As we wrap up our nurturing theme this week, I reflected upon the contrast between the spiritual positions of “consolation” and “desolation.” I was struck anew how key it is to allow God to nurture us in order for us to nurture others.
Consolation draws us towards God’s presence in our lives. While desolation pulls us away. One is life-giving. The other is loss. Life or loss. Somewhat like a choice between thriving or wilting. Deuteronomy 30:19 speaks of the choice between life and death, blessings and curses.
Consolation allows me to be me my most authentic self with God. In good or bad, I am aware of his love and grace at work in me and through me. Desolation leaves me feeling out of touch with God. I am off-kilter. Not free to be myself, with God or others.
The word “consolation” can sound negative. As in, “consolation prize.” But the root is “console,” as in: solace, comfort, delight, pleasure, consoling. We could say these are parts of nurturing.
To nurture is to cause growth. To be life-giving is the epitome of nurturing. And to do so lovingly, we must do so freely, without a sense of burden. The Bible is clear that with God there is more to life and freedom (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 3:17). Scripture also says we get comfort from God, which in turn, we pour out to others.
Each day is a choice. Consolation or desolation. Draw near to God, be poured into, and pour into others.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NLT)
My dad died at the beginning of May and today is his birthday. I thought about him most of the day. When someone you’ve known all your life dies, your mind is flooded with memories. Memories reveal themselves through the lens of the eyes and age that captured them, and they are held, tucked away, suspended in time. I pulled some out today and sifted through them. The good ones I decided to hold onto, the ones I declared not-so-good I’m in the process of tossing out. Nothing can be done with those once the story ends for a life.
This month’s blog theme is connection and nurturing, and what better example can be found than that of a parent? The Bible says-
“And fathers, do not provoke your children, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (I’m sure this applies to mothers also)
These two things go together, and because they are “of the Lord,” we know they are to be filled with His love and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
My dad came to parenthood with little preparation or resources to pull from. He did the best he knew how, just like many of us do. We are all flawed people, so how do we nurture our children and others? How do we connect and support them and one another?
I find my answer in Jesus. He shows us the way to The Father who is perfect in His love and nurturing. He sent Jesus to connect with us and make us His children. He is the answer to- “HOW?” In Him we cannot only nurture and connect with others, but we can receive those things for ourselves. Jesus sees beyond our outer wrappings into the hidden areas of our hearts where we store our deepest needs. He touches us there and nurtures our souls.
His example shows us that nurturing is putting love into action on behalf of another. He created a connection with people because he stopped, He saw them, He listened, and He acted by meeting their basic need- the need to be fully known and fully loved.
When I ponder the memories of my dad, I see the ways he nurtured me and my sister, in the ways he knew how. Those are the memories I choose to hold onto. I hope my children will do the same with my flawed attempts at being a nurturing parent. I am convinced the only way we can nurture better is by following the example of Jesus. Apart from Him, we are all broken people trying to figure things out with limited resources. With Him, we have all we need!
Is there someone you can nurture and connect with today?
In His love,
Man says..show me and I’ll trust you.
God says..trust me and I’ll show you…
For those of us who are Christians, God is transforming us into the image of Jesus when He walked this earth.
He’s making us more Christlike. He’s even more committed to the process than we are, and that’s okay because all God wants us to do is keep showing up and be ready and willing for him to use us in the world.
When our Holy Spirit indwelled in us, we were taken out of ourselves and beyond our very real limitations.
When you are asked to give of yourself to others, you may think, “I don’t have enough to give, I don’t know what to do, or I’m not qualified for this.” That may be true for you, but definitely not for God. All you need to do is just show up and be faithful. And as you follow His lead, you’ll be transformed, and you’ll witness His unstoppable power. He will continue to make you more like Jesus as he expands your impact on the world.
Embrace this mystery of Christ in you, and you’ll find yourself choosing to love the lost, the hurting, and the forgotten with your words and actions.
You’ll find yourself being used by God to transform the world around you.
God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others.
Rely on His strength and allow Him to work in you and through you to help others.
Stay in God’s peace,
With Mother’s Day in mind, the Freedom Writers are composing our thoughts on the nurturing qualities of God.
I must admit, I love lady’s events! I love the décor, the warm greetings, the kindness and compassion that just embody what I think of when I think of nurture. But I must admit, growing up a tomboy, I didn’t always appreciate or understand…
I loved the picture of the warrior God, God almighty, El Shaddai. Funny thing though, when I looked up this word in the Hebrew, it has a double meaning – what???
Most Bible scholars say that Shaddai is derived from the Hebrew word, “shaddu” meaning mountain. As a result, the most common interpretation of the name El Shaddai is God Almighty or God the “overpowerer.” Other Bible scholars have said that “Shaddai” is from the Hebrew root word, “Shad” meaning “breast”. In addition to El Shaddai speaking of God as being almighty, El Shaddai also speaks to His ability to nurture and satisfy. These scholars say that the name speaks to God as being nourishing, satisfying and supplying all our needs as a mother would a child. (crosswalk.com; El Shaddai meaning) I think Amy Grant says it best…
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
An Endearing Scene…
This month, my prayer is that we would crawl up into His lap for a hug. I pray that we would receive the comfort we need from The Almighty, nurturing God, and “comfort those with the comfort we have been given.”
With Much Love, Hugs, and Pretty Décor, 😊