I’ll never forget that day. I walked up a small flight of steps to a front door I had never been in before. And behind this door lived a woman I did not know at all… I had only been given her name, and told that meeting with her would be a part of my academic agenda for the next few months. It was a done deal. It was something I was told to do. So I hoped for the best and knocked on her door. She quickly opened the door, smiled warmly, and invited me in to have a seat on her couch. And this was the start of it. My first time meeting with a mentor – in about the most formal way possible.
I had had many group mentor-type relationships before this. All throughout high school, and especially into Bible college, I met with youth group leaders and eventually my deans on a regular basis to talk about my spiritual life and the rest of life. And each of those times were incredibly beneficial and special to me. They had helped me navigate tricky teenage years and the beginning of adulthood. But now the time had come for me to really dig deep into life with someone who barely knew me, on a one-on-one basis. And as this was a part of my college requirements, I knew that she would also be turning in evaluations of me at the end of each semester. Talk about pressure!
Well, I have come a long way since this initial, formal style of mentoring. But let me tell you, this topic has become very near and dear to my heart! I have seen – through the guidance of several different women who graciously took on the form of my mentor – my own life deepen, develop, mature, and even be seasoned with salt (yup, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses). These women have made indelible marks on my life, and I am forever grateful for their willingness to do it. To be a part of what God needed to teach me in those moments. To be faithful with the lessons He had already given them.
Mentoring doesn’t have to be nearly as formal as my initial experience was. In fact, it rarely is. More often than not, mentorship looks a like a whole lot of real life living alongside, and encouraging, another real life. And that’s just plain beautiful!
Sue Moore Donaldson, from welcomeheart.com, has dedicated her ministry and blog to all things hospitality. Her newest book, Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside, is all about mentorship. How to keep it simple and genuine. Why you don’t need to be afraid of it. Why you should be sharing what you’ve learned with those who are coming up right behind you. Why you should be learning from those who’ve done it just ahead of you. Why we aren’t meant to do this Christian life-thing alone. It’s all about community. Finding your person to come alongside of you and walk through the good and bad days with you – cheering you on and encouraging you to stay on your knees.
Sounds like something we could all use a bit more of, don’t you think? Mentoring one another? You don’t need to look further than the Apostle Paul and Timothy to see this beautiful relationship in action – and the enormous benefits that both parties enjoyed.
So today, as you dwell on this idea, let me encourage you to check out Sue’s new book. I am absolutely in love with the simplicity that she brings to this otherwise intimidating topic. I cannot wait to share more about this area in the coming days, and I am excited to see how God uses this new resource to bring more ladies around the table together.
So my challenge for you today is this: Grab your favorite coffee mug and set an extra one at your table. Take a long look at it and spend some time in prayer… right there, with the coffee (or tea) set. (And if you choose to fill the second mug, well then, that’s just one extra cup you’ll just have to drink.. oh bummer.) Ask God to show you who should sit down to that other place setting. Who should you be mentoring? Who should you ask about being a mentor to you? What lady(s) has He put into your life to bless you, challenge you, and aid you in your growth? And which one could use your help as she walks through life at a stage you recently (or not so recently) completed?
If you don’t know where to begin, Table Mentoring will not only be a great conversation starter, but also a guide along the way as Sue provides nearly 30 pages of worksheet materials to assist you! That’s a pretty sweet deal!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Have you ever had a mentor? Have you been a mentor?? Does the idea scare you? Intimidate you? Excite you? Do you have people in mind who could be a part of this with you? What would you have to gain from this relationship? What do you have to lose?