Growing a family in ways you didn't expect
When first married, I wanted a big family—a house full of kids! Adoption seemed like a real possibility. Then after our three kids came, we had a miscarriage and I was tired. It seemed that a family of five is all I could handle. Dreams of adoption vaporized in the crazy days of raising young children. Yet, I always knew there was more to our family than the five of us.
Truth be told, my image was idealistic. I didn’t understand the stress of another human’s 24/7 dependence. I have dealt with a lot of poop, pee, and puke in the last 25 years. (More so in the beginning, in case you are concerned.) Of course, I also didn’t understand the joy of giggles and snuggles either. As I look back now, I see we were caught up in our own little family. Now as we approach the empty nest, I’m glad we chose it this way.
It wasn’t until I started writing today, that I realized God answered my wish for a big family through spiritual parenting. It was a seed the Lord planted a long time ago but I didn’t understand exactly how it would grow. The young women in my life are dear to me—they’re like my own children. They are an important part of my life. Like my own kids, their love is a joy.
These relationships develop slowly. They need to be nourished and developed. Not all people in your life will become family. As a mentor, be open to the idea that they might bust open your heart and even house. “Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities” (Isaiah 54:2-3 NLT).
Your descendants aren’t just your biological children. Spiritual children can also be part of our homes. Are you prepared to accept new “daughters” into your life?
Whether or not you have biological kids, when you mentor, you have spiritual kids. You don’t even have to be married! The relationship with your younger friend becomes much like mothering—your nurturing instincts kick in and she becomes your spiritual child.
This is exactly how Paul describes his relationship with Timothy—“my true child in the faith,” he writes (I Timothy 1:2 NLT). This is a unique situation, because from what we know of Timothy, his father did not share the same faith. Paul wasn’t a replacement, but an enrichment.
More than likely, your young friend will already have her own mother, and you will not be a replacement—nor should you be. But your spiritual motherhood is an enrichment in her life, and in yours as well.
What do you think? Are you ready to expand your house? Mentoring is the key to this life. Find out how in Leslie's latest book Legacy. Purchase it here.