I am enjoying this book so much and am learning so many things. And I can't believe that I'm actually going to finish reading a book (that's not a novel)...it's been a LONG time since I've done this! You can see what some of the other women are saying, here!
"The Ministry of Encouragement"
1. "As I learned to trust him, I learned to trust others" (page 113). How does growing in trust in God help you trust others? How have you seen the two linked in your own life? I know that there is a direct corelation but I cannot give concrete examples. Call it mommy brain or whatever but I know that when I am fully in the Word and trusting that God will take care of my needs it IS easier to trust other people. Probably because I know that He's got my back and that He is putting these people in my life for a reason, so it's just an off shoot of trusting Him (hope that made sense).
2. "Encouragement is not just an exercise in fluff. The ministry of encouragement is hard work" (page 114). Did this chapter change your definition of encouragement? How are you thinking differently about encouragement after reading this chapter? A lot of times I think of encouragement as sitting on the sidelines with my pom-pons cheering someone on. But on page 115 Susan puts it this way, "...give careful though as to how we can urge one another on in the same direction that we are moving." So, encouragement is also walking along side other people and maybe showing them how you are walking in the Lord and asking them to join you. I definetly need encouragement in MANY areas of my life if this is the definition. I'd love to have someone to walk beside and learn the ropes from all while being encouraged to do just as they are.
3. "Being with a spiritual mother who reflects Christ will encourage and equip a young woman to be like Him" (page 117). We are not mothering other women so they end up like us, but like Jesus. The goal is not a Mini Me! I think of praying that others will not see us, but see Jesus in us.
This means that we can mentor women who are nothing like us; we can ask a woman to be a spiritual mother who is nothing like us. The possibilities just expanded in a huge way! What is important is that we are like Jesus.
Does that change your perception about your ability to be a spiritual mother or a spiritual daughter? This does change my perception a LOT. I totally had in my mind that I needed to find someone like me...someone who has children, a pastor's wife, living far from family...but that's not the point. The point is to be more like Jesus and I know some spiritual giants that would be TREMENDOUS spiritual mothers to me. I thought it would be hard since they don't have many things in common with me but that's the opposite. They will lead me to be more like Jesus and in turn those other hats I wear will fit better!!!
4. Different women reflect Jesus in different ways and have different strengths (and weaknesses!). No one of us will reflect him perfectly--we benefit from multiple spiritual mothers. As you think about the women you know, what are some of the ways you see them reflect Jesus that you want to learn? There are women who talk about Jesus as if they'd just had coffee with him. I'd love to be like that. There are women I know who are so humble and selfless but not in a "look at me I'm humble and selfless" kind of way. I want to learn more about teaching someone through my actions and lifestyle, I want to be more like Jesus and show His love in ways that I don't even understand yet.
5. We've talked a lot about our becoming spiritual mothers in the past chapters. But this chapter has made me realize my own longing for a spiritual mother or two in my everyday, face-to-face life.
How might we benefit from being a spiritual daughter? As we pray to be open to mother a younger woman, let's also pray that God would guide us toward a spiritual mother of our own. If you do not have a mentor/spiritual mother, is there someone you'd like to ask? I could totally benefit from being a spiritual daughter. This book has shown me time and time again how I long to have a mentor. There are so many inconsistencies in my life that I know watching someone with better discipline would greatly impact my life. I know that I would gain so much from a spiritual mother and yes, I have someone in mind, just don't know how/when to ask!
6. Anything else you'd like to add? I love this quote on page 119, "A church that has the combination of sound preaching from the pulpit and a unified effort of encouragement from the pews will be dynamite! And I personally believe that it is primarily women who bring the energy of encouragement into the church." This is what I am craving and longing for. We've got sound preaching happening and encouragement is floating around but I would love for it to be more intentional at our church. I'm thinking of ways to make this happen...hmmmm...
which leads right into the quote on page 122, "When we invest in encouraging other women, we will have the glorious experience of seeing them come out of the cave and use their spiritual gifts for God's glory. ... Encouragement by other women is probably the most effective and efficient way to tap the rich resource of the female population of a local church." Right on. How do we do it? What does it look like? Where do I start?