When I was an eighteen-year-old college sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin, I desperately desired for someone to teach me about God and how to live the Christian life. I had been a Christian since I was eleven years old, but no one had ever sat me down and taught me directly from God’s Word.
What I was looking for was a mentor. Or discipler. Or Titus 2 older woman.
While at my home church in Austin, Texas, there was a gracious older woman that I observed. Her name was Joyce and she was the church pianist. I got to know her a bit better and realized she lived the life for Christ that I wanted to live. At the time she was in her 60s and had been a believer since she was five years old. Finally, one day I asked her if she would mentor me.
Mentor. What a scary word.
But, Joyce agreed and for the next year and half she and I met every Friday morning for Bible study and prayer. Truth be told, almost fifteen years later, I can’t tell you the exact things that Joyce told me during those Bible study times together. What I do remember is the Christ-like life she modeled before me.
I spent time serving alongside her at our church; spent time with her running her errands; and spent time in her home. I watched her interact with her husband and saw her handle some very difficult situations.
In each of those scenarios she applied the truths of God’s Word that she was teaching me to her very own life. I can honestly say that she is the only person that I have ever known that I have never heard speak a harsh word about another human being.
She let me ask her countless questions and always pointed me back to Scripture. She never gave up on me when my attitude was bad or when I was a typical “all about me” young adult.
Phrases like, “Act like a lady,” “Well, we’re just going to pray,” “He is faithful, Ashley. Trust Him,” “He is so good,” and “Oh my stars” still run through my mind on a daily basis in a soft, Texas accent.
She wasn’t perfect, but she was godly and sought to pursue the Lord Jesus with her entire life. And that is what she modeled before me.
And that is how she mentored me in the things of God.
So, to this very dear friend that has made an eternal, Kingdom investment in my life, Happy 80th Birthday, tomorrow! I am thankful for you.
Fast forward fifteen years.
When someone mentors us, it is never just for us. We are to take what we learn and invest those lessons in someone else.
Several years ago I was teaching a group of high school senior girls in Sunday School. Many of those girls had previously been in one of my fifth grade AWANAs classes.
One of those girls, Holly, stood out. Holly would ask me about life and situations in her life and I would direct her in God’s Word. I would pray with her and she would tag along with me in ministry endeavors and she saw my life displayed before her. While I was always aware that these impressionable high school girls were watching my every move when I was before them and also on Facebook, I never really thought I was “mentoring” them.
After all, there wasn’t a scheduled time we were sitting down and I was teaching them. (And we certainly weren’t going to lunch every Friday after Bible study and prayer the way my mentor and I did.)
Oh, but I was teaching them – in everything that I said and everything I did.
But, I never really thought that I was mentoring them.
It wasn’t until the end of that year that Holly told me something to the effect of “Thanks for being my mentor.” I was a little stunned in that moment. How had I mentored her? It took some time to process, but I realized in a very similar manner that Joyce had imparted the things of God to me by teaching and then modeling them before me, I had done the same for Holly. Still to this day, I ask Joyce questions when I can and Holly asks me questions when she can.
So, to Holly who will turn 21 next week, Happy Birthday!
I have typed before and will type again, we have so much to learn from one another.
And, this is exactly what God desires of us as women as He tells us in Titus 2:3-5,
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”