Protect—Like their counterparts in the animal kingdom, human mothers have a powerful instinct to keep their children safe. And they can be just as dangerous in the face of a threat to their offspring. Spiritual mothers also want to protect younger Christians, and they do so by praying for them, warning them of spiritual danger, and encouraging them to live with integrity.
Let go—Mothers who cling tightly to their children will eventually hold them back; when the process of letting go doesn’t happen gradually, it will be forced upon them. And while complete physical independence may not come until adulthood, emotionally the process begins in toddlerhood. Spiritual mothers can influence and nurture younger people without trying to control them. Our leadership is good only if we let others be responsible for themselves.
Which of these skills do you need to develop? And who might benefit from your nurture and guidance? Even if you feel you need spiritual parents of your own, you may be the person whose influence someone else needs. Even if you’ve never thought of yourself as a mother, God may be calling you to that role in the life of someone who needs to grow. Through this kind of relationship, we affirm the psalmist’s call: “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power” (Psalm 145:4).
Amy Simpson is an inner strength coach, a popular speaker, and the award-winning author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission and Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (both InterVarsity Press). You can find her at AmySimpsonOnline.com, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @aresimpson.