Melinda Means is our guest today on Monday Morning Blog. I met Melinda for the first time at The M.O.M Initiative Better Together Conference this past summer. Today Melinda writes about something I’m always teaching–mentoring is just being a few steps ahead of someone else. Sometimes it will be an older woman, but other times it might be someone your own age or even younger like in Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ. Melinda talks here about finding a mentor mom, but all of her suggestions apply to finding a mentor in all walks of life.
She never arrived.
I waited for her. Prayed for her. God knows how desperately I needed her.
But, as a young mom, the Titus 2 woman I envisioned never made an appearance.
I so badly needed a more seasoned mom to show me the ropes. To help guide me away from foolish choices and selfish attitudes.
But the sweet, gray-haired wise mentor I dreamed of – the one who’d spend structured time with me each week — never materialized.
Instead, God sent my pastor’s wife. Just a few years older than me, she modeled how to put family before myself in healthy ways.
He gave me another wise friend with kids a stage or two above mine who alerted me to the pitfalls I was going to encounter if I didn’t set better boundaries with my children.
“My kids always know I mean what I say. They never doubt that I’m going to follow through,” she told me. “Yours have to know that, too.”
Although she moved away years ago, I’ve never forgotten those words.
He sent me a lifelong friend who is actually a year younger than me who gave me tough love during a difficult time. God used her to strengthen my resolve and muster the courage to make hard choices during a very painful season with one of my children.
He sent others along the way who gave me just what I needed at a crucial time in my life and mothering.
Some of them are still in my life. Others were there just for a season. Still others didn’t even know they were mentoring me. I simply observed and learned from them, even though I may not have had even more than a passing relationship with them.
It took me years to recognize that these were my Titus 2 women.
She did show up after all! She just didn’t arrive in the package that I expected. I didn’t realize that my Titus 2 woman could look just like me.
Many moms do have wise older women who pour into their lives regularly. Today, I count myself among them.
But as a young mom I found the search for traditional mentoring difficult. Along the way, I discovered there’s no age requirement for mentors. They just have to be humble, godly and willing to honestly share the wisdom of their life experiences. As moms, we can learn a lot from women who are just a stage or two ahead of us in the parenting journey.
So how do you find your Titus 2 woman?
I have good news. She’s probably already in your life. You just may not know it. I had to look beyond my idea of what a mentor “should” look like.
Try asking yourself these questions:
- Do I have a friend who is highly skilled in an area of mothering where I struggle?
- What women do I know that have godly character that I admire?
- Have I observed someone in my life who seems to handle difficult situations with her husband and/or children in a way I respect and want to learn from?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have a Titus 2 woman in your life.
To benefit from her wisdom and experience, all it takes is a teachable heart, keen observation, and the humility to ask for help and guidance.
Are you the answer to someone’s mentor prayer?
We all need mentoring, but we can also be mentors. You could be the Titus 2 woman that someone else is praying for.
Because no matter how inadequate we may feel at times, we always have skills and character traits that someone else admires and can learn from.
God never intended for us to do mothering alone. We need each other.
Sometimes we just have to open our eyes to the resources around us. And open our hearts to other moms who need our wisdom and support.
No gray hair required!
Melinda is mother to two teenagers — a strapping son and a beautiful and entertaining daughter. She has been a freelance writer since her daughter was an infant, writing primarily for healthcare publications up until several years ago when her writing focus took a decidedly maternal turn.
You can find Melinda on Moms Together, a thriving, interactive Facebook group for moms. She is also a Regular Contributor to Christian Work at Home Moms and More To Be, a mentoring site for mothers and teen girls. Melinda co-authored Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family. It will be released by Bethany House Publishers in January 2015.