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“Are You An Effective Mother (Natural and Spiritual)?”
11 months ago
| Prophetic

“Are You An Effective Mother (Natural and Spiritual)?”

by sysministriesinc

mama

{Read: Judges 4-5}

Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a MOTHER in Israel” {Judges 5:7 NIV}

What would you call a woman who sits under a palm tree, mediates disputes, offers godly counsel and takes up weapons to go to war against a fierce enemy? A mad-woman? A multi-tasker? Or perhaps, A MOTHER?

I agree with Lin Yutang “Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a MOTHER

Deborah played many roles. She was a prophetess, ruler, mediator and warrior! As one of only a handful of prophetesses mentioned in Scripture, Deborah exercised the divine ability to discern the commandments of God and declare them to others. As a ruler, she led Israel as the only female judge. As a mediator, Deborah conducted arbitration and settled disputes. As a warrior, she went to battle on behalf of her extended family, the Children of Israel.

Now, a woman this gifted at multi-tasking could be called many things, but surprisingly enough, Deborah designated Only One Title For Herself: MOTHER!

In a day and time of the church where women seek for and fight for various titles, Deborah (who rightfully earned hers) only desired ONE and it had nothing to do with a Position in the Church! Reminds me of a Spanish Proverb, “An Ounce of MOTHER is Worth a Pound of Clergy” In other words, out of all the Hierarchy titles that she could have claimed, Only ONE Mattered, and it was Simply, MOTHER.

A MOTHER is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts” (Washington Irving) I do not believe there is a more accurate portrayal of Motherhood than that! Perhaps it is why it was the Only Title that meant anything to Deborah!

Now, although her husband is named in Scripture, there is no record that she birthed any biological children. However, rather than referring to herself as a judge or prophetess she instead called herself “…I, Deborah…a MOTHER in Israel” (Judges 5:7 NIV). Another translation says it like this, “…I, Deborah, took a stand – took a stand as a MOTHER of Israel” (GWT). This means a Deliberate Action. Not because I’m supposed to, or it would look good, but I Choose to make my presence known, as Israel’s MOTHER!

With her great love for her children, the children of Israel, I am certain they would agree with the words of Kate Douglas Wiggin, “Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by two and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends – But Only One MOTHER In The Whole World

11 months ago

There was never a more Powerful or Effective Spiritual Mother to Israel than that of Mother Deborah.

The Biblical record of this Highly Respected Leader is a case study in Spiritual Motherhood.

Deborah was leading Israel at a time when the country needed protection from the domination of the Canaanites, ruled by King Jabin and his military commander Sisera. God told her to instruct an Israelite warrior named Barak to take ten thousand troops into battle against Sisera. God promised victory if Barak followed His directions. Barak, however, refused to go unless Deborah went with him.

“A MOTHER is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled” (Emily Dickinson)

Although Deborah warned Barak that his honor would suffer as a result of his lack of faith, she agreed to accompany him into battle. Rather than holding his timidity against him, Deborah decided to do what was best for her nation: Therefore, she fought the enemy like a Mother bear whose cubs were in danger! Think about it, she could’ve picked on him, made fun of him, or exposed his timidity. Come on, be real, what grown military man is going to tell Mama I won’t go to the battle without you?! And yet, Barak did!

I think Toni Morrison said it best: “Grown don’t mean nothing to a MOTHER. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing”

Reading about Deborah taught me quite a bit about Motherhood (Natural and Spiritual). I’ve learned to be there for my children to talk to them, but more importantly to listen to them. I’ve learned to love them even when I hate what they’ve done or left un-done. I’ve learned to encourage them in their weaknesses (not belittle them). I’ve learned to celebrate their strengths (but not encourage arrogant behavior). I’ve learned that as much as they can learn from my past, My Past is still MY Past, Not Theirs! So many of Their Mistakes are Their Mistakes to Make and Learn from. I’ve learned that I will not always agree with their choices, but I will try to stand in their shoes and understand and when I can’t understand, simply lovingly, unconditionally accept that I don't understand and move on. I’ve learned that they need me even in adult battles as they get older, and “I told you so” is not a good weapon of choice. I’ve learned to be patient and gentle (even when everything in me says grab her and shake her until her brain works right again). I’ve learned to let them Live and Learn even when their mistakes seem like de je vu from my youth. I’ve learned that from the day of their conception I’ve written the whole story of their lives, and now I have to accept the fact that they have to proof it, edit it, change it, erase it, add and delete from it and ultimately the final version is theirs alone to finish, publish and put on display. It's all a part of the territory of Motherhood!

Truth is, one of the hardest jobs in the world is being a MOTHER (whether Natural or Spiritual), the joys and pains are the same. And truth be told, I’ve watched my mom, other moms, myself and my other spiritual moms all get it right and get it wrong. The key still remains the same, as Deborah was there for Barak, be there for your children whatever the battles they must face. Encourage them, speak words of life over them, remind them of the promises God has made to them, and even if those promises haven’t come to pass yet, admonish them to hold on. Spend time with them (and bible study and Sunday school are not what I mean!) So many call themselves “Spiritual Mothers” but they have no idea of the battles their Spiritual Children are fighting and therefore they are not there to help them to victory. Spiritual Mothering is more than someone who is a member of your church. Spiritual Mothering is taking time out to spend with Individuals and hear their stories, their pains, weaknesses and hurts. Taking time to let their hearts bleed out all the bitterness they’ve been holding within. It’s a soft hug, a warm smile, a pat on the back, a little push that says you can do it, you can finish it, you can accomplish it, you can reach it, you can become it. It's knowing someone is in your corner and not because it's convenient or complementary for them. It's someone who wants to give not get, someone who wants to lift you up and not let you down instead. It's someone who wants to bless you even when they don't benefit from it. It's someone who is willing to discover what's bothering you even when you don't want to reveal it. It's someone who makes your name feel safe in their mouth even when your ears are not nearby to hear the conversation. It's someone you can trust in a trial to believe in your innocence instead of assuming your guilt.


11 months ago

Believe it or not, there are many Spiritual Sons and Daughters who are Ministers, Elders, Evangelists, Pastors, Prophets, Bishops and Apostles who are still, like Barak, needing their Spiritual Mothers to help them do battle (whether it’s against an addiction, an unhealed wound, a past mistake, fear, failure, or discouragement). Just as Natural Children are still your children No Matter How Old They Get, Spiritual Children need you no matter how high their office/title/position/successes go! They need your support, friendship, love and sometimes just your mere presence.

As Natural and Spiritual Mothers, I challenge you today to reach out to your children. No matter their age, position or seemingly “I’ve got it all figured out” attitude. I've learned, the more time you spend with them, you’ll be able to see what they’re not showing you and hear what they’re not telling you.

I preached at a church last year and three older men stood at the altar and cried like babies. Men in their 50’s and 60’s, gray hair and all, just cried. Now, these men are all in leadership positions and when I arrived at the church they were dressed to impress, and said all the right ecclesiastical words. They were strong and “I got it Pastor”, and then in a matter of moments in an altar call, they cried like they were newly saved for the first time.  It made me wonder what could possibly be going on in their lives that caused that much pain, but more importantly how long had they been holding on to it? Did no one notice? Were they that busy in “church work” that no one saw signs of depression and discouragement? Were they that together? Later, one of them confided their depression and suicidal thoughts and he’s an Elder. I asked if he spoke with his leaders, and his response was “they don’t care how I feel, they just care how I function”. That hurt on many levels, but mostly because I’ve been in those shoes, and I knew exactly where he was and how lonely, abandoned and isolated it feels.

With that shared, it is my prayer that as women, and more importantly, as Christian Women and Mothers, we’ll be more discerning to our Natural and Spiritual Children. And not be side-tracked by their giftings, talents, ministry, functions, titles, anointing or their service of excellence in the ministry. But that we will take more personal, one-on-one time with each of our children and really “Locate” them. I remember the ten o’clock news would open up with the question “It’s ten pm, do you know where your children are?”  As Natural and Spiritual Mothers, I ask you to ask yourself that same question today. “Do I know where my children are?” I know she sings on the praise team, but do I know where she really is? I know he plays the drums, but do I know where he really is? I know they serve as excellent armor-bearers, but do I know where they really are? I know they teach a powerful word every Sunday, but do I know where they really are?

I admonish you to do this because in honesty I tell you, I mastered how to be suicidal and still serve. I mastered how to teach, preach, pray and preside, and still battle not to walk in a liquor store and throw all the years of sobriety away, if it would just dull the pain for a few hours. I mastered how to support others, wipe their tears and encourage them to press on, even while envisioning my own funeral. I mastered how to dance and still be depressed. I mastered how to sing on the outside and still cry on the inside. I mastered how to hold other people, when I was falling apart myself. I mastered how to smile on my face and have rage brewing in my heart. I mastered how to bless others and curse God for making me the way He did. I mastered how to be busy and broken. I mastered making the Abnormal…Normal and I likewise mastered how to make all of my Dysfunctions…Function.

Why do I share all of that with you? Because the church is unfortunately the best place to “Cover-Up”. And Mothers are usually the first ones with the Sheets In Hand! But my Natural Mom used to say “take that bandage off, your wound will never heal that way”. And naturally my response would be, “but what if someone bumps into it?” And her response would be something like this: “you have to keep it uncovered so it heals, but because it’s uncovered and exposed you walk a certain way so that you’re real careful who comes near it and you’re real cautious that no one touches or bothers it. You simply keep it uncovered and yet protected at the same time” It would be many years in ministry and leadership before I would accurately and fully understand her philosophy. You see, as Mothers, Natural and Spiritual, we have to be trusted enough for our children to come to us with their hurts. And when they show us their hurts, Don’t Cover It Up, treat it, keep it uncovered and exposed and let it heal over time. And think about it, while they're walking around with their hurt uncovered and exposed, they walk a bit more cautious. They become more aware and discerning of where they go, who comes close and what they do, because they don't want to risk their wound becoming infected and getting worse, and causing greater pain. In essence, letting them be uncovered and exposed often teaches them to finally walk right!

11 months ago

One of the great benefits to this is because when you’re wounds are uncovered and exposed others get to see them and they’ll ask “what happened?” And often we tell it. “I burned my arm on the stove or I scratched it on a nail” etc…" and what that does for the other person is plant a seed that if you do what I did, you’ll get what I got! And they end up helping someone by using what hurt them!

As Mothers it’s Our Responsibility to Reach and Teach Our Children. So in honesty, with both your Natural and Spiritual Children, How Have You Been Doing In This Area? Or if you want a more accurate answer, Just Ask Your Children!

Reflection Questions:

1.      What are some specific ways in which you can become a Spiritual Mother to someone else?
2.      How does the story of Deborah encourage you in your various leadership roles?
3.      Whom do you think God may have placed in your life to nurture, or encourage you?
4.      What mistakes have you made in motherhood? (Natural and Spiritual)
5.      What 3 things will you start to do that will improve your mothering skills (Natural and Spiritual)?
6.      Do you “cover” for your children instead of treating them?
7.      How often do you Individually reach out to your children?
8.      Do you think someone who is not a Natural Mother can be an Effective Spiritual Mother?
9.      Do you think a person should be of a certain age or possess a particular title in order to be a Spiritual Mother?
10.  If you could celebrate your mothers (Natural and Spiritual) what would you say as you toast them?
11.  What is the Best and Worst thing you believe your Children (Natural and Spiritual) would say about your Mothering Ability?
12.  What Bible Character, in your opinion, is the Best Example of Motherhood? Why?

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