Webster defines “nurture” in the following ways:
1. care for and encourage the growth or development of.
1. the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.
Synonyms: encouragement, promotion, fostering, development, cultivation, upbringing, education, and environment.
Apx. 16 years ago, I stood up in a small Baptist church and read the 27th Psalm to the congregation. I wept as I spoke the words that I would be reminding myself of today. My heart was so full and heavy… It was a spiritual experience that I will never forget as long as I live. I was a newborn Christian, just beginning my journey with the Lord. I was only 15 years old, absolutely scared to death to speak my heart in front of anyone, and especially at Church. I can remember my hands shaking and my heart pounding harder and harder with each passing second before I took the courage to stand up.
No one from the church had asked me to stand up to speak that day. But the Lord did…
For the majority of my life I was raised in church, at least up until the time my parents split when I was 8 years old. I’ll save you all of the details, because it was a nasty, sad, heartbreaking, and typical tale of another family destroyed by the enemy.
I grew up between 3 homes, We split time between my Mom, Dad and my Grandparents. My grandparents kept us often because my Dad worked in a plant and worked swing shifts. Considering the circumstances, My Brother and I were still blessed. We never went without clothing, food, or shelter. Sure we had many bumps in the road and we seen a lot of things that children should never see, or felt a lot of things that children should never feel. But Looking back on all of it, God took the brokenness of our situation and used it to grow us. I firmly believe It helped make me who I am.
(Y’all. I can’t even. Circa 2002. Serving up the charm at Kim’s Place.)
When I was 15 years old, I ended up going back to the same Church where I had went as a little girl. I gave my heart to the Lord, and thus began my story. God began to fill my life, with his spirit and his gifts. Looking back at some of the early times of my Christian life he began to prepare me for where I am today. I can remember I kept a notebook of letters that I would write to God. I was no expert of prayer and really had no clue on how to pray but in my own way this was how I communicated with God. And I believe with my whole heart that he read every word of those written prayer letters that I wrote to him. I would also draw and write scripture in this notebook, which is where a lot of my penmanship came from. My early humble hand-lettering. I still have and cherish this notebook today.
I tell you all of this because even though I didn’t see it then, looking back I realize God had a plan for my life and he started preparing and teaching me things that I would one day use, long ago.
I always struggled with feeling like I wasn’t enough. I was always the chubby girl with the “pretty face”. I was a so-so athlete that threw in the towel after the 9th grade. I went through school just trying to fit in and never really embraced who I was and I can tell you I am 31 years old and still trying to find my place.
I am learning to lean on him and let him direct my paths. I am realizing that it is because of HIS nurture and care that I am becoming who he wants me to be.
We all long for love and support and encouragement. Especially from our parents, our spouses, and our friends. WE long to be nurtured. As children we want affirmation from our parents that they love us, they support us and they are always there to cheer us on. As wives we want our husbands to nurture our dreams, be proud of us, carry us when we are weak, have our backs, encourage us and be within an arms reach when we feel all alone. All of this is important, but what do you do when the people you love let you down? Where do you go when everyone else is gone? Our parents will pass, our friends will fade, our spouse may not give us the nuture that we need. Then what?
On that day, 16 years ago I stood up in a small Baptist church, my heart beating out of my chest, my palms sweaty and my voice cracking and I read the 27th Psalm.
27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
When I finished reading the scripture, I wept. I told the congregation that, It didn’t matter if I had my father, my mother, or anyone for that matter. I had HIM and He had taken me up. It was one of the first times that God had used me to tell of his goodness. I still to this day feel so passionate about this scripture and what God had shown me through it and how it pertained to my life. It is a precious memory and experience, a pillar in my life that over the past month God has heavily reminded me of, and how on that day, a young, clueless, insecure 15 year old girl stood to declare exactly what I am needing to hear today, 16 years later. When all others forsake me, The Lord will take me up.
If I had to pick one scripture to sum me up and represent me; The 27th psalm would be my jam, so to speak. My life is full of people who have let me down and I’m sure that I have been a person that has let many down along the way, But HE has never let me down.
He has nurtured me and Loved me with an unwavering love that is so vast its hard to comprehend. It is so incredible, full and free. I am learning where true nurture comes from. It has to come from the Lord. I believe nurture is passed down. But it begins with the Lord and letting him nurture YOU, thus you can then nurture the people in your life.
Lets break the chain!!! Sure, we come from broken homes, broken marriages, broken hearts, and broken circumstances but we do not serve a broken God and we do not have to live a broken life.
Let him nurture you. He will take you up. You are not alone. Let him grow you, dream for you, encourage you and love you.
You are an absolute treasure. One of a kind.
XOXO Your Blue Ridge Chick,
PS. A Huge thank you to Victoria Grace Photography for capturing my little sweeties nurturing these adorable baby bunnies that inspired my heart to write this blog.