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  • Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Joanne and I’ve been blogging for many years under the name The Simple Wife (you can see all of my old posts under the archives or by clicking on any of the categories that interest you). I love receiving comments from you and try to respond to each one personally. I hope you’ll visit often!

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Joanne (The Simple Wife)

1. The words that struck me from the definition were "nurturing," "equip," and "encourage."

I don't often think of myself as a nurturing person and this definition and the discussion in the book helped me see nurturing in a different way. It's not just touchy-feel-y. It has a purpose--to equip and encourage.

I really like that equip and encourage go hand in hand. Equipping is great, but I know that I need encouragement right along with it in order to take it to the next level and try something new.

The idea of living for God's glory is something I really like about this book (and something we'll cover more in the next chapter). That there's purpose to this kind of relationship and that the purpose is glorifying God is something I really like. We are all so different, and yet we can each glorify God in the midst of our normal, everyday, walking around lives.

2. I see the need for mothering a lot when I see how other people respond to my own mother. I've had women tell me that they'd like to go back and time and be raised all over again by my mom. Amazing!

I have a great relationship with my mother--and she's exactly the kind of mother you picture a mother should be. It's so normal for me. But when I see women who weren't taught some of the things I was taught, I come face to face with just how blessed I am.

For my own life, my mother has also been a spiritual mother. Though I think she's really "caught fire" since I've been an adult. Or maybe it's just that I've seen it more in her as I've grown myself. Does that make sense?

At the same time, I do long for other spiritual mothers--women who have a little more distance from me and who will tell me the truth. Don't get me wrong, my mother will do that. But she also really loves me and doesn't have as much objectivity with me as someone else might.

3. Something I underlined? Hunt's rendition of the Matthew Arnold quote on page 18 along with the idea that "because of the power of grace, [Christian women] can overcome their self-centeredness. Christian women can manifest the other-centered virtues that characterize spiritual mothering."

I love the idea of "the excellence of Christian women around the world" changing the world we live in. In fact, I scribbled in the margin: "SO EXCITING! I want to be part of this!"

I also had to write myself a note in the margin on page 17 next to this: "The younger woman was willing to listen and to heed the advice, though sometimes it must have sounded strange." Am I teachable? Will I listen and obey even when I don't understand?

And I love the part about the "intense desire to nurture and to be nurtured" on page 15 at the bottom. Yes. I want and need both. I long to be mentored and at the same time to mentor someone else. Simply put, we should all always occupy the middle--both being poured into and pouring out into someone else.

Can't wait to read what everyone else has to say!



1. What stood out to me in the definition was the phrase "spiritual maturity". Do any of us ever consider ourselves spiritually mature enough? And yet there are teachable moments every day when we can either instruct someone else or be taught something ourselves, verbally or just by example. The Patsy Clairmont title "God Uses Cracked Pots" comes to mind. We are striving toward spiritual maturity, but we have something to offer even as we are still growing spiritually.

2. I think that our need for mothering is an aspect of women's need for networking in general. We have so much responsibility, and we crave support, encouragement, a listening ear, fresh insight...

3. On page 15, I highlighted the 3rd paragraph. I liked the concept that our faith produces (and I think enhances) characteristics of mothering. And that these characteristics cause us to want to nurture and be nurtured.


I have posted my answers to the discussion questions on my blog. Looking forward to reading through the thoughts of others!!

Lisa notes...

I also love the "purpose" aspect. So I'll look forward to more of it in chapter 2.

Like Pam said, I wonder if I'm ever spiritually mature enough to be mentoring someone else? It just sounds scary. But when I think of it in natural ways, like having relationships with my teenage nieces, or friends I already have who are younger in faith and/or years, it's not so frightening.

I'm very thankful for the older women in my life now, although I don't think of any of them as my "Mentor." I'm interested to see how my thoughts about all this will grow through this study and the comments of you ladies!

I posted my answers on my blog here (and a picture of me and my own mother when she was my age! {smile}):

Joanne Heim


I think you make such a good point about considering ourselves mature enough to mentor. I tend to worry about it seeming prideful or something to say I'm ready to mentor someone. But at the same time, I remember that God equips those he calls. And that we don't ask to mentor someone, we wait until some asks us to mentor them. (Thus the focus to pray about it starting now!)

After watching Toben participate in AA for years, I think I've been affected by their model of sponsorship. Their paradigm is that someone with one day more sobriety has something to offer the person with even just one day less.
That being just a step further down the path is qualification enough.

The thing I've heard from women who are already in this kind of relationship is that they are mutually learning from one another. Yes, the focus is on the older woman's guidance, but the older women I've met say all the time
how much they learn from the younger woman in the relationship.



I posted a blog with my answers :)


I finished the chapter tonight...with a bit of insomina...yuck. I as read I was filtering everything I read through the lense of comtemplative prayer. I had just finished the DVD Be Still (a must watch). Anyway, the idea of stopping and listening... how God speaks to us in a "personal and intimate way" pg.14 underlined giving the Isrealites security. A mentoring relationship will give security. I also was struck on Pg. 15 how "our mothering capacity is affected by instinct and learning but is hindered by sin". The was not a new thought to me but a convicting thought to me. I was also blessed to be reminded how Ruth (who was mentored and had a teachable heart) is in the genealogoy of Jesus. God uses those mentoring relationships in a powerful way in HIS sovereign will. Two days after I was married (at was 11 years ago) my new husband and I visited my grandmother in the hospital. She has suffered a major stroke a week before the wedding and could not attend. As we read the Bible to her she grabbed our hands shaking them a bit like older weak women do and in very broken words because her speach was greatly effected by the stroke she said, "all that matters is the Bible, all that matters is the Bible." That is a very vivid memory of be spiritually mothered by a Godly women (vivid to me and my husband). Of course that relationship was start many years ago when I was born. As the book pointed out it does not need to be a "church program" that matches people but it might be moments when we stop and communicate with another godly women and then are for ever changed. Like the young lady visiting the nursing home who met Ms Johnson. It is late and I am loosing focus but hope to me in comtenplantive pray tomorrow about spiritual mothering...although I have three little ones to home school and strep throat! YUCK. So I will do my best...that is all that God asks for is our best. What is the day to post on chapter 2?



I really wanted to post on our blog but could not get in to work...any who I fell in love with a coastie and dated coast to coast for three some of what you said brought back some great and hard memories. Tricks we would use to stay connected with time and distance between us. Love to communicate with you more...I am now 11 years and three kids into my coastie...although we left the coast guard side of a few years ago. Any I would love to share some stories...if you want I am sure Joanne could wave her fairy wand and make it work.



This may be a duplicate...for some reason my original post doesn't seem to be showing up all of a sudden.

Pam, I like what you said about being spiritaully mature. And Joanne, I totally relate with your comment about the quote on page 17. When i am being mentored someday will I be able to kick my pride aside to listen to what my mentor is trying to teach me and equip in me?

I posted my answers on my blog:

Helen at A Work of Heart

Hi...I am going to comment and then come back later and read all the if it is redundant...sorry.

1. One of my favorite words is equip...I just love that God will equip us...give us what is necessary and sometimes I think that is just giving us a willing and obedient heart and spirit.

2. We all need any age. I have a wonderful mother however she is not as close by geographically that I would like. I love when older women feel they can speak into my life and I need it sometimes...right that minute and not when my mom and I are able to catch up with each other. I see a lot of women that need mothering...those that had poor relationships with their mother or have lost their mothers. I think there are many deep wounds out there that need to be mended by the Father through His daughters. Also there are women that don't have believing parents and that makes it really important to have women step in and guide.

3. I underlined a lot but I really loved the section about Naomi and Ruth and especially this quote regarding older women not teaching Bible studies..."You're asking for the wrong thing. You're asking them to go out into the fields rather than encourage and equip you to go".
This touched me personally because recently I asked a dear woman at church who had lead the Bible study the previous spring if there would be a fall study. She said that God had called her in another direction...she lost her husband 5 years ago and she is going to meet with two women who are newer on this journey than she...she said I was the first person to ask her and would I be interested in leading the Bible study...she encouraged me and prayed over me...and said that if I decided that I would and that it was the right timing,she would do whatever she could to support me...that it was time for more of the younger women to step into these roles.

It struck me that we can mother at any age...I can mother others...I can be mothered...we can even mother those that are close in age and in experience...but like the quote expressed...we can't always be looking for someone do more than what they are called to do in that particular season...It is as if...we are called to look to the younger...look to the older but also look around us...there are opportunities everywhere...God will equip us! That's very good news!

Aurora @ Under Transformation

Hi Everyone! I think I might be among the more wordy in our I posted my responses on my blog. You can find them at I'll be checking back to read everyone else's thoughts!

Joanne, thanks again for organizing this read-along!


Joanne Heim

Hi Kimberly!

I'm going to respond to you here in the comments, since you don't have a blog. (And just a note to anyone else who wants to say something to someone without a blog of her own‹this would be the way to do it!)

I LOVED the story about visiting your grandmother. I have to say that I love the group at church going through this book precisely because there are so many grandmothers and even great-grandmothers in it. I miss my grandmother
and don¹t know many women that age‹and feel like I¹m missing out because of that.

Love, Joanne

P.S. I'll put up a chapter 2 post on Sunday. And hope all your littles are feeling better!

On 9/22/09 9:39 PM, "[email protected]" wrote:


FINALLY posted my answers on my blog. From the lobby of a hotel at Universal in Orlando. How come I can never get things done at home????
I miss having my grandmothers around, too. They have both passed away. My mom lives in El Paso & I live in FL & I rarely see her. It's hard sometimes.


1. In this definition the words that stood out to me were "possessing faith," "spiritual maturaity," and "God's Glory." I think that when you possess faith it shows and affects all that you say and do. Your life simply reflects it and that is such an example to other women. I agree that we when think about having "spiritual maturity" it scares us. Are we ever "spiritally mature" enough? No, and that is the beauty of it. We spend a good deal of our lives always looking forward to something, accomplishing something (getting married, having children and other goals) when we accomlish them we check them off our list. Growing spiritually mature is an ongoing process that we can aspire to and grow into until our last day on earth.I think it is important to let those we might be mentoring understand that fact, we never have it all figured out, but we keep growing in faith and studying God's Word to grow in wisdom. The great thing is that by mentoring someone, you grow a well!

2.Everyone needs mothering whether it be for guidance, comfort, an example, or to tell her she is doing a good job as a women, mother, and child of God.

3.So many things stood out that it would have been better to highlight what did not! My book pages are pink all over. One important thing I came away from was it reaffirmed to me how fortunate I am to have so many older women in our small church that take it upon themselves to reach out to the younger women to take care of them, lift them up, pray for them, and mentor them. Thank you God!

What I underlined was on page 4 in the story of Miss ELizabeth and at her funeral the author writes - "What astounded me was that it seemed as if every woman there had the same relationship with her! She had done for them what she had done for me - yet it had been done in such a quiet way that we each thought we were her special project." What an example to aspire to! It reminds me what taking 5 minutes to write a few quicks notes to people, or letting them know you are praying for them can do for so many.

Pam Romo

Tiffany - I was also inspired by the story of Elizabeth Scott in the Introduction of the book. When the author wrote "As I have contemplated the power of her life, I have also been struck with what she did not do. Gossip, complaint and criticism had no part in her life." Those words jumped off of the page, and have resonated with me ever since. All week I have been working on not gossiping, complaining, or criticizing, and it's had a big impact on my thinking and my actions.

Joanne @ The Simple Wife


I read your post on your blog but can't get it to let me leave a comment. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, so I'll just respond to you here.

First, I so appreciate your honesty and openness about the term mothering. Thanks for being transparent and real.

And I loved how you went to find a secular definition of mentoring. I knew that Hunt's definition was unique and special--and seeing the definition you found in contrast made it so very clear.

I see the contrast especially between "informal transmission" in the definition you quoted and the whole idea of internal transformation, which is at the heart of living for God's glory.

I'm so glad to be having this conversation with you, Ginger!


Joanne @ The Simple Wife


I just love that your book is pink all over! My copy is all marked up too and it thrills me to know yours is too. I'm thinking at some point that we all need to share pictures of our pages. :)

I loved what you said about none of us being mature enough: "No, and that's the beauty of it." Great, great point. None of us has arrived until heaven.

And, yes, to the story of Miss Elizabeth. How wonderful that each woman thought she was Miss Elizabeth's special project. I read stories like that and so long to be woman of God like Miss Elizabeth!

Thanks for encouraging all of us to remember that sometimes it's just a matter of five minutes--and that it can make such difference in someone's day or life!


Joanne @ The Simple Wife

Dear Helen,

So...are you going to teach the Bible study? Inquiring minds want to know!

And I don't think we can say enough about "equip"--God equips us to do what he calls us to do. He will provide all we need to accomplish the task. That's something I need to hear again and again. And again.



1. Like so many others of you, I really appreciated “to live for God’s glory.” That really is the point of all of our growth. Yes, it’s beautiful to enjoy life more fully and to have peace in our beings about who we are. But really, it is all for the glory of God, to point others’ eyes to Him. When I looked up "mentor" in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, it said that a mentor was “a trusted counselor or guide.” But this doesn’t speak to the qualifications for trusting someone, which is of high importance. Who should we trust to counsel or guide us? Hunt’s definition says we should trust a woman of faith who is spiritually mature. And even if we identify someone who is faithful and spiritually mature, it doesn’t mean it will be a perfect match. God himself knows what we each need and I believe will lead us mentor and mentee to one another. As an aside, I do wonder if I’ll ever feel “spiritually mature.” But I guess it’s not a matter of feeling. As I am earnestly seeking God, I can trust that He is growing me into one who is mature—while still in the process of growing, of course—and has much to offer because of what He has done in me.

2. I am blessed with very dear friendships with other Christian women. Relationships that while peer in nature also allow for us to be the embodiment of good motherhood to one another. Nurturing, calling out the best, speaking truth, listening, protecting, demonstrating compassion, being prayed for...those qualities Susan Hunt speaks of on p.15. I definitely need this in my life. I am blessed to receive it and to give it. I have spent much of my life as a mentor to younger women and delight in this gift. I have a precious, loving and in many ways wise mother, but I have often acted as the mentor in her life for a variety of healthy and unhealthy reasons. (She came to Christ through me, but I also have mothered her in many ways not designed for a daughter to her mother.) So I definitely need spiritual mentoring and mothering from someone in addition to my own mama. This is something I’ve prayed about and longed for for years. But for whatever reason—perhaps my own shyness to ask or more sadly my confusion regarding my own relationship with my mom, I have not had spiritual mothering in my life for any extended period of time. I long to be teachable and mentor-able. Lord, this is my prayer.

3. I found many of the same points interesting as many of you. One in particular stuck out to me in the story of Miss Elizabeth (p. 4). Susan Hunt tells us that the story of Miss Elizabeth causes her discomfort because she has “no excuse.” This woman was ordinary—no particularly extraordinary gifts or circumstances. But she simply “loved Jesus and lived each day for His glory. She imitated Him by serving those around her.” I pray the same would be said of me. May I cease from making excuses. May I refrain from elevating the giftings of others and receive in full what God has given me. May I be loving, encouraging and teachable so that I may reflect the love of Jesus in the lives of those precious ones in my spiritual care and beyond.


By the way, just read through some of the more recent comments. You all are so wise. I am loving this! Thank you all for your honesty, and thank you, Joanne. This is so good for my soul and my growth.


Finally posted my thoughts about a question from chapter one. The link is here:

Now hopefully I can read some of the other comments. Thanks so much for introducing me to this book.


Thanks for letting me know about the comment situation, Joanne. I had commenting disabled for a while & had turned it back on specifically for this series. Apparently, a few tweaks were in order. ;) All is good now...I hope.


I bought the book but wierdly couldn't get into it even though I felt it's touch, it's truths highlighting areas of my life.
I have really wanted and prayed for a Spiritual Mother for myself, especially to kick my butt into action to deal with my life.
God works in mysterious ways they say... Over the last two month's I've myself being a spiritual mother to a woman who is strangly so far ahead of me in the areas I want help in yet so far behind spiritually, she was only Christened a couple of years ago.
I love you so much Lord!

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