“Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.” (1 Timothy 4:12, The Message)
In a recent Bible study video, Beth Moore mentioned that older women in the church should come alongside and mentor younger women, because there are many women who long to be mentored. They long for that connection. I’m not sure if that’s true across the board, but that – and the fact that I’ve been thinking about my grandmother lately – got me to thinking about women who have spoken into my life through the years. [I hope I have inherited some of my grandma’s spirit – she was fun, loving, quick-witted, generous, in love with Jesus – but I definitely have inherited her feet (and recently had foot surgery, so I’ve been thinking about her, haha).] The Bible tells men to guide other men and women to guide other women to grow into a deeper relationship with God (see Titus 2). Whom has God placed in your life?
My grandmother was definitely one of the first mentors in my life. She taught me to play chess; she modeled how to run a house (well, as much as I would pay attention). She was a great cook. She was interested and engaged in life around her, and listened to me. But the thing she did spiritually for me in one season helped me the rest of my life. I came back to faith some months before I moved away, before my grandmother’s physical and mental health deteriorated and she passed away. Before I moved, I’d regularly come home from college and sit at Grandma’s feet (there’s her feet again), and talk about Jesus and how to live life with him, yet longing for heaven or whenever he comes back. Grandma helped me grow so much in those months, much more than if I hadn’t had her as a mentor. Her faith was a springboard for mine to grow.
Other women have spoken into my life over the years: my mother with her loving, independent, strong will, who knows her mind; one aunt who is feisty but who loves fiercely; another two aunts who have very different personalities but have always been there for me (and the rest of their families); a cousin who is closer than a sister; a few women who got involved in the college church class who taught me to take an interest in others and how to come alongside them; women in the churches I’ve attended over the years who’ve become great friends as we have dealt with life together; a dear friend across the miles with whom it takes just a second to catch up; women with whom I’ve served in ministry, whose overwhelming faith in dark times and good times is inspiring. Then there are the very real women in our beautiful church, who are funny and inspiring, who serve much and love much more. Younger women as well as those my age or older have also had an impact on me. Their wisdom, faith, character, God-given talents, love for God and kindness have inspired me. Anyone who’s had an impact on me positively has also had a sense of humor – which is perhaps my love language, haha. All of these women have been great examples for me, part of my training in godliness – a process that will last my whole life. (1 Timothy 4:7)
All that to say – who has been there for you? Whom can you come alongside? It is valuable to take stock of your life, to see how God has shaped you; this will help as God guides you to come alongside those who would benefit from your wisdom, your life experiences, sharing what God has done in your life. Who is going through something you’ve been through? Invite someone out for coffee. Sometimes God’s connections in our lives are almost startling, they fit so well. I’m talking about mentoring (if that’s where the relationship goes), but with humility and empathy, being there for that person and letting that person be there for you, a friendship with God at the center. If God leads you, consider pouring out your life to those who desperately need it, in a nearby school or at a shelter, perhaps along with that friend from church, sharing this together. Maybe you – like my grandmother’s faith example for me – can be a springboard of great faith as you speak into another person’s life, coming alongside.
Kelly can be reached via email.