Monday, April 18, 2011

Nurture by Lisa Bevere

A number of ladies had done a study on "Nurture" by Lisa Bevere from September to November 2010.  It was a great book study.  Lisa had some great thoughts on Nurture.  Through being a mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a grandmother...there are so many different aspects of Nurture that were brought up through this study that many of us had never thought of before.  We need all of the voices from mothers, daughters and granddaughters. NURTURE is such an important part of being a woman!  I enjoyed listening to her video teaching as well as reading her book and completing the lesson book.
It doesn't matter where we are in life...we all need Nurture and we are all capable of giving Nurture.  The need for women to connect is so times more than food itself.  Nurture means to give tender care and protection to a child, a young animal or a plant, helping it to grow and develop.  It means to encourage somebody or something to grow, develop, thrive and be successful.  WELL, we all do that!  Whether we realize it or not, we do that.  We have a whole generation looking for someone to watch them and nurture them.  There's a whole lot of brokenness in our world and healing is needed from the nurture of women to care.  Women of all ages need to AWAKEN and be an encouragement with one another rather than be in competition to one another in a variety of ways.
Just on a more humorous side note, at one of our Women's Journey of Faith meetings, we were asked to choose a rock and write the word Nurture on it.  I chose a beautiful brown rock with orange in it...cause I love orange!  :-)  I wrote the word on so carefully and beautifully and took it home.  I couldn't wait to post it on my Facebook page to share it with my Nurture ladies.  A couple days later, a friend pointed out to me that I had written "Nuture" NOT NURTURE.  haha.  Oh well, it's still beautiful and I will share it with you anyway.  :-)
Lisa Bevere begins her book/workbook with this phrase:  
"Women are so amazing in the plan of God. He has always included us in His redemptive plan. But it was not enough for us to just be a part of His redemptive plan. It is our season to be part of His return. God is building you, as a living stone, into His spiritual temple---our Heavenly Father is honing our individual stones so that we can be built into a collective habitation for His Spirit to abide. Now is the time to be connected.

Precious princesses of the Kingdom of Heaven, your life matters to the Most High, and He has a definite place in His plan for you. What is the Lord doing in your life right now to prepare you for His return? What relationships is He asking you to prune from your life? Who is He asking you to connect with---to be a daughter or a mother to? Are you willing to be flexible in His hands?"

Sister, what are these words revealing in your hearts? What is God saying to you right now? 

Here are some of my thoughts on each chapter of the workbook:

It's so important to connect with each other...with mothers, daughters and grandmothers.  We all have such a need to love and connect and be accepted.  We all long to be hugged and encouraged.  But unfortunately there's so many things that keep us from being connected...envy, jealousy, competitiveness, gossip, isolation...and the list goes on.  But as we lean in closer to God and rely on His strength, we can overcome these barriers and move forth and be the women God has called us to be.  God will give us the women that we connect with in the Spirit and He is asking each one of us to write our lives well!  Lisa Bevere says that "Daughters form an important function in the body of Christ and they have questions. Mothers have answers and Grandmothers have perspective and have discovered who they are."  We so desperately need the voice of each one in our world.

Women also have Intuition...but is it God given or world centered? As we hide the Word of God in our hearts, it will transform us from the inside out and our intuition will be Spirit filled.  There's such a difference between intuition and suspicion.  If we stay connected with God's Word, we will know whether the inner signals we're receiving are God's intuition or the enemy's suspicion.  James 3:17 tells us of 8 characteristics of godly wisdom that confirm that we're hearing from God "pure, peace loving, gentle at all times, yields to others, full of mercy and good deeds, shows no favoritism and is always sincere."

We often need wisdom and direction and are often faced with overwhelming difficulties and conflicts.  James 1:5-7 and Proverbs 3:4-8 tell us to talk to God about it and seek His direction...if we need wisdom we need to ask God and He WILL give it generously when we ask with faith and don't waiver.  We'll find favor with God and have a good reputation if we seek God with ALL our heart and don't lean on our own understanding...seeking Him with EVERYTHING in us.  OH, God is so GOOD!  He sheds such light on everything.  Just like car headlights give us just enough light to show the path ahead of us, so will God. Light often casts shadows that we all like to hide behind, but God's light will reveal all of that. Light exposes and shows all the flaws and dangers...allow God to do that with you too sister.  Light is so warm and glows and shines...oh let's do that as well!  :-)  Let's shine as a light to others and draw people to Jesus.  Not all places are easy to shine, but with God, all things are possible.  God gives me enough light for each step that I'm on!
As women, we are also called to be mothers and mentors, to bridge the generational gap and to leave a legacy.  Our children and those behind us will either inherit from us - God's promises or our fears.  We are all given the gift of time and will we choose to spend it on the daughters around us?  What are we passing on?  In the Bible, Ruth was respectful and willing to listen, Naomi interacted and loved. Elizabeth and Mary were greatly used by God in extraordinary ways and they had huge obstacles to overcome...legalism, rules, tradition, unbelief, doubt, fear, age... BUT, their faith did not waver! What a wonderful legacy they have left to us women!  May we pass on a great legacy to those coming up behind us.
Creating the environment of Nurture is so important too.  Whether it's at Bible study, or women's events at church or in your own home with your family and friends, the grumbling or complaining have no part in nurturing. Having manners and showing love and kindness are everyone's favorite!  Titus 2:3-5 gives us as older women the best guidelines:  living in a way that honors God, not slandering others, not being heavy drinkers, teaching others what is good, training the younger to love their husbands and kids, to live wisely and be pure, working in our homes, doing good, and being submissive to our husbands.  WOW!  What guidance to a most healthy home and character!  Knowing the love languages of those we love is most helpful too.  Expressing love to our family and training our children in the way that God wants them to go....oh that needs time on our knees sisters.  
There's often things that we learned the hard way, that we'd rather our children didn't have to go through...but there will definitely be things they will need to learn on their own.  As they go through their own pruning seasons, just as we did, standing by in love and prayer is key.  Go to God first to look for direction and guidance to live wisely...but I believe He will always have a godly woman in your life for you to bounce thoughts and prayers off as well.  Seek goldy women who you want to model or your daughters to model.  I know ones I look up to are gentle, kind, godly, understanding and patient...and who aren't afraid to admit their faults.  God has blessed my life with so many beautiful godly women!  Thank you God!

Before I go into the last 2 chapters of the workbook, that had a great impact on me, I will share with you some of the other women's thoughts on Nurture study:

Peggy shares this:
I have been part of a group that has just finished going through the Nuture Study by Lisa Bevere. It was a great study for women of any age. Lisa Bevere has a way of motivating and encouraging women wherever you are in life and then challenging us to reach out where we are and love others with God's Love! One of the scriptures she mentions is Phil 4:8, "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.. if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things!" I love that verse because it represents what we are to strive for and this is what Lisa was all about.... striving and reaching the lost souls and making a difference in your own way, just where you are! As always, it was a treat to be in Lisa Braun's class again. God bless you!

Edna shares this from her heart:
 I really appreciate Lisa Bevere's heart for Women. She reminded me that as Women we have very important roles as Mothers, sisters, friends, and also role models. No matter what we do; staying home, working outside the home, and no matter our marital status, or our age! we are always older than someone! She encouraged us to build Nurturing relationship's throughout our lives! To find someone to Nurture on a regular bases!! A very encouraging study!!!

Marie has shared this:
I think the main thing I learned from the Nurture Bible Study is the importance of relationship. The part I enjoyed the most was the intimate sharing of our hearts and lives with each other and the prayers and hugs and encouragement we gave each other as we heard the struggles that our Christian sisters were going through. It was also wonderful to share in the good things that were going on in others’ lives and to praise and thank God for His loving care for all of us. It was especially meaningful to me to see your prayers and encouragement for my daughter, Natalie, as she went through her baptism. God was definitely in all of it.

I need to say here that it was an incredible blessing being involved in Natalie's baptism during this Nurture study, by being given the honor of baptizing her.  Natalie is a young woman who's been in Bible study with me for a couple sessions.  Her mom Marie has been with me for a number of years, and we've often prayed for Natalie over the years and for her salvation.  To see her growth and maturity and our answered prayers come to fruition during this session was AMAZING!  God is soooo good!!  My heart is full of emotion just typing this as I think back to that beautiful October day when the enemy was defeated and Natalie chose Jesus and to walk through the waters of baptism in obedience to God!  WOW!  She overcame many obstacles including ones very dear to her, and chose Jesus.  Oh how blessed we all were to witness this happy day!!  :-)

Linda shares this about the Nurture study:
I appreciate God's family. All ages of women are able to nurture each other. Lisa says we women guard the heart of our world and that we are a vital component. Whether we are young or old, we are all important and necessary in the big picture. I need older women to give their mothering, nurturing love to me, and younger women need me to love and nurture them. Let's celebrate our gift of femininity by embracing each other and our individual gifts and talents, for the glory and honor of our blessed Redeemer. May God be praised and magnified by the unity and love shown in the sisterhood of Christian women. Hallelujah!!!

Corien shares this from her heart:
As I read and listened to the material on Nurture, it began to be a book of encouragement to me. I am so loved by God. I am who He created me to be and He has a plan for me specifically.
Hearing Lisa speak felt like an experienced daughter, mother, Christian and friend was having a conversation with me. No, I don't agree with everything she said but that's alright. Friends can have discussions about differences as long as the foundational God stuff is solid.
And now I have a little fresher outlook, a little more zest to be God's daughter, and a deepened understanding or eyes to see all God's people better so that I can see what I should be doing to shine for my dear Father. If I feel I made a friend through Lisa's book, how much more is my Father working with and for me on our relationship! I need to open those communication lines and be ready to listen so much more.

The response of Nurture...birthing a heart of I have a compassionate heart?  I do not like to see myself in the story of the Good Samaritan...cause at different times of my life, I would have reacted just like the other 2 "churchy" guys rather than the way the samaritan acted. I do NOT like to see myself in the characteristics of the Pharisees...but I definitely do at times.  Forgive me Lord.  God does need to work on my heart of compassion. At first, I thought He had given me a bit of a wail in Church the next Sunday after this certain week in the study. I just felt such a deadness in God's people, in the church of God as a whole, and I felt such a lack of life, energy and expression.  That day I cried out to God...where's the hope, the outward expression of joy and worship during praise??  We sing "O Happy Day" but there's no life in our voices or arms as we sing it! "O How He Loves Me" - do we really know how much He loves we, do we REALLY?  Then why aren't we expressing it more?
So, was this my wail? Or will I ever get one? Have I ever wailed? I believe I had gotten one and I wrote about this in greater detail in an another post called "What is a Wail?"  I encourage you to go back and read through that if you'd like greater detail than what I will give in here.  To make the story short, I asked God if I had ever had a wail?  I've been moved many a time, but to wail from the depths of my soul?  I didn't think I had.  During this study, God gave me one....for the 14/15 year old girls in our city who are used and abused on the streets of my own city.  That struck me deeply as I have 2 girls the same age.  When I heard what was happening around here, I cried and cried and could not stop.  My husband was greatly affected as well.  For both of us to have a wail together meant a great deal to me. We had a speaker from Hands On Ministries come share at our church...and that changed my life.  My heart of compassion has been stretched and grown much since then.

Lisa Bevere writes "before I birthed a wail, I lived within myself. I lived in what I could control, what I could manage, and in parameters that didn't make my friends uncomfortable...You know, sometimes when you start doing stuff for God, it makes your friends uncomfortable.  You have to understand, God will push you out of your comfort zone on every single level so that this world will be comforted."

This is kind of like me.  Although, I do go out of my comfort zone quite often, as I am quite an extravert...but I have noticed that at times I do isolate myself.  God is definitely stretching me and teaching me new things.  Giving me this heart for Hands On and for young girls has really opened up the floodgates of tears.  :-)  He is moving me in different directions. The parable of the talents talks about the faithful servant and the unfaithful servant....which am I? Which do I want to be?  Will I bury my talents or use them for my Jesus? Will I allow fear to hold me back or uncertainty and doubt hold me back?  But am I a channel or a reservoir??

Joyce Meyer writes "one of the main reasons why God wants to bless and prosper us is so that we can bless others.  He doesn't want us to be like a water reservoir that just collects; after time, stagnant water usually stinks. He wants to use us as a channel to allow His blessings to flow through us to others. A channel is an instrument or place where things flow through. The water flowing through a channel is usually fresh, clean, and pure.  When we receive things from God and then at His prompting give them to others, our lives become like a flowing channel of water--fresh, clean and pure....God wants us to enjoy the things we have but hold them loosely. You and I had nothing when we came into this world, and we'll have nothing when we leave it. When we act as a channel, always ready to pass something on to others, God will see to it that we always have a fresh supply of whatever we need."
I can trust God to lead me where He wants me to go with all this that I've learned and with the wail that He gave me.  My husband and I, and at times our children, will go to help out at Hands On and build relationships with the kids/teens.  When God moves our heart so much, He wants us to take notice, to not just ignore it....and we don't want to either.  This study hasn't happened by accident...and neither has this wail or this ministry being dropped into our hands.  
God wants me to Run Awaken to what He is Arise and not allow fear, despair or hopelessness paralyze me. He does not want me to be tied to my past or under the enemy's's time to break free!  He wants me to Attire - to set aside my selfish ambitions and put on my spiritual clothes to protect myself from the attacks of the enemy.
I am to be Aware of the needs around me...He's made it quite known to me through Hands On.  Then He wants me to have an Attitude to do something about something with the wail He's given to me..not to be negative or overwhelmed or filled with doubt but to move forward with a song in my heart, especially during the difficult times...because He CAN and WILL overcome and He's given me the power and authority to have victory and to help fight this battle of evil in our city.  Christ will lead me and them in triumph and it will be overcome.
 I am an Asset and can contribute to this, to pray for the girls and build a relationship with them. As I Approach this in the weeks to come, and as I have been, I needs to go in prayer and His covering but to also approach His throne with boldness and courage and not to have fear direct me. God knows the problem and weeps over it much more than I do. 
Ask questions and ask people to come on board alongside me and them to make a difference.  God also wants me to ask Him fearlessly, confidently and consistently with confirmation from His ask seek knock and answers WILL come. Then we Act , carry it out, help and encourage and walk alongside the run well.  Lord, I trust you to guide and direct where we are to go with this.  AMEN

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