I sat teary-eyed at my laptop, frustrated and concerned about some friendship struggles my daughter was having. Carefully, I crafted an email asking my associate pastor’s wife if she had time to meet. “I’d love to get your advice,” I typed.
She responded the next day, and soon I found myself sitting with her at a coffee shop as I listened, asked questions, laughed, and felt more at peace about my daughter’s situation. When I left that meeting, the future seemed brighter. It was so comforting to know that someone had been in my shoes and that things had worked out.
Though I haven’t seen her much since then, that sweet woman mentored me at just the time I needed her advice the most. She was like many women who are striving to follow the instructions of Titus 2:3–5, which encourages women who’ve gone before us to be “teachers of good things” (NKJV).
When I was younger, I thought having a mentor was something I had to ask for—as though it was something official. And maybe some still think of mentoring that way, like an apprenticeship or a work relationship with guidelines for moving through a set of established phases. Maybe some still think of Yoda and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars. But as I look back on my own life, I can see how countless people have mentored me even without my asking. They did this through service and by making themselves available.
A mentor is an “experienced person who helps someone who has less experience.” Though I don’t feel as experienced as some of my own mentors, I believe God also has people for me to mentor. And he has given me opportunities to do so—whether by taking meals to new moms, offering career advice to some of my previous writing students, or catching up with a babysitter before she heads home for the night. At any stage in life, I may be seeking the advice of women older than me while also mentoring others at the same time.
The Bible tells us that counselors and mentors can have a powerful effect on others (see Proverbs 15:22), but it also warns about the danger of being a companion of fools (see Proverbs 13:20), thus revealing the negative influence that foolish advisers can have. Surely God desires that as we mentor, we do so carefully. If we are to mentor well, we must make sure we are leading people to Christ and not away from him.
May we be intentional to take the opportunities God brings our way to serve, listen, and be an encouragement to those who need it. I know I’ve been blessed by mentors; maybe you have too. God’s plans don’t stop with us; each generation has a part to play.
Bio: Jenn Miller loves creating, especially through writing or sewing, and enjoys being outdoors. She is a wife, a mother, and most importantly, a Christ-follower. @makeitmiller
Scripture quotation is from the New King James Version of the Bible.
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