Laurie from Women Taking A Stand is hosting Chelsey's At the Well meme today. The topic is mentoring.
Five years ago, as I looked around my thriving, growing metropolitan church, I noticed that very few elderly people were in our midst. The thought occurred to me: How can we expect to grow in wisdom as a church without the very people who are able to model it? Since then, I have seen intentional efforts to diversify our young culture with people of all ages. This past Sunday at church, I greeted three beautiful seniors to my left and my right, and I was thrilled. I told one of the ladies that her blouse was gorgeous, and her eyes lit up the sanctuary.
See, we need to remember, whether we are single and waiting, menopausal, getting our AARP card in the mail, or somewhere in-between, that each of us has a valuable place in the Body of Christ. We, at any age, can be a Godly mentor and can be mentored as well. Without that diversity in our friend circle, our spiritual lives will be sorely malnourished.
Laurie's questions for discussion were as follows:
* Have you ever been mentored by someone?
* What characteristics do you look for in a Christian mentor? (see Scriptures below)
* How do you go about pursuing a Godly mentoring relationship?
I can guarantee you that if I had not been mentored by someone growing up, I would not be the same today. Lost in the middle of a broken, devastating childhood, the odds were against me having a thriving spiritual life. But my grandma, my great aunt and several women at church took the time to build faith into my life. In my high school years, I had one family in particular that took me under their wing...they showed me how to cook, how to carry out certain spiritual disciplines and so much more. One of the largest life lessons I learned from this pastor and his wife was that it was possible to have a long-lasting Godly marriage and loving family relationships. They told me it would be possible for me someday. And they were right.
In my young married years, I had a co-worker who taught me how to live out my faith genuinely, stripping away legalism. I learned loads from her about faith through difficult times, as she raised a blind son, went through several losses of employment with her husband and many other adversities. I remember her calling me and my best friend into her office to pray with her and cry with her. We would listen to her use the Word of God as her weapon, and it impacted both of us hugely.
The last several years, my older sister and a few other women I've served with in ministry have mentored me through my own difficult times, encouraged me in my spiritual giftedness and talents and walked closely beside me through my failures and successes. At the same time, God placed people in my path to disciple along the way. So yes, I've been mentored even before I knew that's what it was, and I continue to be today. And I've been mentoring others since I was an older teenager, and I continue to do so today. Blessing and joy have followed, as well as many deep, meaningful relationships. It's a beautiful system.
God has always provided mentors for me, I've never really looked for them. But if I were to search for one, I'd look for someone who is genuine, able to laugh at life (and herself), constantly pursuing Christ, willing to pray and go deep, and someone who listens before she gives advice. It's also extremely important to me that if the woman is married, she loves her husband sacrificially, not cutting him down or nagging him, supporting him in his weaknesses. And a huge personal bonus for me is to know women who can pull off style without lacking modesty. I'm sorry, but the midrif exposing or the top side exploding is a huge disappointment for me in today's culture of Christian women. (off the soapbox).
Scripture compels all of us as believers to live our lives for others--being other-centered. It even gives us the blueprint of a mentoring lifestyle, whether you're the mentor or the mentored.
Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Romans 1:11-12 (NIV)
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV)
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 3:17 (NIV)
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Thanks, Laurie, for this great topic, and I pray that we will all learn so much more today as we gather at the well with open minds and hearts.
In the Key of HE,