Character Quality: Nurturing
Character Quality: Nurturing
Lois and Eunice were the mother and grandmother of Timothy, respectively. And they nurtured this young man. They taught him about the Lord and apparently created an environment rich in honoring and glorifying Him. They must have taught with words but also by the model of their lives. Their examples profoundly affected him for he was apparently mature beyond his years. He ministered along side Paul the apostle, who considered him a son.
Creating a nurturing environment means setting the tone, offering the opportunities, having the tools and resources available for growth to happen. Growing up and maturing is not always pretty. In fact it’s often messy. It’s also often painful, to both the nurturer and the nurtured.
Many things require nurturing: a garden, a talent, an education, a dream, a career, an idea. Relationships depend on nurturing. Marriages, families, friendships, communities, parent/child, neighbors, and pastor/congregation relationships all need careful attention and deliberate tending.
As moms we have the opportunity to create an atmosphere in our homes wherein our children can grow and thrive. Every day brings with it fresh moments, which we can use to cultivate the hearts of our children, to prepare their hearts, to train them to be used by God. Most of these moments are just ordinary, nothing special, except that in total they add up to the whole.
We nurture as we explore and discover God’s creation, discuss His attributes, worship Him and glorify Him in word and deed. We can and should live out these truths in front of our children as we scramble eggs, butter toast, pour coffee, fold towels, wipe counters, sew a button, or water flowers. This is the perfect context for them to come to know Him who alone is Worthy.
Nurturing is like cultivating a garden. Before seeds or plants can be successfully grown in a garden, the ground must be broken up, softened, fertilized, and watered. Weed, rocks, and thorns must be removed. Preparing a garden takes the right tools, patience, hard work, and time. Additionally, it requires a vision of what could be, the potential harvest, the anticipation of greater things to come.
When you nurture something you help it grow. It means that you consider what it would take to help something to become all it is supposed to be. It means creating an environment that would support growth. Nurturing is an art, one that requires practice. Nurturing requires the investment of large quantities of time and handing out generous amounts of encouragement. It’s a process. Often nurturing requires pruning, cutting away dead or unnecessary growth for the betterment of the plant or person.
Our homes are like our garden plot. Some are more ideal than others as a result of life circumstances, and all have their challenges. None are perfect or without weeds. Some might look better than others, but such comparisons are unprofitable. In contrast, we can all benefit from the lessons we’ve learned if we are willing to share ideas and experiences.
I’m strange. I love to weed my garden. I’m not sure why except that I used to do it with my mom when I was growing up. It became our time to talk and discuss the things of life. In my memory, weeding has a positive connotation. Mom and I would laugh and share while we cleared out the weeds so that there was more room for the flowers to bloom.
Nurturing in our homes is like that. As moms we have an opportunity (make that a responsibility) to be tending our home as gardens where our children (the tender plants) can grow and thrive. We need to enthusiastically and intentionally create and maintain our plot. We need to envision what could be, prayerfully plan, and diligently manage.
Our children have hopes and dreams, ideas and imaginations. God has a plan for their lives, and it is a good plan. His plan is that they would glorify Him. Our job is to nurture them by tending to their hearts, helping to keep their hearts pure and softened through kind words of encouragement. We need to help keep their hearts free from weeds, rocks, and thorns by minimizing criticism and words that would frustrate them.
As we are showing them how to nurture the garden of their heart, we plant a very specific seed: the Seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We show them how to water it with the Living Water and we show them the importance of walking in the Light. Sometime it’s necessary to show them how to be pruned and to prune. All of this can be done in love and for a purpose — to help them grow.
While these lessons can be taught while planting a garden together, which is fun and grants many teachable moments, the tending of the heart’s garden has a never-ending season. It is daily and continual—24/7/365. Though hand trowels, fork cultivators, gloves, and watering cans are useful in the garden, a mom’s primary tools are her loving eyes, gentle touch, encouraging words, wise instruction, genuine smile, and abundant hugs. These are the little secrets to a well-nurtured heart-home garden.
1. Promotes giftings and talents and interests and understandings
2. Prunes/bends=disciplines wayward behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, ideas, longings
3. Provides environment, resources, opportunities
4. Prayers for wisdom and God’s will, His way, His perfect timing
Thank You for the garden of my home, the plot You have entrusted to me to nurture and tend. Father it is sometimes overwhelming, it seems too large, too unmanageable. But Your word says that You will never leave me or forsake me. Your word says that You are my strength in weakness, my joy, my hope, my song. Today is Yours. This garden is Yours. Show me what You see. Open my eyes to the possibilities. Give me the energy I need to tend it, to pull out the weeds, to remove the rocks and thorns. Help me to plant the seed faithfully, joyfully, consistently. May my words fall like rain and Your Spirit work miracles of new life.
All for the Glory of Your Name-Amen.