Tend and Befriend
by Jane Anne Wilson, Guest Writer
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.
Did you know that in a landmark study researchers found that women react to stress differently than men because different proportions of hormones are released into the bloodstream? Men release much smaller amounts of oxytocin than women, leaving them to feel more acutely the effects of the flight-or-fight response. Men tend to respond to stress by escaping from the situation, fighting back or bottling up their emotions. Women, on the other hand, are genetically hard-wired for nurturing in a crisis, in large part due to the oxytocin released into their bloodstream, combined with other female hormones. A common female response to a crisis is to “tend and befriend.”
I realize that in this culture there will be those who bristle at the thought that men and women are different, but hold on! This is a secular study. Let’s see how this plays out in daily life.
It’s no surprise to me that secular scientists came to this conclusion because as women, God has given us a specific design that glorifies Him by revealing some of His character qualities (Read Genesis 2). Women are uniquely designed by God with all that we need to be life-givers. A life-giver is one who helps by comforting, supporting, defending, delivering and rescuing. These are military actions. In fact, Scripture describes God as our HELPER. We reflect God’s image when we display these helper qualities of God. Psalms 25:14 tells us that:
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
and He makes known to them His covenant.
God’s covenant with us is a demonstration of His nurturing way as He condescends to us, choosing a relationship with us, nurturing, or tending and befriending.
God does not choose to give us this biological capacity for nurturing simply for the enjoyment of ourselves or those around us, we are bearing His image to the world, making Him famous, glorifying Him, when we reflect His image as a nurturing life-giving helper. Scripture tells us:
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the
image of His Son.
Go back and read that Scripture again. This is mind boggling. God’s plan is for us to be like Jesus! There is more! He wants us to have a strong family resemblance to His Son so that people who live in our “village” recognize Jesus in us. Before you feel hopeless, despairing of ever reflecting to others the love of Jesus because you have messed up so much, hold on to this truth: If God plans it, then it is possible! Remember Eve? God gave her the name of Life-Giver AFTER she sinned. God is in the business of transforming dead, broken hearts into life-giving, hope filled, beating hearts. Can you feel hope bubbling up in your own soul, that you can be a life-giver in situations that seem filled with death?
Oh Lord, we thank you for creating Your children to be life-givers. Show us one way we can offer one tiny glimmer of life to someone who desperately needs You today.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the Down Syndrome audio resource so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Within hours after Victoria’s birth, Karen and her husband learned that their third born daughter had Down Syndrome. Though initially frightened by this news, Karen and her family’s love for Victoria grew deeper as they recognized the awesome privilege of raising such a precious daughter. This story will encourage parents of children with Down Syndrome to realize the unique joys that can be theirs as they raise their children. There is more to this story. Victoria was diagnosed with a life threatening cancer that resulted in the amputation of her leg. In this interview, you will hear about the courage and determination of a young teen to take back her life and her family’s determination to continue to fill Victoria’s life with experiences and opportunities to grow and to learn, no matter what her physical condition. Listeners will also learn how to come alongside families like Victoria’s, not just to help, but to soak up some of the joy and love that naturally flows from children with Down Syndrome.
Jane Anne Wilson, wife to David and mother of four adult children, earned her nursing degree from University of Delaware and worked in pediatrics. Jane Anne experienced and grew in her love for Jesus in her childhood home and learned servanthood and leadership in many ministries in her local church. Jane Anne presently serves on the women’s ministry leadership team at her local church, and is the Northeast Regional Advisor for her denomination's national women's ministry team. Cuddling her two grandbabies, long walks with her husband, and family reunions are her favorite blessings.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at email@example.com.