As many of you know, I'm working on my Master's at seminary, and this semester my online class is "Women Mentoring Women." There are other women in the class, but as a part of the Master's curriculum, I have additional reading or assignments. The additional reading for this class is Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt. OOOOH! It was so good. I loved reading it and soaking in it and learning from it. I highly recommend this book to those interested in mentoring.
My lesson this morning was on mentoring. I know this is something God has been leading me to for some time for the women at Calvary to participate in, but He hasn't been in any real great rush…ya know what I mean?
Part of my assignment this past week was to come up with some advice considering 1 Timothy and the way Jesus mentored the disciples, and this was my answer:
We must be an example and a reflection of our Father. We must have an intimate, growing relationship with Him in order to be an example to others in...
- how we speak -- the words we choose and the tone in which we say them choosing to admonish in love and compassion (After all, Jesus admonished Peter in love when they were away from everyone asking Him three times if Peter loved Him.)
- how we live -- sharing our lives transparently and spending time with those we mentor (this includes admitting our failures and what we learned from them)
- how we love -- our husband, our children and others
- how we believe in our faith -- teaching the mentee lessons we have learned and are currently learning being sure to ask questions of the mentee to prompt them to participate and grow as well
- how we maintain purity -- by showing mentees how to have time alone with God and how to cultivate that intimate relationship with Him.
Are we perfect people? If we were, we wouldn't be dying in need of the cross. But to mentor means we allow other women into our lives, live transparently before them and show them God's grace in our lives.
If you had a sixteen year-old daughter who came to you and said she was pregnant, what would you do? I have not had that experience. My daughter is only 9, and I don't dare say that I won't ever be face with this because she hasn't made it to adulthood. OR what if your teenage son said his girlfriend was pregnant? I can only begin to imagine the stress and tension in the relationship and in the home. Now what if you lived in a country where girls her age could be stoned or put away for getting pregnant out of wedlock. There are places that is happens. Now ladies, what if your daughter told you the Holy Spirit had come upon her and that is how she became pregnant. Think about the strain and stress that would happen in the household.
Mary was young, unwed and pregnant. She was living in a time where abortion was not an option. She was living in a time where she could be put away or severally punished. Her reputation was obviously at stake. We don't know what happened in her home with her mom. We don't know if her mom believed her. We know Joseph didn't. We don't know if she was ridiculed or if she even told anyone, but what we are told is she went to see Elizabeth. In Luke 2, Elizabeth who was and barren and beyond age-bearing years was now pregnant. She was six months pregnant when Mary made her presence known. The Bible said the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaped and then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth as a mentor was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then next words out of her mouth are, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" (Vs 42). Do you think those words were like a balm to Mary's heart? Elizabeth is encouraging Mary. She is believing and knowing that God has worked a wonder in Mary's life. How did she know? Because she was filled with the Holy Spirit!
Something else I want you to consider is in verse 38. When Mary was told by the angel all that was going to happen, she said, "I am the Lord's servant." She took the control of the reigns and any possible desire to possess this moment, this baby and placed it squarely at her Lord's feet. She knew she didn't have possession of this event. She knew she wasn't in control. She knew this was God's baby to rock. Ladies, when we release our need to control and our need to possess what occurs in our lives and in our relationship and place it all squarely at the feet of Jesus, there is liberation and freedom like you have never known. Things and people who would normally hurt you, you simply pass on to God allowing you to be able to continue to serve God, honor God and love God's children as He instructed. Lord, May I be so bold as to say, I am your servant.
In the book Spiritual Mothering, Mrs. Hunt makes the point that mature women "must be willing to allow a younger woman to look into her life and learn from it." Does this mean you have to be perfect? PLEASE! What it means that you have to be willing to open your life up to another person for them to see how God's grace has affected you. We have to be real. As one of my friends said "authentic." As mentors, we must throw away our fear of being judged, fear of being found incompetent, or fear of being rejected. If God brings a young woman into our lives who shares a heavy burden with us and we don't share that we have been there too and show them how God's grace worked it out in our lives then SHAME ON US! Satan is using your fear to impede the work God wants to do in your life as well as in the lives of the women around you. SHAME ON YOU! God did not give us the gift of timidity or fear. Time to get your big girl panties on, slap fear in the head, and show that young woman what it's like to live a victorious life because of God's grace. Ladies, if God brings a woman to you for you to share your story, THERE IS A REASON, and if you will just be obedient, that young woman will find you to be sincere and authentic, and she is more likely to come to you again and again with her burdens. And isn't that what we want as mentors?
Will there be times when the person we are mentoring rejects the words we have spoken? Good chance, but is that your problem? Nope. It's God's. That's why every time before you meet with your mentee you need to be meeting God, seeking His face, reading His Word because you don't know what situation or problem the young lady is going to bring up, and there is simply no way to prepare. BUT, if the Holy Spirit is upon you, He will give you the words to say. We are not to try to control the relationship or the outcome for those are from the Lord.
I did not EVEN begin to cover the subject adequately, but I'm totally okay with that because we had some great discussion and some wonderful time encouraging one another.
Over the next few weeks, I'll blog the rest of my lesson. Can you tell I'm passionate about this? We have missed a whole generation of women who are now in high school and college and starting careers – these women need "truth sayers" in their lives. The world is giving them version of the truth, and they hear it loud and clear. We need to be obeying our Father and speaking His Truth into their lives. Now is better than never.