This morning at church we were discussing Paul and Barnabus. Which then lead to a little tangent on mentoring. Last month, as many of you know, I participated in Gab-fest. I started to follow about half a dozen (at least) other 31 day’ers. One of the ones I enjoyed most was the one on mentoring.
This is one subject that I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on. However, it has been HUGE in my life, from the time I was 8 and my family and I started attending a church together. From that without consciously knowing it, I was in at least one mentoring relationship or another.
The first was in a couple who liked to call me their “adopted granddaughter.” They were from our church, they were my Sunday school teachers. He was my parents insurance agent and the first time he came to discuss things with him, I connected with him, which my parents found very unusual because I was the extremely shy child. I wouldn’t typically go more than 2 feet from my parents. I can remember sitting with them every Sunday at church. I even remember a time when I was like 9 or 10, I went to the 4th of July fireworks with this couple. This was huge because my family NEVER went to the fireworks, well not the 4th of July ones anyway.
The next way I can remember being mentored was by another couple from our church. They were the Jr. High Sunday school teachers, youth leaders and when the other couple moved out of town and left our church, this couple kind of stepped in and filled the gap. They’ve been through SO much together, from medical issues, to spiritual battles fought together.
Still today, even though I don’t attend the same church building they do, I still look to them as an example of the type of marriage I hope to be able to kind of imitate. While I know our battles won’t be the same, I look to their dedication to each other in all they’ve been through and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that marriages can make it through anything, that after 20 years and numerous battles love can remain genuine, and that with God on our side we can and will withstand anything that comes our way.
While the one above is still (kind of) on-going, in middle school, mentoring took a different shape. I guess God knew I was going to need more one on one attention. When I entered Jr high, the small group format had just gotten rearranged, there were some leaders who wanted to start a small group, and some who wanted to phase out, so it just seemed like as good a time as any.
The group I was in was lead by a quiet, quarky, yet amazingly knowledgeable mother of teenagers. There were 3-5 girls assigned to my group, I was the only one to come weekly we had another girl or two who would come every few weeks or start to come regularly for a couple months and then disappear for a while. Which meant I spent most of the small group nights with one-on-one time. During the course of the 4 years I was in her group several things happened:
- My parents got a divorce
- My mom got remarried
- Underwent emotional and mental abuse
- Spent a lot of time in depression
- Avoided jumping from relationship to relationship
- Was lead into a “dating” relationship with a good
I shared the entire story here, but I will briefly overview it. I have known her since I was 8, over the past 15 years, she’s watched me go through numerous hard times, but 2 years ago our relationship shifted from her being the older sister of a kid my age, to her becoming one of my closest friends. A woman I felt comfortable enough to be boldly honest with and knew that it wasn’t going any further than her mind heart and prayers. Together we tackled some huge obstacles, and we’ve both come out to be stronger women for it.
About a year and a half ago (give or take), my husband and I started attending the church linked in above. While it was hard to leave the church I’d grown up in, I was certain beyond the shadow of doubt that this was where God was leading us. Since then, I’ve met some wonderful people, one I’d started a relationship with, only to have it flop miserably, another I started meeting with on a weekly basis about 8 months ago. While this relationship is more of an accountability relationship than a mentor relationship, I still feel it is equally as important as the other. If it weren’t for her, today, I might not have grown as much as I have in the past several months, nor would I have an extremely close friend who has challenged me and allowed me to do the same for her. We have grown in similar ways and had to tackle similar battles, and now, we cannot imagine what we have done in some of those situations had it not been for the other.
The last two are still on going, and they make my life…interesting to say the least. While one I only meet with every couple of months, and the other I meet with weekly, it hasn’t changed the value of each of these relationships for me. If you haven’t had one of these relationships in your life, I encourage you to pray and ask God to show you the right person to play this role in your life.
I’ve been saying for a while that I need to write out and share my story. This is a slight glimpse of it. As always, I am willing to share what God has done in my life with anyone who asks. 🙂
Blessed Sabbath my friends.