Thursday, August 28, 2014

Women Mentoring other Women and Why it is an Absolute Necessity

Recently I responded to a group question from Holley Armstrong Gerth, a popular Christian author, speaker and blogger.  Her question was "What is the biggest need you see in women's ministry today?'  My response was that I'd love to see older women mentoring younger women because I feel it's so nice to hear their wisdom born of years of living through things I am currently in the midst of and to garner from their faith as well.

I was specifically thinking of how much I would love to have an older more experienced mom to bounce things off of and to remind me that I'm going to make it through these teenage and early adulthood years of parenting.  I need a spiritual mentor as well.

 I watched my response to Holley's question get many likes and start many conversations about the need for mentoring.

I'm going to be honest about something.  I have not made a lot of friends in the 5 years we have lived in this state.  Some of that is due to me having been isolated at home with young twins.  Some of that is our life situation demanding that our children be our focus at this point in time.  That is our #1 priority and we love it.  Some of it is that I still miss my old friends, the ones who have known me since I was a young mom and have been there through thick and thin,  The friends I do have here are parents of my teenage children's friends.

I have purposefully avoided developing friendships with young moms, especially if their oldest is the same age as my youngest. I'm not sure they can relate to any of my struggles and I have a hard time fully empathizing with their current concerns because I don't want to be a "Debby Downer" and minimize their issues by saying "Oh honey, you just wait, it gets worse." I also feel very alone and dare I say judged by younger moms.  I've heard more times than I care to hear that when their child is that age they won't let their child act that way, or go there or do that.

I was once one of those moms who made those very same statements.  I am feeling very convicted by the Lord to seek out younger moms and minister to them.  I can feel the incredible selfishness of my initial statement that I could use a mentor.  Not because I don't need a mentor, I do, but because I wish I were more selfless and thought more of others first rather than thinking of myself.  My husband often tells me that his life "is not about me, but Him".  I admire that very much.  I hear God gently nudging me to remember that it is not about me, it's about Him and furthering the kingdom one friendship, one example, one non-judgement, one listening ear and one encouragement at a time.

Generally speaking, helping others, especially those who are hurting comes very naturally to me.  I have mentored many teenage and young adult women over the years.  My husband and I used to be marriage mentors.  Life seemed easier back then.  I didn't think I had all the answers, but I hadn't yet lived through real pain within my own family.  I have now and it makes me feel unworthy. So I ask myself what makes me feel so unworthy?  That I have faced trials and although I have experience, I am both broken and stronger like a bone that has healed?  Good!  What is it that makes me so afraid to nurture other moms?  It is that I would be vulnerable and have to share that neither myself, my marriage nor my children are perfect? Yes.  Do I think this may be refreshing for others to hear so they don't feel so alone? Yes.

I am going to leave my insecurities behind and ask the Lord to use me to encourage and cheer on younger moms.  Are you in need of a mentor?

If you are an experienced mama, I urge you to find a younger mom and make it your own personal ministry to mentor her.  I can't imagine that you would be turned down if you offered.  You might be surprised by the number of women who would jump at the change to be mentored.  My hope is that women mentoring other women would grow and every woman would have a more experienced person in their life to walk alongside them and fill them with hope for the future and contentment that whoever they are, they are enough!