Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spiritual Mothering: Mentoring for Such a Time as This

Spiritual Mothering is not a new concept. It's a Biblical principle spelled out for us in Titus 2:3-5:
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will align the word of God."

Spiritual mothering doesn't leave anyone out, in my opinion. We all can be building God's kingdom by becoming mentor/friends to the next generation. The key is: we have to be willing! Do we care about those who are coming behind us? All of us have someone who is younger than we are -- oh, yes we do, Sistas! -- 20-year-olds can encourage teens in the ways of the Lord, 80-year-olds can share life experiences to the middle-aged women, 12-year-old girls can make a difference in the lives of girls who are younger.
Our lifestyle is our testimony and that's what will draw a younger women to a Spiritual Mother/mentor/friend. It was almost 30 years ago when I was a new Christian and I read that "young" women should seek out an "older" woman who is a godly example and then to "get to know her and learn God's ways from her."
Mrs. Lowell Green has been that Spiritual Mother for me. (Her name is Evelyn but she always wanted to be addressed as Mrs. Lowell Green even after becoming a widow.) When I joined the church where she and Mr. Green were members I noticed immediately she was known as a prayer warrior throughout the church, she and her husband fervently prayed for missionaries and regularly participated in retreats and conferences all over the U.S. Mrs. Green was seen and known as humble-spirited, faithful in her walk and ways, and everyone knew her and Lowell to be pillars in the faith. Actually, they were fierce prayer warriors.

So I sought her out. A very special bond quickly developed. I believe God knit our hearts together. In the early years we began to meet regularly at her home in metro Atlanta -- she was widowed by then -- and she'd make us lunch and then we'd pray together. She'd share her heart with me and I'd share mine with her's. We'd pray for our families, friends, church, missionaries, the world, our country's leaders, you name it she wanted to cover it in prayer.

She'd often say, "The hardest thing for a Christian to do is pray!" She said that because we each have to make a sacrifice of our time and energy to pray. And, there are those distractions that come to attempt to hinder us from praying: the mind wanders, the laundry pile calls our name, the phone rings, or we say we're too tired or too busy and "I'll get back to you later, God.".
Mrs. Green cared about everybody. She'd clearly remember the names of people she met on retreats and conferences and we'd pray about their calamities and celebrate their praises. People regularly approached her in person and by phone to ask her to pray for them. Over decades she has shared herself with many other mentees who desired to be close to her and they always cherished time spent with her. She made meals for friends in need. She baked a mean pound cake. She visited the sick and often when after our time together I'd drive her to visit one of her dear friends who was paralyzed from the neck down with MS. Gwen quickly became my friend, too. The woman is a Proverbs 31 woman through and through!

Mrs. Green's first answer to everything is prayer. Pray without ceasing. Trust God and pray believing He will glorify His Name with His response. Along with carrying around a heart for God she had a dry sense of humor and a quick wit. I loved to make her laugh. When she'd get her feelings hurt by some situation she'd pray and ask God to help her push any negative thoughts out of her head. She was always quick to ask God for forgiveness in case it was 'her fault'. When we would be preparing to pray together she'd become saddened over the corruption and rebellion in the U.S. --- we've lost our first love (Christ) and thrown away our birthrights from our Founding Fathers who were Christians! She was and is grieved that the church is not shining the light of Christ and not praying, really praying on our knees daily in repentance and faith.
A few months ago, in March, I attended a small celebration of Mrs. Green's 100th birthday. Her son, David, and daughter Anna, hosted a delightful party on Peachtree Rd. in Atlanta where Mrs. Green lives in a retirement home.
At 100, Mrs. Green has dementia and does not recognize faces easily anymore. Once an avid reader, she's had to give it up. But at her birthday party she was enjoying her cake. She was on her second piece and also had some punch. Then there was another piece of cake on the table, untouched, and she was staring at it. I said, "Do you want another piece of cake?" I was laughing because I know of her dry wit and I said, "You've had two... do you want another?" Someone at the party said, "Hey, she's 100 years old today and she's Mrs. Green and she can have anything she wants today!" We were all laughing. I pushed the plate in front of her!

Mrs. Green has always loved her sweets. Before she weakened to the state she's in now, I used to take her to one of her favorite places to eat, Chick-fil-A, to order the chicken noodle soup, crackers, and the famous lemonade. We'd refill the lemonade and take it with us so she could sip on it all afternoon. During those lunches she kept thanking me for taking her there and said it was "so great to get outdoors again and do this with you".

She looked so beautiful on her birthday because God is living inside her and glorifying His name every day she's alive. She has often said she is longing to see the her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ face to face and is very enthusiastic at the thought of seeing 'her Lowell' again!

I can't possibly list all the ways Mrs. Green has blessed my life and the rich teachings that came from watching her persevere and live her life. She loves God with all her heart, soul, strength and mind and her neighbor as herself. I believe anyone who really knows her will tell you the same thing. I thank the Lord that He brought her into my life in such a special way! She has left a legacy for me:

Sistas, our country is in trouble. There is a lot we can do. For such a time as this: Is God calling you to become a Spiritual Mother/Mentor/Friend -- no matter what your age? Or are you hungry for a Spiritual Mother/Mentor and afraid to ask for a new friendship/mentor? Pray and ask God if he's speaking to you to step out. Put your foot in the water and see if God will part the sea. We can be God's lighthouses and Jesus can be the light that shines through us to bring people to Himself and to rescue our Sistas who are struggling. We are all in this together. We are the body of Christ.

Love & blessings,