Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Will You Mentor Me?

A biblical mentoring relationship is a choice—for both parties involved. While we see the mandate in Titus 2 for older women to train the younger women, the latter must be willing to receive the discipleship. Often, as younger women, we stay only in the waiting position. We see the command for older women and hope that they will see us at church and resolve to find us and mentor us. It’s not wrong to hope for that. In fact, it is a very good thing to hope for that kind of a relationship. But we can take that hope and help make it into a reality. We can take steps to foster relationships with older women, seeking their advice, desiring their help, and wanting their friendship.

Ruth made a conscious decision to stay with Naomi. The text says that she “clung” to her (Ruth 1:14, 17-18). And this was even against the advice of Naomi! But Ruth wanted Naomi’s God. Ruth wanted to be apart of Naomi’s family. She chose to stay with her.

Mary made a deliberate choice to go to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-40). Granted, Elizabeth was more than a willing partner in helping the young mother. But still, Mary went to her on her own accord. She knew Elizabeth shared a common experience with her (an unexplained and unexpected pregnancy) and shared her God. This was enough for Mary to go to Elizabeth and seek refuge and comfort in her time of need.

Our action as younger women does not take away from the biblical command directed to older women. But our action, done in humility, might actually encourage them in their desire to fulfill the directive of Titus 2. Asking someone to mentor you, and asking someone if they want to be mentored is never easy—no matter how you word it. But perhaps, and I know this is true of my own life, it may be God’s way of cultivating humility in your life simply by saying “I need help in this area, can you mentor me?”

So often we like to think that we have it all together. Or at least we act like we do. We surround ourselves with peers who think we are great, who think we are holy, who think we have womanhood down. And maybe you do. Praise God for that. But maybe, just maybe, God wants to cultivate an even greater holiness, an even greater heart for womanhood, and an even greater understanding of greatness by putting an older woman in your life to shape those already existing qualities.

Pray about it. Read about it. Talk about it. And by God’s grace make a choice to do something about it.


Chelsea Bass said...

I am very blessed to have a woman in my life who is a great mentor. However, she isn't much older than me, relatively speaking, and we often find ourselves struggling with the same things.

I suppose sometimes I feel that many of the older women in my church, while loving and godly, aren't the "right" kind of mentor.

They don't know much about doctrine, and likely don't think they need to. They would completely disagree with many of the beliefs I hold about truth, God's sovereignty, and God's work of salvation. They've never heard of Piper, MacArthur, Mohler, Owen, or Spurgeon.

The thing is, I'm probably ignoring all they areas of wisdom they do have to share. Some have been married for 30, 40, 50, even 60 years. That means they probably know a whole lot more about what it takes to make a marriage work.

Some have likely suffered hardships and loss I can't even imagine, and known God's grace in those hardships more than I can imagine.

I worry that I, and our generation of young, ESV-wielding women, focus so much on the idea in Piper's famous saying, "Wimpy theology makes wimpy women," that we completely disregard the value of women who would *gasp* deign to read from the NLT or the NIV.

How do we strike a balance? I don't know.

Perhaps we seek out relationships despite all our deficiencies, and pray that God would use all parties to teach us more about himself.

cdt said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, Chelsea. I really appreciate it and have seen this happen on many occasions. I don't know what the answer is either. It is hard. Fellowship is important in a mentoring relationship, but at the same time, so is grace. It is a hard balance to find. I have found the same problem that you have at times, and unfortunately am still learning how to make it work. I so appreciate your honesty. You pose some very good questions and insight. We should care a ton about doctrine, but I know that I can easily be judgmental and closed when people don't share the same doctrinal views as me. Or maybe haven't ever thought of them before. Anyways, thank you for your thoughts. I always appreciate them!

amandaginn said...

This post was rather timely for me. I just talked to Scott about this a few nights ago after realizing it's something that's been missing in my life recently.

For the first time since my early teens, I am without a mentor. In this totally new stage of life (motherhood), I see the need for it more than ever.

I'm flagging this post in my reader so that I can continually be reminded to seek out a proper peg for this hole in my life.

Thanks, friend.

cdt said...


Thanks for your encouragement. I pray that God provides a mentor for you!