And the fundamental mission of motherhood now is the same as it always was; to nurture, protect and instruct children, to create a home environment that enables them to learn and grow, to help them develop a heart for God and His purposes, and to send them out into the world prepared to live both fully and meaningfully.  Taken from the introduction to Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson    (Connect with her online book study)

When I first read this the word ‘nurture’ popped out at me.  I don’t see myself as a nurturer.  I see myself more as a practical person.  I care for people, I care for my children but nurturer?  A nurturer, to me, is someone who is soft, homey and gentle.  I’m not those things!

So I went to the dictionary and thesaurus and decided to see if my image actually lined up with the real meaning of the word.  It didn’t!

Nurture

Dictionary: verb

  1. Take care of young thing – to give tender care and protection to a young child, animal or plant, helping it to grow and develop.
  2. Encourage somebody or something to flourish – to  encourage somebody or something to grow, develop, thrive and be successful

Thesaurus:

cultivate, cherish, encourage, foster, develop, support

raise, rear, foster, care for

It doesn’t say anything about being soft, homey or gentle!!  That is a picture, a false picture, that I have created in my mind.  This is an interesting lesson to learn.  When we read things in books, or on the internet (maybe even in the Bible) we read it through certain lenses, through our interpretation of certain words.  Though we can’t help this, it is perfectly normal, I think it is good to be aware that sometimes words don’t mean what we think they do.

If we changed our understanding of a word, we would see ourselves differently.

Initially I would have skipped over this aspect of the mission of motherhood – I would have designated that to the nice, kind and gentle women, like Sally.   But it is for me too – I will nurture differently than Sally but God still calls me to nurture my children: to give them tender care to help them grow and develop.  To cultivate, cherish, encourage and support them.  To help them thrive and be successful.

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