Asking a woman to mentor you is awkward. I don’t think I ever got over that. It’s like asking someone out on a date, and you don’t know what they will say. On top of that, whenever we moved to a new place, or my old mentor moved away, I would usually have to ask (on average) five women in my church if they would mentor me before I found someone who would say, “yes”.
There is certainly a shortage of mentors in our churches, and I often wonder why. I think it boils down to a lack of understanding of what a Biblical mentor does. We think we have to be or do something amazing.
Most people think a mentor is someone who trains you to do all the things listed in Titus 2:1-5. So if we haven’t mastered the perfect marriage, or training our children, or keeping our house clean, then we think we certainly have nothing to offer.
However, Titus 2 actually tells us that the goal of relationships between older and younger women is sound doctrine. It’s older women helping younger women to use truth to fight against lies.
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:1-5 ESV
We need someone in our life to help us point our face to Jesus on a consistent basis. When the world is telling me that I’m not the right size, or I’m not smart enough, I need someone to remind me I’m made in the image of God. I need that spoken truth in my life to help me fight the lies.
If my marriage is all tangled up in sin and hurt, and I’m struggling to live up to my husband’s expectations or my own expectations, if I’m disappointed that my husband isn’t doing the things I would wish him to do, then I need an older woman who will point my face to Jesus. I need a friend who will help and teach me to find my healing and identity in my God, not my husband, and not in my ability to be a “good wife.” I need her to teach me that I can’t ever find the gumption to forgive on my own, but the power to forgive is found in Christ, as I seek the face of God.
When my kids won’t sleep, obey, or be quiet for two seconds, and I try yet another book on discipline, another method of sleep training, and find myself wanting to escape this heavy job, I need an older woman to remind me to pray and cast all my cares on the God who loves my children more than I do. I need to be reminded to rest in the Lord because he can be trusted with my children.
When I’m lonely, and my life just can’t seem to get on track or I can’t seem to stay on top of my schedule, let alone my laundry, I need an older woman who reminds me to lean hard on God’s wisdom. I need her to cheer me on to never stop reading the Scriptures, because it’s not a self-help book, but a book about who God is and how he came into this messy world to redeem it and commune with us.
I don’t need someone who will tell me what to do. I need someone who is completely devoted to Jesus. I need someone with calloused knees from years of soul-wrenching prayer, and the knowledge that there is no tidy answer for every problem, but that we have a strong and dependable God.
I don’t need someone who has a perfect home, perfect kids, or a perfect marriage. I need someone who has learned to lean hard on God throughout all of life’s imperfections. I want a witness to God’s faithfulness.
You might say mentoring is a ministry of encouragement, and it is. But it’s so much more than that. It’s training younger women to see that sound doctrine impacts the most intimate areas of our lives and the cross of Jesus Christ changes everything.
I sense that more women would be interested in mentoring if they understood that they didn’t have to know everything. They simply have to have a knowledge and love of the Gospel, and a willingness to keep reminding us of it like a battle cry.
I started pursuing mentoring relationships with younger women when I was 34 and still had small kids at home. I felt much too young to be a mentor, but little did I know, this journey would give me an up-close view of God at work and it would take my breath away as I saw him use my mouth for his words, and my hands for his service. He did things I would never have imagined. I still feel like I do so very little, like it barely takes any time to make this kind of impact. And yet, our mighty God takes our little offerings in his name, and he does so much as we commit to ministering to Christ’s body in this way.
Note from Gretchen: I wrote a training program for women who know God, and would love to encourage younger women in this way, but they don’t know where to start. They need a clear understanding of what is involved in mentoring, and they just want someone to walk them through the process, step by step. Gospel Mentoring is a self-paced online course that I teach, for women who want to encourage younger women, but they don’t feel old enough or wise enough, and they do feel like they have no time to give. But the truth is that God can use us wherever we are.
Enrollment in the course will be at it’s lowest introductory cost for 2 weeks until May 14th , 2018. In addition to that, anyone who is blessed by the ministry of Women Encouraged will get an extra $10 off the first week of open enrollment by using code WOMENENCOURAGED on the website, between May 1-8. This deal isn’t offered anywhere else. All the details of the course can be found at www.gospelmentoring.com