|A special gift: 2016 calendar from my daughters with photos of our sweet grandkids!|
I've been kind of captivated by this word recently: nurturing. And wondering if it is a good definition of what we as women, as wives, mothers, grandmothers, and friends, do, and what we are at the core. Isn't this where our hearts are? What brings us the deepest kind of joy? To be nurturers, life-givers ...
I looked up the definition of nurture last week, and this is what I found from various online resources:
- the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing
- as a verb: to feed and protect or support and encourage; to bring up; train; educate
- as a noun: upbringing, training, education, development, something that nourishes
Nurturing our children, our grandchildren, all of our relationships, can be compared beautifully to how we nurture the seeds and young plants in our gardens and homes. For with our gardens and with our families and loved ones, it really is an unconditional giving, and nourishing. And it is a daily, faithful commitment of time and energy on our part. And sometimes it even requires replanting, with very tender care. Sometimes the storms come ... and the only thing and the main thing we can do is to love and to pray.
And always, we are nurturing: giving care and attention, supporting, encouraging, training, loving, and the most powerful form of nurturing we can provide for those we love - praying for them. For God is the most loving and powerful nurturer of those we love.
May our sons flourish in their youth
like well-nurtured plants.
May our daughters
be like graceful pillars,
carved to beautify a palace.
(Psalm 144:12 NLT)
- - - - - - - - - -
I have a desire to write periodically on this topic of nurturing during this year, sharing thoughts, quotes, and ideas.
Nurturing has been part of my life as a mom and grama for many years. I have the great privilege of being the mother of six, mother-in-law of four, and grama of ten. A full life, and a full heart.
And I also have an important disclaimer: Though I have experience in mothering/nurturing, what I write here is also for my own learning. In fact, I almost hesitate to write on this topic, for I know how far I fall short. For we do that as women, as mothers, don't we - we always strive for perfection. But there is only One who is perfect. And by God's grace and mercy, as we are nourished by His faithful love and care, we can continually grow as nurturers for those we love.
- - - - - - - - - -
Sharing a few nurturing hands-on tips and ideas this month:
Create a space, an individual space, for each child (or grandchild) ...
We all desire to belong, to feel loved and cared for, to feel noticed. One tangible way we can show love is to make a space for those we love. To let them know that we value them, and are thinking about them.
Sometimes it can be expressions of the heart; a hug, a listening ear, a prayer. And sometimes it can be a tangible way that love and care are expressed ...
These "school boxes" are located on shelves in what our grandkids sometimes call the "art" or "drawing" room of our home. It came from a desire of mine to help them feel special and loved: a box of their own drawing and coloring supplies, with an extra little item added from time to time.
I have been surprised at how they love these boxes - fixed up just for them, with their own name on the box. It maybe gives them a sense of belonging, that their time in our home is anticipated and looked forward to. When a grandchild comes over, I love watching them pick out their box, and move it to the table in the room set up for their use.
Individual time with a child:
|A page from my digital scrapbook ...|
One-on-time with those we love speaks volumes. But finding individual time with a child (or grandchild) can be a challenge. For usually there are multiple children to love and care for. It takes a special effort to make individual time a reality.
Our grandkids are growing up fast, and right now, there is only one who is not in school yet, though she does love the preschool that she goes to two mornings a week! Once a month, besides the times that we may be caring for her and her older brother, I love to have an "Eva Day". With just Eva. A time to focus on just her, and give her my full attention.
She always leaves our home so happy, and I end the day with a full heart ... and also, with a need to sit down and rest up from the day! It's always great fun for both of us, and also for "grampa" who also gets in a bit of time with her, as his office is in our home.
Individual time always makes us feel loved, doesn't it? It works this way with God - spending time alone with Him, reading His Words, listening, journaling ... and we are filled up. And from this overflow, we can do the same with those we love; spending one-on-one time in conversation, in listening and caring.
- - - - - - - - - -
For more of my posts on mothering: