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,