When I was in high school, my friends called me “Mama Tiff”. Yes, I was a little bossy, and I still am, but it was more than that. The nature of a woman is to nurture.
My 2-year-old loves to nurture her baby dolls, she holds them, pats their backs and sings them to sleep. Even now, she’s trying to put a pillow under our sleeping dog’s head. My 7-year-old is a little mama too, she is my right hand and helps me with her two baby sisters every day.
This isn’t a mother-thing, it’s a girl-thing. A girl’s desire to care for others exists long before she has children. It’s an ability and a gift that God puts in every woman, it’s our purpose and our privilege to be the nurturers and caretakers in our world.
So why do we have so many lost and hurting people in the world? Well, a small part of the issue, I believe, is that as women, we forget to extend our nurturing hearts beyond the walls of our own homes. We can be totally on point in our child raising, our housekeeping, our wifey-ing (and that’s all important), but we can so easily miss the big picture.
God gave us the gift of nurturing so that we can care for His people, not just our people. He calls us to care for the church, the orphan, the widow, the world, not just ourselves, our spouses and our children.
I’m not saying that we should all be Mother Teresa (although we have the potential to do what she did) but I am saying that we have a greater purpose beyond our intimate circle of relationships. We have a purpose beyond our four walls. Our gift to nurture has the capacity to reach beyond our family. It’s a gift that God intended for us to use selflessly, not selfishly.
Loving outside of your family (the people that already love you back) is hard but it’s what God has called us to do.
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!” Luke 6:32 (NLT)
So what does that look like when you’re already struggling to love your own family well each day? What does that look like when you’re young and just trying to pass your college classes? What does that look like when you’re an empty-nester and you feel like you can’t relate well to younger women?
Nurturing beyond our own circle of comfort means inviting your neighbor into your messy home and praying for them when they share their struggles.
Nurturing beyond our own circle of comfort means becoming a study partner for the quiet girl that sits next to you in a difficult class.
Nurturing beyond our own circle of comfort means taking a newly married woman out for lunch to give her encouragement, share recipes or just to be a listening ear when the honeymoon phase wears off and things get tough.
No matter your age or stage of life, nurturing beyond our own circle of comfort means hugging the crying woman at church, paying for the college students coffee, watching the exasperated mom’s kids for an hour so she can take an uninterrupted shower or nap, praying for the victims in the car crash you just drove by, engaging in genuine conversation with the lady at the check out counter, texting a Bible verse to a friend, bringing peace into a potential argument, giving baby items to your pregnant friend, calling an old friend when you see her post about a hard time on Facebook, starting a Bible study in your home or simply assuming the best in people, not the worst.
These are little things, but they are big in the eyes of God because they’re part of His big picture and I promise you, you won’t regret it.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)
Go nurture ladies, you’ve got this!