This week marked the 2nd anniversary with myself as a “mentor” to someone else. (Notice how I said “this week”- I say that because I am LATE! It was Oct 25th that marked our anniversary but in order that I wouldn’t be late I said ‘this week’! I covered that up well, didn’t I??? You didn’t even know! But I did…
but I digress…………) Even just writing that ‘I’m a mentor’ sounds heavy. It sounds like I have my life together and I’m helping out this poor soul. But this is not the case at all. I give a shout out to my first official mentee ever!!! Shout out to you!! (You can identify yourself if you like- but if not, we know who you are
). So, why am I writing this note today? Well, three reasons:
To share the importance of having a mentor in your life.
To document how we got started.
To encourage you to pray about getting mentor and being a mentor to someone else.
Get a mentor today! Benefits of having a mentor won’t include less problems in your life nor someone at your beck and call at all times of the day or night. BUT… there ARE substantial direct and indirect effects that can vary from relationship to relationship. Personally, I both HAVE a mentor and I AM a mentor. Someone has poured into me since my first Bible study at my first PWOC in El Paso, TX back in 2009 when I got out of the Army. This person, Carole Lindquist Bossert, (I know she won’t mind me calling her out- it’s her ministry!) initiated the relationship when I gave her a card commenting on how I would have liked to have learned more. I really didn’t get into the class (about the history of the Bible) until the end of the class. And then once I was getting it- it was over. Feeling bummed about the time I felt I lost, I wrote it on the card and gave it to her not even thinking much about it. Well, Carole with her eyes and ears open for those seeking more responded asking if I would be interested in her coming over once a week to go over answers to a “Navigators Studies in Christian Living” series with her. Of course I happily agreed! I looked forward to Carole’s visit each week since hubby was deployed and both babies were less than 2 years old. Weekly, I made a path through all the toys and clutter to clear a section of the living room table where we reviewed a few questions at a time. I also was able to ask the questions that I felt like I couldn’t ask in church or Sunday school because I didn’t want to look like the only one who didn’t know these things. (I since have pretty much gotten over this because I realize that most people don’t openly share what is really going on in their life, nor ask the questions that they have or share deep life issues in groups (or at all) which is sad.) What I appreciated the most (and still do) about Carole is that she didn’t just tell me ‘the answers.’ She showed me where to find them for myself in His Word- the Bible. Carole showed me how to really use the Bible and modeled how to get into relationship with Him and showed how she could trust in Him with all the different aspects of her life. Carole still encourages and questions me about reading His word every day. “How is He going to talk to you? Are you reading your Bible?” Since my time in Texas, we have stayed in contact via good ol’ Skype. We intentionally kept in contact even throughout my moves to Germany, Washington and now Virginia. Today, we meet once a week for 2 hours with a mutual friend via Skype and are currently studying “The 5 Aspects of Woman- A Biblical Theology of Femininity.” Another thing I appreciate about our relationship, which we are now wrapping up our 7th year, (WOW SEVEN YEARS!!!) is that she knows me and my family. And I know her and her family. We share life together and are intentional about seeing one another in person when we are able. We share concerns and needs and achievements many of which do not make the “front page” (aka posted on social media).
She challenges me and I question her because I don’t want to just take somebody’s word for things. I want to see it for myself. The phrase “iron sharpens iron” (Prov 27:17) comes to mind. Not that I’m “iron” but I’m not continuing to ‘drink milk.’ Somewhere along the way I’ve moved on to solid foods. (Heb 5:11-14)
When you move around a lot, maybe because of lots of transition in your life or if you are a military family- it’s easy to show people just a part of you. Just one part. We have lots of things going on in our lives and so I love the commitment that both of us have made to set aside the time each week to make this work. I could hide parts of my life from her but I value her input and guidance so I let her in. She holds me accountable and asks me questions that others probably won’t. I need this in my life so that I can continue to grow. Her efforts have indirectly affected my entire family. My husband and my kids have experienced the effects of my life changed for the better. I realized recently that I have a “Biblical” world view (how did that happen????) and it has impacted the way I think, the way that I love and serve my family and others. This (gradual but definite) change has affected my view of myself, has helped me work through my past, and showed me the importance in my role as a wife and a mother and also as a teacher to my children. Where I am today did not just happen overnight. For me, in addition to regular church attendance, Bible studies and saying yes to helping with PWOC, jail ministry, teaching Sunday school, Good News Club, VBS, leading studies, and just being available to others- I believe my understanding and growth was accelerated as a direct result of the ongoing relationship with my mentor over these years week by week as we got into His word. I began to understand the concepts that I missed along the way and had someone to ask when questions arose from other areas of my life or from other sources. I got to hear how marriage based on Godly principles and values worked in the day to day. (I’m no fool; I will consider advice from a couple that’s been happily married over 50 years anyday!) I heard and saw how ministry was birthed in a couple and how God made it bigger. I sought answers to life’s questions and I found them… along with more questions because God is so big and fresh. I really had no idea. And again, Carole continues to be excellent on showing me where and how to find answers for myself. I’m sure it is an encouragement to her that my questions have changed over the years as my knowledge and understanding have grown. I know I am filled with great joy when my children comment on or question something that we have studied together in the Bible and I know my efforts are/were not in vain when I make time to consistently teach them.
Realizing and appreciating what Carole’s efforts had on me caused me to begin praying about being a help to someone else a few years ago. I prayed that God would provide a way and a person for me to invest in much like Carole invested in me. Then one day, it happened. Just like that, I found myself in a 3 way conversation about how hard it was to get started with reading the Bible and getting into God’s word after Sunday school one day. I still remembered and could relate to how confusing and difficult it can be to get into that routine and I just shared that with those listening. I saw a spark in one person’s eyes and the interest was there so I just went for it!!! I took a chance and just asked her hey WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME OVER ONE DAY AND GO OVER THIS BOOK WITH ME- I HAVE A MENTOR AND THIS IS WHAT SHE DID AND I WAS PRAYING ABOUT…….yadda yadda… She said yes and here we are. Two years later (a few moves, a marriage, and a new baby…) and we are still going strong!!! We have both been intentional in keeping our dates and doing the work. Our discussions are enlightening as I get to hear how God is working in her life. I marvel at her growing understanding of the scriptures and her willingness to speak up to others about it. I love how we dig into the Word if we are unsure about a passage or a response. God shows me how working together we come up with better (and cleverer) ideas and ways to explain Biblical concepts to others- especially with those who are lost or are new to the faith (versus what I may come up with on my own). God brings to mind verses and passages to me as we share and I am getting faster and faster at looking things up or even remembering where they are on my own. I am thankful to my mentee for taking a chance with me in this. I could have said no, she could have said no. But here we are.
One thing that crossed my mind after she said yes and before we first met I remember wondering, “What if she asks me a question I can’t answer??” Well that’s bound to happen to everyone if I thought that through. I don’t know anyone who really knows it all about every single thing. I had to remember that God can (and does) provide and we have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us, right???? Sometimes (many times) I have to go back to what God has said and just hold Him to it. After all, He can’t lie. He won’t fail. I realign myself back to God’s truth and then I’m (usually) good to go when I’m thinking crazy like that or just plain ol’ filled with fear. Yes, I’m still shaky when doing anything new or when I’m unsure of things, but I continue forward stretching myself and do it and I grow. I know my kids will grow when they do that too, so I gotta to be able to try as well. I approached my time with my ‘mentee’ as I a person willing to learn and I want to rightly handle the Word of the Lord and not lead others astray. I’m excited to be on this journey with you. I’m also able to say when I don’t know an answer to something rather than to make something up (I wouldn’t want someone else doing that to me!! Plus now I am willing to ask questions and I know to CHECK the source!) I can and often use my hard core researching skills (aka- Google. Let’s face it- it usually starts off with that cause it’s quicker… but then you gotta know what you are looking for so that’s yet another reason why mentors are needed! They will likely know what to look for and can spot when something is off.) I think being a mentor – or not being a mentor- boils down to motivation and God can put that in us if we don’t have it. We can pray for a changed heart if we can see the opportunity or need but have no desire to be used in that way.
I long to see more mentoring happening in the church. Where we can meet together and encourage one another in our messes to seek and do the Lord’s will in every area of our lives. Where we can pass along our faith in the sharing of our life and in studying His love letter to us all – His holy word- the Bible. We can question one another and refine our beliefs and convictions. A place where we can practice listening to and sharing ourselves with one another. We can spur one another on towards good works. One on one has a different vibe. It’s personal. Maybe we can let our guards down and be more real. We have opportunity to really hear and explain and show one another from where we draw our strength and our help. Do you have a mentor? Are you mentoring someone else right now? How is that going? Have you had different experiences? If you are looking for a mentor or desire to mentor someone else- let me know and I’ll join in with you in prayer about it.
P.S. I just read through this article again (below). I gotta tell you, if I had read this, I’d probably be overwhelmed with all the ‘what to look for’s’ in a mentor (no disrespect to the author though). Reading this made me EVEN MORE THANKFUL for the mentor and mentee I have right now in my life. I’m thankful it has been working out for all of us so well. I’d say the author’s #10 on her list – to pray- needs to be the #1 when it comes to this. Nothing happens overnight people. God’s working it all out. Be patient and continue to wait on the Lord as you move forward doing the things you can do (or go to) right now that is helpful. http://www.lifeway.com/Article/home…
P.P.S. Thanks Joy Couch for the go ahead on my note. Thanks for being a great mentee- I meant every word. I hope someone will be encouraged by this to just do it!
I love Jesus. Music. My family. Hosting folks. Bible studies. Teaching. Exhorting. Discipleship. Sharing Truth. God's given me a heart towards unbelievers and the unwanted/mistreated/abused especially children. I long to see people discover God, embrace and submit to Him in ALL areas of their life. Read more about how that works out in my life on my blog! https://sejanashines.com/ We are currently living in South Korea for now!
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