1: to educate, to further the development of: foster
2: to supply with nourishment: food
3: the sum of environmental factors influencing behavior and expressed traits
This year I was excited to find an heirloom seed catalogue, next to the junk magazines in the grocery store check out. I snapped it up, ordered a bunch of cool seeds and seeded them according to the farmer’s almanac (nerd alert). They sprouted up and reached for the sun. All of them! We watched and watered them, my daughter excitedly asking “when can we eat them!?”
But this spring was slow and cold. When I felt the spindly things couldn’t wait one more day, I planted them outside. It was a warm-ISH afternoon, but the rest of the week was 45-55 and rainy. No good… I knew they were doomed. Aside from two hardy peas, every. single. plant. died. Two days and poof, all that work, withered, wasted. So much for my nurturing skills. Hopefully I fare better with kids. ;)
We nurture lots of things, from relationships to ambition, creativity, skills, careers, plants and children, but first God nurtures us. Weeks after my entire garden died, I bought some plants to drown my sorrows and start fresh. As I transplanted them I broke up the roots a bit, before placing each into it’s new home in the ground. Isn’t nurturing sometimes that way? A little discomfort to encourage growth, and maybe bring you to your knees, but bring you closer to Jesus. A little stretching, a little manure when we need it… and we are better for it. God knows best, the master gardener himself! Growing ALL THINGS exactly as He wills since, well, the beginning of time.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.”
Are we nurturing our relationship with Him? Digging in those roots and soaking up the Living Water? Too often we forget to open our Bibles when we feel stunted, stuck or withered. To nurture: to educate, further the development of, foster. To nourish, supply with food (Food for our souls.) The sum of environmental factors influencing behavior and expressed traits. Surrounding ourselves with an environment rich with the Word: on the radio, in devotions, podcasts, in worship, in Christian friends, on a post-it in your bathroom, on an HHH coffee cup :) can change my stubborn heart and actions. I have Ephesians 4:2 framed in my kitchen for a reason! This mama (this wife) can never have too many environmental reminders for patience and humility. He nurtures, we nurture.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Think of the things we nurture— careers, children, friendships — doesn’t nurturing seems like a long term thing? Not a quick task: “Nurture kids, check. Nurture marriage, check check.” If you’re nurturing something, it’s probably important. Something you really care about, you commit to. You’re in it for the long haul. Let’s give our work in progress nurturing to God, and let His word be the first place we come for encouragement, sustenance, and growth. How can we ‘be Christ’ to the people in our lives if we haven’t filled up our own cup with Jesus? God has invested His own Son in us, He promises to nurture us for the long haul. For eternity. What a harvest that will be!
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. John 15:16