I have, at times, longed for some Godly, wise, older woman to have a lightning-flash moment and come to me to say she'd like to formally mentor me. We'd meet for tea and fresh-baked cookies (that she'd baked, of course) while I bore my heart, spilled my guts, and received her counsel. She'd turn me into SuperMom, I'd be the best wife in town, and a little picture of me would be floating beside the 31st chapter of Proverbs in all the coolest translations.
That never happened.
What did happen is that I watched the ladies of my church behind the doors of their homes when I'd join a girlfriend for Sunday dinner. My mother took an active role in my life, even when I was sure I was smart enough not to need her butting into my teenage world. I gained a mother-in-law on my wedding day that always knew the right scripture or when I needed her to just pray. Women dropped tidbits of wisdom my way at precise moments, and I filed them in my memory to revisit when needed. I even read books and listened to podcasts by gals who were brave enough to put their thoughts out there in public.
In that way, I hope some girl could include me in the women who've shared wisdom with her. I hope my own daughters can say that I've helped shape something positive in them. I hope my daughters' friends can say that what they saw behind closed doors was compatible with what they saw on the pew, and that something in me caused them to look deeper into God's eyes.
These past couple years of recovering from my femur break, passing through the surgeries, moving to be closer to the hospital, and generally pausing from what I considered ministry, I longed for the days when I sat in a circle with young ladies discussing purity and womanhood and grace and real beauty. I missed those one-on-one chats with different girls about the specific goals we'd talked about last week or how she'd handled the relationship issue we'd prayed about. I was frustrated by the feeling that my role as a mentor was on pause.
Reading this book reminded me that while I wasn't formally leading a small group or having intentional coaching sessions, there were people in my path that were watching and learning from what they saw. Oh, God, I hope they learned something good! I hope they saw someone gracefully accepting what had come her way while trusting God to heal and provide for her needs. I hope they saw someone rolling with the punches as every part of life had to be rethought, still able to smile and thank God for something positive. I'd love to think that they saw one of those women whose missionary biography I've read--some miraculous angelic woman of infinite wisdom and faith.
I'm afraid that what they actually saw was someone who struggled, someone who questioned, someone who wrestled, someone who wasn't always finding the silver lining. That's discouraging until I think of some of those role models I told you about earlier, and the imperfections I could nitpick in their lives. But when they come to mind, it's for the good things I've gained from knowing them. I pray some girl will be able to say that about me someday.
Are you intentionally mentoring anyone, or being mentored? How many girls can you think of who are being mentored by you without a formal weekly meeting? Am I crazy, or is that thought just a BIT intimidating?! ;)