Why I Can’t Get Enough of Mentoring:

God Brings Us Alongside Another Woman to Show Her She’s Not Alone
by Sue Donaldson


I was in my early twenties. As a new college grad starting my first whirl into the real work world, I was single and facing my career as a high school teacher. I had a new roommate, lived in a new town, and joined a new church family—not floundering exactly, but needing emotional, practical, and spiritual support. That is when I met Jeanne. Jeanne was wise, gracious, and funny, and for some reason she loved me. She showed it by sharing her wisdom, investing her time in me, and pouring her life into my life. Living life alongside Jeanne made all the difference.

I don’t remember how we first met. I do remember sitting at Jeanne’s table, a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other. (I needed a pen when I spent time with Jeanne.) I also remember Jeanne’s responses—spoken with a smile, a gentle word, often a chuckle of understanding—never a judgment.


I was comforted when she said, “Sue, this is how it was with my mother.”

I felt her love and support when she said, “It sounds like you could use help in this area—let me organize this for you.”

I grew in grace and knowledge of the truth when she said, “The most important thing you can tell your students is that God is your most important thing.”

Years later, in another town with a new vocation—marriage and motherhood—I called Laurie. “Can you help me understand this verse? I don’t get it.” She came for coffee with notes and books, and a new mentoring relationship began.

I needed more than help with Scripture. I was desperate.

Desperate for direction.

Desperate for counsel.

Desperate for tips on just about anything related to household management, raising three daughters, and being married to the most opposite-from-me person on the planet.

What was God thinking? Here’s what he might have been thinking: “Sue, you aren’t able to figure it all out by yourself. Find a mentor.”

I’ve been desperate, and I still am. That’s why I can’t get enough of mentoring. I love meeting with older women, even in my older years.

Annadale, who is almost ninety-four, came over last Friday. I became a little worried when she was late. Annadale doesn’t run late. Finally, she arrived and said, “Sorry, my Uber was late.”

“Annadale—you know how to Uber?”

“Of course! Ubering is easy—anyone can do it.” She then explained how she shared Jesus with her Uber driver.

Over coffee, she looked into my eyes and said, “Sue, you aren’t going to be around much longer.” 

I grinned and said, “I know.”

“And I’m not either!”

I smiled. “How do you feel about that, Annadale?”

“I can’t wait!”

I want to be like Annadale, who can’t wait to see Jesus face-to-face.

I want to be like Laurie, who trusts God’s Word in everyday life. 

I want to be like Jeanne, who loved me and helped me make God my most important thing.


As I grow in these things, God brings me alongside someone else to show her she’s not alone. As Paul wrote, “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else” (2 Corinthians 1:3).

God brings me alongside someone else to show her she’s not alone.

I once heard someone say, “Ministry is spillage.” We sit at Jesus’s feet, and what he pours in, we pour out—spilling over, grace upon grace. I’m grateful for the women who took time to linger with Jesus, and then with me. It has made all the difference.

Sue Donaldson is a speaker, podcaster, writer, and people-gatherer—at her table, on her porch, or in her backyard. @suemooredonaldson

Scripture quotation is from The Message.

Image by James Wolf Photography

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