Mothers love, protect and guide. They govern, uphold and build. Mothers give, serve and nurture. Mothers are often the glue that holds a family together.
But when mothers are tired, overwhelmed, frustrated or feeling all alone, who takes care of them? Janay Honeycutt faced these very feelings and believes God gave her the solution with Nurture Family. As the Founder and Visionary, Honeycutt created the nonprofit organization in May of 2016, to serve others.
“Nurture Family is a … resource center for women to learn how to nurture themselves and to learn how to nurture their families,” she explains. “We are the bridge between the church, the mental health care professionals, and school systems. We’re the place where we can all come together and have these honest conversations and discussions as a community. How can we strengthen our community by strengthening the one who strengthens the family?”
Lending a helping hand of support to women was birthed out of a place of pain for Honeycutt. Her background was filled with difficulties, losses, struggles, and abuse. Instead of dealing with the trauma of her issues, she stuffed them – and her feelings – and forged ahead. She got married at age 21 and had her first child a year later. She gave birth to two more children. The weight of the responsibility of taking care of her household, of never processing her painful past, and of unmet expectations proved too much. She suffered a breakdown at age 26, spending time in a mental health facility. Going through that experience awakened a sense of purpose in her.
“I reached out to so many people when I was going through (my mental health issues). The response that I experienced a lot of times was, ‘you know women have been doing this for a long time, and you’re going to make it through.’”
“That made me feel like I personally had to be strong and that I personally in and of myself had the power to fix what was going on,” she continues. “It was hard for me to try to trust and lean on community.”
Honeycutt knew she didn’t want that lack of support and loneliness to happen to anyone else.
“I knew I needed a safe place to talk that was outside of the four walls of the mental health facility,” Honeycutt explains. “Something that I could do regularly with other women that understand.”
Armed with this desire to create a non-judgmental, supportive space for moms like her, Nurture Family was born.
Nurture’s goal of operating as a refuge and place of solace for mothers is achieved in various ways. Moms’ Night Out (MNO) is a monthly meeting where women are fed spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically.
“They can just come and enjoy themselves and let their hair down and laugh and joke and hear other stories about women who have made it through something, to encourage them.”
Presentations, discussions and fun activities have all been a part of MNO. Nurture’s website is also chock full of useful resources. With its stated mission to “encourage, equip and provide community for women who nurture families by promoting mental wellness in Christ,” the website offers information, insights and blog articles to inspire, uplift, motivate, and above all, offer understanding.
Additionally, Nurture is evolving to touch other aspects of moms’ lives. Honeycutt has developed a modern-day home economics class. The lessons will help teach skills that some women may not have learned at home, or in school, but can be beneficial in running their households.
“It’s a legacy that we’re leaving for the women and the girls that come behind us, on how to care for their homes and how to build healthy relationships with other women and friends.”
Honeycutt and her husband are also creating a program focused on building healthy and loving marriages.
With an eye toward future growth and expansion, Honeycutt would love for Nurture to acquire its own building. The facility would offer moms a chance to share their skills with others or learn from taking various classes. A mom may want a place to read and enjoy a cup of tea, while someone is watching her children. Or she may simply take a few moments to breathe in a stress-free environment. It is all a part of Honeycutt’s dream of nurturing to mothers.
With to-do lists already filled and the constant need to get more done, Honeycutt knows some moms don’t even fathom how much they need to be nourished and replenished. She understands that a part of her mission is to help them recognize the benefit of self-care for themselves, for their families, and for generations to come. She wants to fill a hole, and help nurture the ones that nurture the family.
“There’s a big piece that was missing in the community, and also in the church; something that just spoke specifically to motherhood that wasn’t centered around some other idea or motive,” she says. “Something that would just bridge the gap between believers and non-believers, or the gap between older women and younger women or single moms and moms that are married, or mothers that homeschool and mothers that send their children to traditional school.”
Nurture Family does just that.
“We all need each other,” she concludes.
Photos by Mary Catherine Watts