For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a spiritual mother is a mentor. The concept comes from Scripture. "Older women are 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 subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God" (Titus 2:3-5).
Spiritual mothers can be any age, what matters is the older woman is to teach the younger. She could be old enough to be our mother and/or grandmother or a 35-year-old mentoring a 20-year-old.
My experience with my spiritual mothers is they're women who have been faithful followers of Jesus for decades and have hearts filled with rich, life-giving wisdom and humility. They're fierce prayer warriors because they know God is a mountain-moving God and it glorifies Him when they pray. They walk closely with Jesus every day. And there's no fanfare with a true spiritual mother. She doesn't boast or brag about her wisdom and knowledge. She has a gentle and quiet spirit because the Lord has quieted her soul with His love over the years. She has a beautiful, deep relationship with her Savior. She has a sense of humor because she's learned not to take herself too seriously, she dearly loves her own family and the whole wide world of believers! She is full of life, not pride.
She is usually someone you would not expect to be so filled with a huge dose of Holy Spirit power. But when she walks into a room she's radiant with God's presence. See, she's not impressed with worldly things like designer clothes, people pleasing and her own fame. She's really cool because she has Christ confidence and filled with His love and His light. This describes my spiritual mothers.
I was inspired to write about spiritual mothering/mentoring when my hubby showed me a recent story on Elisabeth Elliot in WORLD Magazine. Wow. It was very moving for me because it brought back sweet memories of my early years as a Christian.
My first spiritual mother was Evelyn Green. I sought her out as a newborn Christian and asked her if we could get together. We had a special bond for 30 years until she went to live with Jesus at the age of 102.Whenever Elisabeth Elliot came to Atlanta for a conference as the key speaker, we'd go! Evelyn called her "Betty."
Elisabeth Elliot Conference, Atlanta, GA 1991
(from l: my close friend Sue Becker, Elisabeth Elliot, Evelyn Green, me!)
I didn't know Elisabeth Elliot personally, but she was always gracious in posing with us for photos.
I was hungry to learn how to live for God, so I collected a few of Elisabeth Elliot's books over the years. Just sayin'...
She didn't know she was a mentor/spiritual mother to me, but Elisabeth Elliot was gracious to autograph her videos when I asked. I imagine there are thousands of women like me who have grown in Christ through her life and ministry. After reading the World Magazine article, I'm continuing to be amazed and exhorted with her words of grace and trust.
I learned in my 20's to seek out a godly woman and then ask her to spend time with me. But it's never too late to start, Sisters! I'm now 61 years old (I can't believe it) and my spiritual mother, Frances, is 90! She's a firecracker...a tiny package radiant with God's light and enthusiastically fueled by His Holy Spirit. Her prayers blow through the roof because they're motivated by a passionate faith.
We are the Body of Christ. We are the light of the world. If you don't have a spiritual mother, my sisters, pray for one. Invite one into your life. You won't believe the blessings. And God showed me I'm not the only one enriched for spending time with her. Over and over it was obvious she wanted me to come alongside her, too. I had no idea. How glorious is that?
For His Glory,