Monday, March 25, 2013

Mentoring Matters - Not Always Who You Expect

Do you need advice? Long for someone to train you? Would you appreciate someone older and wiser investing in you?  I can answer all three questions with a big ole YES! And I'm thankful I've had many people do just that!

Basically it all boils down to something called mentoring and God has blessed me with many mentors! Some are close friends and others enter my life for a season, but many are not who I would have expected.

Titus 2:4 is typically the verse associated with mentoring...it starts out saying, "The older women shall train the younger women..." Paul is instructing us to mentor one another and this my friend is a passion of mine. Honestly I believe it's always been part of my life...even before I knew what it was called.

As a child and teen I was constantly looking up to the older girls and appreciated their assistance in the classroom, during 4-H and on the basketball court. These girls taught me, encouraged me and spent time with me. As I entered my 20's and gave my life to Christ, mentors began to play another important role - they taught me about God, helped build my faith and set an example for me to follow. A recent birthday reminds me I'm not getting any younger...I realize I'm a mentor too.

Though that is true, I know walking with Christ is a journey and His work in me is not yet done; my need for mentors will never end. At times I intentionally seek these individuals out, but God often brings someone I wouldn't expect.

Lately He's opened my eyes to His ways once again...you see He's done this before, but I'm grateful He's blessed me again. Now before you think He'll magically provide a close relationship with a wonderful woman of God tomorrow (He could) let me assure you this usually takes time. I want to encourage you with this fact though - God is at work, even when you are unaware. He knows what you need, who you need and when you will need them.

Let me explain - back in 2009, God connected me with Wendy Blight as we worked on a follow up survey for a ministry event. She was doing her job and I was doing mine, but more importantly God was at work.

Months went by and we reconnected because of a lost email, which led to me participating in her online Bible study. One in which she taught me from the book of Proverbs, shared stories from her life and impacted mine.

Time passes...we exchanged an email every once in awhile, commented on one another's blog occasionally and she answered my ministry questions from time to time. Though miles separated us the Holy Spirit was connecting us.

Two years ago, she left a FB message just "checking in and asking for an update." (Note for all of us in our older woman role - showing we care and have an interest is important!) I remember the timing of her message being a blessing...we were preparing to share the news of our pregnancy and I was a bit nervous about the world's reaction to number 5. Knowing she was states away, I shared our secret in my update.

She responded with words of Truth, offered prayer and helped me put things in perspective. Thru her, God made a difference in my day.

Time continued to go by and I was blessed to hear her speak...though it wasn't in person, her words were still powerful via a CD. The message she shared was one I needed to hear. Again she was sharing wisdom with her words, encouragement with her stories and building my faith with God's Truth.

Her blogs, devotions and book remained a part of my spiritual diet and this summer I was blessed to cross paths with her in real life. It was a joy to meet someone who has ministered to me so much these last few years.
Wendy and myself at P31's She Speaks Conference
Since then God has continued to bless me thru Wendy. She's answered questions, prayed prayers, shared praise and pointed me to Christ. All the things a mentor does...but I didn't even consider her one.

Not until a couple of months back as I worked thru her latest on-line Bible study...I'd been praying for a mentor, just really feeling the need for an older woman to advise, train and teach me the Truth. Someone God would use to deepen my faith. As I dug into the questions Wendy asked, God used them to challenge me, convict me and draw me closer to Himself. And He used them to answer my prayer...one night He whispered to my heart, "Jill, you're looking for someone to share their faith and encourage yours...she's right here."

I have needs and God meets them - Wendy's experiences remind me I am not alone. The evidence of God at work in her life, gives me hope that He can transform me as well. As she shares Scripture and teaches the Word, my hunger for it grows. When she, a woman I respect, suggests I do the work, I usually do.

Friend, I share all of this to encourage you to keep your eyes open...the mentor you long for, may already be pouring into your life. She may not be the one you expect, but trust me she is one God will use! Learn from her, allow her passion to ignite yours and give God thanks for the gifts He gives and way He works. Then remember, chances are God may be using you to pour into the life of someone you don't expect as well. So be mindful of the things you do and say...if God puts it on your heart to check in or reach out, follow His lead and allow Him to use you to fulfill His perfect plan.

O Lord, thank you for the way You work. You are faithful, You are good and You provide all we need. Open our eyes to see You more. Thank you for putting people in our lives who point us to You; help us do the same for others. May we as women train one another as the Word commands so that Your Word would not be maligned. In Jesus precious name...Amen

I'd love to hear how God's worked thru a mentor you didn't expect...share your thoughts in the comments -

 And let us consider how we may 
spur one another on toward love and good deeds...
Hebrews 10:24

2 comments:

  1. Jill, this is a beautiful post. It brings tears to my eyes to think how God can connect two women who live miles apart to encourage and minister to one another and pray for one another. Thank you for filling my heart so full today.

    I pray that many women will be inspired today to seek out a mentor or be a mentor!! God never intended for us to go on this journey of faith alone. Christian fellowship is a beautiful gift...one for which I am very thankful.

    With love and gratitude,

    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very nice post. It is a beautiful thing when God brings people together in this way. I myself have been hoping for a mentor for some time, but am waiting on God's timing for that.

    ReplyDelete