through pregnancy, fostering, adoption, or being a spiritual mama to children born to others. We know that little ones need selfless care and love to grow and mature. God must intervene to grow a baby physically and to nurture a child spiritually in their soul. There is much wisdom to gain as we take these encouraging truths and apply them to relationships with fellow children of God.
Sisters, through the Spirit we’re enabled to share spiritual life with others, and to have a faith-filled expectancy that God will bear fruit through us. An encouraging example of spiritual care and discipleship is the relationship between Paul and Timothy. Paul wanted Timothy to catch the vision to take what had been entrusted to him and to share it with others who could entrust it to others still. This is how the family of God grows: spiritual multiplication through discipleship.
Let’s consider three gifts of being a spiritual mother, which is a way we can all participate in God’s family expansion.
As a spiritual mother you can engage in relationships that share a Paul-Timothy bond.
Paul wrote to Timothy with affectionate language, such as “my true child in the faith,” and “my beloved child,” even as they were from different families, cultures, and generations! Their spiritual bond was eternal because it was anchored in Christ himself, their eternal Lord. They both caught Jesus’ passion for the gospel to go out to all the nations through intentional disciple making. It makes beautiful sense that their relationship went beyond a great Christian friendship; Paul poured himself into Timothy with the hope and expectation that Timothy would do the same.
I delight in having women in my life with whom I share a Christ-centered, spiritual-family bond. There have been a few relationships with a type of Paul-Timothy ‘knitting’— a kindred-hearted ministry calling and mutual sharpening in the gospel. I’m grateful for the spiritual legacy passed down to me which was infused with a missional heartbeat to give my life away to others; now it’s my turn to entrust it to others.
Spiritual mothering causes you to lean upon God’s grace and strength….
I was not going to read Rachael Denhollander’s book What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics. As a wife, mom, and counselor, I did not feel like I had emotional bandwidth to engage with such a weighty, close to home topic. Like you, I’ve heard the statistics regarding sexual abuse. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “one in three women experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.” Like you, I realize there are no good options for a survivor coming forward. Like you, I realize even with all that Rachael has accomplished through coming forward, she still lives with the trauma and scars of the original abuses. Why would I read a book that reminds me of all of this?
Against these odds, at the urging of a colleague, I picked up Rachael’s book and did not put it down until I had read every single word. I urge you to do the same.
What is a Girl Worth? is the memoir of Rachael Denhollander. She describes herself as “wife, mother, follower of Christ, advocate, author, speaker. Part of the army that brought Larry Nassar to justice.” CNN referred to Denhollander as a whistleblower, but as you read her memoir you will see that she did more than blow a whistle. She sounded a fog horn and has not let up.
Throughout this memoir, Rachael lets us into her world beginning as a young girl and through to the present day. She spares few details and the reader will come face to face with horrific evils (on multiple fronts). She does not do this to be indulgent or even to justify herself. Her memoir is ultimately an invitation. In the epilogue, she concludes with these words:
So much work remains. So much evil to fight. So much healing to reach for. So many wounded to love. Consider this your invitation to join in that work. To do what is right, no matter the cost. To hold to the straight line in the midst of the battle. To define your success by faithfulness in the choices you make. The darkness is there, and we cannot ignore it. But we can let it point us to the light….
CB CAMPANO|GUEST Out of all the things King Solomon could have asked God for—riches, fame, power, success—he asked for wisdom. And it’s no wonder; we are desperate for it! On any given day we encounter problems for which we have no ready answer, no step-by-step instructions, and no Biblical proof text that precisely addresses our need.… Read More