I believe nurturing is the primary way a mother demonstrates love to her child.
To nurture means to care of and encourage the growth or development of
To look after, support, foster, or cultivate,
To encourage, promote, stimulate, contribute to, assist, help, strengthen, fuel.
As I approached the new year, “nurture” is the one word for my role as a mother that the Lord continually placed on my heart and mind.
I’ve been a mother now for almost 19 years. Craig and I were blessed with 6 children in the span of 10 ½ years. I always laugh about this, because we thought we’d have 2 kids (I’m sure God is laughing with me)! As you would rightly guess, our little ones were totally dependent on us for all their physical and emotional needs. It’s when they become more physically independent that we can sit back and relax a bit, right?
Or… maybe this is just the beginning of a new kind (or new phase) of nurturing. Our children (now ages 19,17,14,12,9, & 8) still need my nurturing. Time and maturity doesn’t’ change this truth. You see, the long days have turned into very short years and as with all things, normalcy can breed complacency and complacency can often turn to neglect. I won’t allow this to be my story! I have a choice. If you are a mom, so do you.
They still need my attentiveness and support. It just looks a bit different now.
Two Nurturing Necessities
1. Attentiveness – Staying alert to the various needs of my child.
They may or may not show signs of wanting your attention, but your child wants your attention. They need it. The trouble is that I’m easily distracted! Can you relate? Well, I’ve decided to commit to fully engage as a listener – to be “all there.” And my one-sided “wise” lectures don’t count as listening. My child wants my heart to connect as I listen to their ideas, life-stories, and struggles.
2. Support – Supplying what they need to help them succeed.
We all need this kind of support. Our children never outgrow this need.
They need our sincere encouragement, loving hugs, practical help, spiritual guidance, etc., etc. (without manipulating and judging)—now that’s a big task! I’ve found that I constantly need God’s wisdom to discern what kind of support they need. Enabling my child will weaken their character and development. I want to equip not enable! Or maybe my child is hurting and they are resisting the support they desperately need. In this case, I’m tempted to feel rejected but I’ve learned not to withdraw. Instead, I seek God’s strength to show them His unfailing love.
Embrace Your Calling
A few months after the birth of my fourth child, Sam, I was outraged by the apparent lies from well-meaning people who had promised me that going from 3 to 4 kids was a cinch. “It was moving from 2 to 3 kids that was the real challenge,” they had insisted. A mentoring friend of mine phoned me in the midst of my despair. God used her words to calm me and set my mind straight. “Amy (long pause), this is your life.” It was this simple yet profound statement that cleared my fog. “Yes,” I said. “You’re, right.” From that point on I stopped resisting the pressure and stress of mothering. I began to embrace it as the calling that it truly is.
My children are not a hobby that I can enjoy when I feel like it and then set aside. Mothering is my permanent calling, and nurturing is how I will show them love as I look to God to nurture me!