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THE PARADIGM SERIES

"A PARADIGM FOR MOTHERHOOD"

Part II
TITUS 2:3-5
(Spiritual Nurturing - Luke 1:39-55)
Betty J. Winters

In the first presentation of "A Paradigm for Motherhood, " it was my intention to be succinct, yet explicitly clear that encroached in the sacred Word of Titus 2:3-5 is a command to the "aged women, " (Greek; presbutidas) that is, spiritually mature women to understand that sound doctrine is the basis for the older woman/younger woman relationship. The older women are to be the lifestyle examples in order to help the younger women (Greek; Neas) carry out the Titus mandate.

I want to share another segment of motherhood that I hope the spiritually, mature woman will gladly embrace and accept the challenge to enter into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live her life totally surrendered to God so that He will be glorified.

The Biblical examples for this nurturing relationship are two saintly women; Mary and Elizabeth. When Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the honored mother of our Lord, she made her way to the hill country to the city of Judah and came to the house of Elizabeth, who became her spiritual mentor. It should be noted at this juncture, that no spiritual mothering can take place apart from a relationship and that relationship must be a nurturing one. To be certain, this kind of relationship does not just happen, but requires hard work and wisdom. Mary and Elizabeth not only had a blood connection, but a grace connection. It was easy for Elizabeth and Mary to have a nurturing relationship because they were both on the same spiritual plane-enjoying and celebrating God's grace.

There are several aspects of a nurturing relationship, and we can learn much in this area from Mary and Elizabeth. First, pray and ask God to lead you to some younger woman (saved or unsaved) that you can nurture. Secondly, in a nurturing relationship, there must be a willingness on the part of the older woman to build a relationship with the younger woman by being a good listener, spend time with her on what might appear to be trivial, but important to her, teach her the art of planning meals, and occasionally offer to care for the children so she and her husband can have a night out. This provides a great outlet for the younger woman to build trust and openness with the older woman. Perhaps, many spiritually, mature women are willing to do this, but may think they are being presumptuous. It is wise at this point to remind the young reader that they can be insightful in this area by allowing the older woman to cultivate, but they can instigate a nurturing relationship. Remember, age is not a barrier. In fact the differences in age serves to enrich the relationship. Some sage advice to the older woman is to encourage your daughters to cultivate as many relationships as possible with older, strong, Christian women. This in no way will diminish the solidarity of your mother/daughter relationship, but will greatly enrich the life of your daughter.

Lastly, nurturing relationships are serving relationships. The older woman should focus on the spiritual growth and Christian development of the younger woman as being uppermost in the nurturing process. We must be careful not to embrace the idea that we are in a self-centered or self-serving relationship, but a relationship that will enable the younger woman to be all that she can be for her God. The question I pose to you is "What is hindering you from having a servant/nurturer relationship? " This kind of relationship is profitable only if we have a Biblical knowledge of ourselves. You must know who you are. Jesus, in John 13, gives us a great example of a servant/nurturer. God has spoken through Titus, and if you are waiting for His Word to change, it will not. He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away " (Matt. 24:35). Further, His Word cannot change because "Forever, O Lord, they Word is settled in heaven " (Ps. 119:89). The Divine Plan is set, it will not be altered, and we are expected to model motherhood by carrying out the command of GOD.