Ever had a conversation with someone who just seemed to “get” what you were sharing? Who understood the implications of your most recent trial or success because she had been in your shoes herself? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow! I really click with this lady! I wish we could get together more often.” Or, “I feel so encouraged and/or challenged after talking with her!” Or, “I sure can relate to her story! I hope what I said helped her to know that she will get through this.” Have you had thoughts like these on one or more occasions? I’m guessing your answer is YES… because we all have thought this. We have all had [at least once] a conversation with another woman that just seemed to be a Divine appointment. And for many of those meetings, they were meant to simply be a one-time deal. A moment in time which blessed our hearts, and in which we blessed another’s heart. But, for many other moments like these, we have been witness to the sweet impact of mentoring. And it’s a relationship that we all need more of in our lives!
What is mentoring?
“To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:2 (NASB)
Paul and Timothy are one of my favorite (and probably the most obvious, apart from Jesus and His disciples) Biblical examples of a mentor-mentee relationship. Paul calls Timothy his child – his faith child. The one in whom he has poured his heart, his wisdom, his gained knowledge of God. He has labored night and day to train up Timothy in his walk with Jesus Christ.
As women in 2017, mentoring will look different than it did for Paul and Timothy. But it should still have the same key components. One older woman, walking along with Jesus, passing on her wisdom and experience to a younger woman, also walking along with Jesus.
Who should mentor?
You. You should mentor someone. You have a personal relationship with Almighty God, and the life of the Son of God within. You have much to pass on to another. Whether you’ve ever realized that or not.
Does the thought of mentoring another woman terrify you? Excite you? Set you on edge? Stir up thoughts that you’ve kept shut down for a while? If you can answer “yes” to any of these emotions, then the truth is that you are perfect for this role. Because you know that you have a story to share. A story worth hearing. You have gained knowledge and a whole lot of wisdom just by waking up to face each morning, and someone else can learn from that.
Perhaps you’ve never thought about this idea before. It’s time to begin thinking on it. It’s time to begin praying about who God may have already brought into your life for you to invest yourself in.
Who should be mentored?
You. You should be mentored. Think you’re too smart already? You’re not. Think there’s no one who could help walk you through your stage of life? I promise you, there is someone. As a young wife, as a young mother, as a woman looking forward to starting a family, there are so many invaluable things that women who’ve gone before you have to share with you. And there is just no relationship like that of a mentor-mentee, where you can tackle these life lessons. You can dig deep into exactly what you are walking through, and have someone sitting across the table, holding your hand, praying you through each step of the journey. Can you just imagine the sweetness of that? Can you imagine the relief and the hope that would come from having a trusted woman of wisdom know exactly what is going on in your life, and who wants to help? Sounds pretty incredible, doesn’t it?
How do you mentor another?
This is the part many women get stuck on. How do I do it? How will I find the time and energy to commit to yet another “thing”? The beautiful, and often misunderstood, truth about mentoring is that it has no right or wrong structure. Your relationship with your mentor or mentee may look as formal or relaxed as you choose.
Throughout my teen years, I experienced a form of mentorship via several youth group leaders. This was often in a group setting, and usually involved pizza and Mountain Dew. Occasionally, I would have some one-on-one time with one of those dear ladies. That was one of the main dynamics through that stage of my life that kept me seeking Jesus and away from the party scene.
Taking a sharp left turn, in college I was required to meet with a designated staff member for a weekly mentoring meeting… in which I was ultimately evaluated at the end of the semester. That accountability turned out to be an incredible blessing for me. But is that form of formality right for everyone? Definitely not.
As I entered my adult years, especially after marriage, I craved this relationship. I struggled to find it on a regular basis but had several ladies step into this role for a short time. At this point, however, it no longer looked definitive. It became “life-on-life”. We would sit down to coffee, eventually with my babies in the background (or foreground… nothing makes a kid want mommy more than when she’s occupied elsewhere!). She would take me to the farmer’s market – where we’d swap recipe ideas, and buy cheap and enormous sun hats.
These are just several examples of real-life mentoring. It can be complicated… BUT it doesn’t have to be. Grab a box of muffins, turn on the coffee pot, and sit down for an hour with the woman God has led into your life. Listen. Invest. Care. PRAY. This is mentoring. And you will be blessed beyond measure for your choice to enter in. And, so will she through God’s work in your life.
So, what’s stopping you today? What excuse has kept you from pursuing to mentor another? Or what has kept you from asking someone to mentor you? It’s time to let those excuses go and be a part of one of the sweetest relationships you can have this side of heaven. Today, take some time to pray about who should join you in this journey. Let God lead and guide you to the woman/women He wants to use in your life. It will be beautiful!
For an excellent resource on mentoring, I recommend Sue Moore Donaldson’s new book, Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside.