We’ve studied with our heads together, cried on each other’s shoulders and laughed so hard we couldn’t talk. In a nutshell — that’s mentoring.
Ten years ago, two women (young enough to be my daughters) in my congregation asked if I would be their mentor. I wasn’t sure what Kim and Janine expected, but I agreed because Scripture encourages mentoring: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live. … Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home…” (Titus 2:3-5).
Sitting on the floor of my office so as not to disturb my sleeping husband, the three of us began meeting once a week at 5:30 a.m. Kim and Janine wanted to meet before their husbands left for work to eliminate a babysitting problem. Now that their children are in college, we meet at 4 p.m.
Our friendship filled voids for each of us: Kim has no sister, Janine’s mother died when she was 12, and my only daughter died at birth. Because each of us was already involved in a Bible study group, we chose to read and discuss Christian books, chapter by chapter.
Mentoring has offered many blessings. As our “HEARTS” have knit together, we have grown closer to God and to each other.
Kim and Janine say I give them hope simply because I have, by God’s grace, survived many of life’s storms, with my faith intact. Grieving deaths, rearing sons through the teen years, and facing ministry challenges were just some of them. They ask questions, and I give honest answers.
I see things from the perspective of a different generation, so I encourage them to view the bigger picture and hang in there. We usually pray for whoever is seated to our left, and hearing a friend pray for our concerns encourages us in our struggles.
We take turns leading our sessions and usually close with a challenge. The next week we compare notes on how we’ve done. This motivates us to step out in faith, because we know we’ll again be discussing the issue.
Through the years our trust has grown. We need not fear that anyone will repeat anything outside of our group. Without shame, we confess our failures and weaknesses, and we accept one another as we are.
Each of us excels in some way and, by example, teaches the others. Kim speaks in her professional life and as a leader in her church. Janine easily establishes relationships with people. I offer a model of love for God’s Word because I have memorized extensive portions of Scripture.
Our study together has challenged us to serve God as a group. After Kim began attending a different church, we worked up a women’s retreat for her new church and then offered it to other churches. Now we regularly speak at women’s retreats as “Friends of the Heart,” because that is exactly what we are. We have also co-authored a women’s devotional book.
Outside of my family, mentoring Kim and Janine has been the most blessed relationship in my life. Just search out someone older or younger that you want to get to know better and do what comes naturally. In a nutshell — that’s mentoring.
Shirley Brosius is a freelance writer who resides in Millersburg, Pennsylvania.
- Are you mentoring anyone else?
- Is anyone else mentoring you?
- If not, where could you look for mentoring opportunities?