Are You the Mentor You Want to Be?

In the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, I often heard Mentors complain about their Mentees but sometimes the Mentor may actually be the problem.

I thought it would be great to start out the New Year sharing an article by Stephanie Shott on The Mom Initiative (TMI) Website. To learn more about TMI go to www.themominitiative.com,

5 Types of Mentors That Drive Mentees Crazy & 2 MORE GIVEAWAYS & SIGN UP to LEAD A M.O.M. INITIATIVE MENTOR GROUP By Stephanie Shott

Let’s face it, not all mentor/mentee relationships were made in heaven. Some can be tough. At times personalities don’t gel. That’s human nature and a wise mentor will see that she’s not the girl for the job and gently remove herself while trying to replace herself at the same time.
There’s something beautiful about a mentor/mentee relationship that works, but that doesn’t always happen.
It’s like a ship that sets sail with two people on it. Sometimes they enjoy the ride, other times they’re ready to throw each other overboard. :-)
At times, the mentee is to blame. Other times, it’s the mentor who is responsible for mucking up the mentor waters and making a mentee want to throw her overboard. And then there are times when it’s just not working for either of them and it’s really no one’s fault.
Today, we’re going to share a few ways in which a mentor can blow it with a mentee:

images-41. SMARTY-PANTS BULLY ~ The Mentor Momma who KNOWS EVERYTHING and for some reasons, she always seems ANGRY ~

If you’ve ever been around someone who thinks she has all the answers and comes across like she’s ready to bite your head off, you know exactly what I’m talking about. She’s intimidating… daunting. She makes you feel like you can never do anything right and you certainly don’t want to ask Mrs. Know-It-All any questions.
Every time she leaves, you wonder why in the world she would ever mentor a mother and you hope she decides you’re wasting her time so she won’t come back.
You’d tell her you don’t want her to come back yourself, but the thought of doing that scares the bajeebers out of you.
Like the bully in grade school, she thinks she knows everything and always acts like she’s mad at you.

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2. NOSY NELLIE ~ The Mentor Momma who seems to think she has to have her nose in your business in order to be a good mentor.

We’ve all known someone who thought her job was to mind your business instead of her own. The one who asks probing and personal questions that catch you off guard leave you feeling very uncomfortable.
She makes you wonder if what you tell her will be held in confidence because she spends most of your time together talking about other people.
You begin to avoid spending time with her because she’s so stinkin’ nosy. Finally, you find yourself leaving the house before she gets there to run an ‘emergency’ errand so you can miss your scheduled time with her.
Like the nosy high school friend you avoided, Nosy Nellie has a knack for running people off and then wonders why no one wants to spend any time with her.

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3. LOUSY LISTENER ~ The Mentor Momma who is there to tell you about all her troubles and leaves you wondering if she will ever be quiet.

We all know it’s not easy to be around someone who is so busy talking about themselves that they never stop long enough to listen. They’re relentless and they drive you crazy! All you can think of is, “Could someone PLEASE stop her!”
She really doesn’t have any interest in mentoring you. She is there to talk. And talk. And talk.
You start fidgeting in your chair and waiting for the second she stops long enough to catch her breath so you can tell her that you need to go to the grocery store, or take the dog to the vet, or get to your doctor’s appointment…something, anything to get away from the non-stop rambling.
You thought she was there to mentor you, but she’s a lousy listener who would rather talk your ear off than take time to listen to the one she should be ministering to.

images-34. DOUBLE TROUBLE ~ The Mentor Momma who thinks she needs to bring in reinforcements and gang up on you to get her point across.

You know her. She’s the one who can’t be just ONE. She seems to have the need to bring someone else into your very personal conversation and makes you feel like you’re being battered by both of them.
She told you everything would be confidential and then she shows up with someone else to tell you twice what she has already told you once.
She’s like the girl in high school who always had to have other girls around to validate her. When you see her coming, you know it’s really double trouble because someone else will be with her to mimic what she says. So you try to avoid her like the plague.

images-15. EXCUSE MAKING MOMMA ~ The Mentor Momma who has an excuse for everything. She tends to run late, isn’t prepared, doesn’t have her act together and constantly makes excuses for herself.

We all have friends like this. They leave you waiting at Starbucks for 30 minutes and when they get there, they give you the same excuse as they gave you last week.
They told you to read through chapters 1 through 5 of Overwhelmed and you did. But when she arrives she lays out a list of excuses as to why she couldn’t come prepared.
She doesn’t have any problems making plans. She just can’t seem to keep them. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t remember the plans she makes.
It’s always someone else’s fault that she struggles with being unorganized. It’s always someone else’s fault that she lost her keys or loses her temper.
She’s like your little brother who loved to play the blame game and point his fingers at you. She’s an excuse making momma and she simply wears you out with her excuses.
So, there you have it. Five types of mentors that drive mentees crazy.
The mentor/mentee relationship is really such a beautiful thing. It is meant to strengthen both the mentor and the mentee. It’s a pouring out and a drinking in. Two women doing life together. Maybe not forever. Perhaps just for a season. 
But it’s a journey the two take together. Laughing together, crying together, praying together and doing life together.
That, sweet sister, is what mentoring is all about.
And when it works, there’s nothing like it.
And when it doesn’t, it’s not time to give up on the wonders of a Titus 2 relationship. It’s just time to find a new Titus 2 mentor or time for the Titus 2 mentor to be a woman whose footprints are worth following.
Do you have any mentoring horror stories? Would you be a mentor that would fall in any of the 5 categories above? How can you make sure you’re leaving footprints worth following?

 

Ten Ways to Share the Heart of Jesus Is The Gift this Christmas

For God so loved the world that He gave….
JOHN 3:16 NIV
1. Give the Gift of Encouragement. Instead of writing letters to Santa, have children
write letters to someone who needs encouragement this Christmas. For example,
soldiers, nursing home residents, or hospital patients.
2. Give the Gift of Hope. Adopt a needy family in your church or community. Bless
them with Christmas presents or a special dinner.
3. Give the Gift of Joy. Find simple ways to bring a smile to someone’s face during
the Christmas season. For example, pay for the car behind you at a drive-through.
4. Give the Gift of Kindness. Offer your time or energy to someone in need. Hang
lights for an elderly neighbor or wrap presents for an overwhelmed new mom.
5. Give the Gift of Words. Speak words of affirmation and affection to your friends
and family. Take time to write a special note in your Christmas cards.
6. Give the Gift of Faith. Read the Christmas story with your family. Talk about
what Christ’s birth means for your lives today.
7. Give the Gift of Peace. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, set
aside one “silent night” to be at home. Light a fire, curl up with a cup of hot
chocolate, and take a few moments to rest.
8. Give the Gift of Hospitality. Invite someone to your home who may not have
family close by or host an open house for your neighbors.
9. Give the Gift of Time. Help nursing home residents write Christmas letters, offer
to baby-sit so busy parents can go on a date, or spend a few hours at a shelter.
10. Give the Gift of Love.

www.JesusistheGift.com

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27 NLT)
I have a precious adopted grandson, and in light of November being National Adoption Awareness Month, I thought it fitting to talk about this little guy. Seven years ago, he became legally ours on National Adoption Day. We can’t imagine our family without Brandon, and I try not to focus on what his life would have been like had his teenage mother not put him up for adoptionor even worse–had she availed herself to a morning after pill or aborted her baby. That God gave this precious miracle of life to our family continues to amaze me and bless our family. You can see pictures of him in “Grammie’s Corner” below.
             
In  Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey, daughter Kim, Brandon’s “forever mommy,” shares her infertility story and the “ministry of adoption.” Daughter Shannon shares her journey to parenthood through Invitro. This book doesn’t advocate adoption as the only solution to the heartache of infertility. It explores the many ways God opens hearts and homes to becoming a family and offers support and encouragement from couples who understand the heartache of infertility.  
Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? can also help a woman with an unwanted pregnancy understand how adoption is a gift to her child and to a couple longing to give her baby a home.
             
However, even though this book continues to win awards, it’s been difficult to get the Christian community to embrace it as a resource for hurting couples to find solace and comfort. The publisher received this type of reception: “Several of the media we contacted for the book seemed hesitant to broach the subject of infertility since it is such a personal issue, although a very important one.”
             
Many couples submitting their stories for the book said they felt alone and ignored, even in the church–especially in the church. In the opening Scripture God calls us to help orphans get a family. God certainly wasn’t afraid to talk about the infertility of Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and others. When did we decide it was “too personal” to help hurting couples? Christians who have been adopted into the family of God and know the biblical infertility stories, should be the first to resonate with these brokenhearted couples.
             
As you give thanks around your tables this Thanksgiving for the blessings and the families God has given you, who do you need to reach out to who longs for a family of their own–both the orphans and the empty-arms parents?
             
Thank you for your continued support of About His Work Ministries. I thank God for each of you…  
Happy Thanksgiving

SHINE ON!


In my last month’s newsletter, I asked the question: Today, I think you would agree that the Word of God is shamed, maligned, slandered, reviled, and blasphemed. And my challenge to Christian readers and audiences is this: What are you doing to keep the Word of God glorified, sanctified, revered, and honored?
I received the following inspiring response:
Janet,
Thank you for the newsletter and words of encouragement!!!
What am I doing to honor and glorify God and keep Him in the forefront???
SHINE ON! That’s what!
I have put together a group of women from all over the Treasure Valley [Boise, Idaho area] that meets at a neutral location; we call it SHINE ON, which stands for Share, Help, Inspire, Nurture & Encourage Others Now.
Each month we have a guest speaker who comes and shares how God has worked in her life to grow her through some kind of trial or difficulty. Last month our speaker spoke about how God worked in her life when she learned her husband of 13 yrs had decided he was gay and was having an affair with another man.
They are no longer married and her new husband walks with the Lord and loves her dearly, but in the beginning she thought she could change her first husband and she could control her life, her marriage and her husband. After 5 yrs, she finally gave in and allowed God to work through the shame and the sin to heal her and free her.
Yes, we are talking about the tough stuff here!! Because it is relevant! Little did I know that the gal leading worship that month had a daughter who was living that lifestyle and she had not told any of us because she thought it was an off limits topic in Christian circles. Shame on us! But so freeing for her and another gal who were impacted directly that night. The conversations went on for over an hour afterwards, and I know God used this difficult topic to SHINE ON his children that night!
We also have a guest ministry that we allow to share for a bit each month. Last month is was Destiny Rescue, a ministry that reaches out to those impacted by human trafficking both here and abroad. Another tough topic!
Thank you for your newsletter this month, it is timely and relevant and we DO need to talk about the tough stuff!
In fact, that is the focus of my key topics for my speaking and writing! God allowed my life to be deeply impacted by some very tough stuff and He gave me a voice and a passion to speak up and share with others how God rescued me from some of the taboo topics!
Keep up the great work Janet! I am so thankful to the Lord for bringing you to Idaho! I have desired to have someone like you to hold me accountable even if it is just through a newsletter, for years! Thank you! Please keep it up!!!
Serving Christ,
Raini Bowles

Upcoming month’s event https://www.facebook.com/events/259032330868934/

Heart Choices Today: Understanding the Cry of Infertility

Heart Choices Today: Understanding the Cry of Infertility

Read a great article for those who don’t know what to say to the infertile and for those who are infertile and need to have someone understand their pain.

A Mother’s Day Message from Heaven

My Grace Abounds passed away in March and her father sent me a copy of a birthday letter Grace sent to her Mother and granted me permission to share it with you for Mother’s Day. What a sweet message to her Mom. Grace is now with Jesus and Mom is suffering from Alzheimer’s but both their legacies live on through Grace’s words:

                                                                                                                            March 23, 2003
Dear Mom,

It’s hard to know where to begin telling you what you mean to me, for you grow dearer to me with each passing day. Your birthday is a good time to share my thoughts with you.

You have been not only my Mom, but my friend. You are the keeper of my  dreams and know my deepest thoughts. There are not very many people who can say that about their mother–but I can about you.

Through my battle with cancer you have been the one person who understood what I was going through like no one else. In the hardest times it was your comfort that I needed most and you were there. Your courage and stamina in your own battle set such an example for me.

Your love, generosity and faith in God are monuments and markers of who you are. They have been and continues to be examples I seek to follow and ones that give me the greatest joy.

You and Dad have left a deep imprint on my life and I am so grateful to God for that blessing. One writer has said that “gratitude is the heart’s memory.” My hearts’ memory will always have a special place for you–and it will be full of gratitude.

All my love, Graciela

An Interview to Read

An interview posted today on a blog of the mother of one of the mommies-in-waiting who shares her story in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? 

 Praise God they are now a grandma and mommy but not without a struggle.

Read more at http://wordsalt.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/interview-with-author-janet-thompson/

National Infertility Week April 22-28

 The theme this year is so appropriate “DON’T IGNORE INFERTILITY”. Many of the women in my book Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey expressed the sorrowful complaint that they felt ignored by friends and family and even the church–especially the church.

With 1 in 6 couples experiencing infertility they’re a pretty large part of the population to ignore.

Since you probably know someone struggling with infertility, or maybe you are yourself, here are some things you can do:

Check out this website: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html

Consider giving a copy of my book Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? It’s a book of hope and encouragement from couples who have experienced infertility and can offer perspective and comfort. The book would also make a great gift for a mommy-in-waiting on Mother’s Day, which is the hardest day of the year for her.
http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Cant-Have-Baby-ebook/dp/B007BU1UFG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335242751&sr=8-1

Read the following article to help you know what to say and what not to say to a couple:

Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?
By Janet Thompson, author and speaker
People Say The Darnedest Things!
Your loved ones will say all the wrong things. All of us who have gone through infertility agree on this point.—Laurie, A Mommy-in-Waiting
Dear God,
People keep asking when we’re going to start having children, as if I’m making a conscious decision not to! I try shrugging it off with an answer that we probably will “someday.” Inside, I’m dying. Why are people so insensitive and why do they feel it’s ok to ask something so personal? Everyone seems to think they’re a doctor and they know the answer to my infertility. Then the advice . . . the number one thing everyone seems to say is, “Oh, you just need to relax.” Or “You’re young; you’ve got plenty of time.” UGH!!! Help, God, they’re killing me!
Wounded by Words, Kim
Kim is my precious daughter whose struggle with the heartache of infertility was often intensified by well-meaning—yet wounding—words. Many infertile couples’ stories mention how thoughtless and hurtful people’s comments and advice can be, even in the church—especially in the church. Debbie wrote, “I’ve experienced people in the church say some of the worst things ever to me with every good intention. Probably one of the most insensitive and painful is, ‘Maybe God never meant for you to have children.’”
            You can be sure thoughtless, hurtful comments aren’t from God, who instructs: “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim” (Proverbs 15:4 MSG).
10 Things Not To Say or Do To Someone Experiencing Infertility
I believe in the front of every church directory there should be a list of things that you shouldn’t say to people during times of grief, just like emergency preparedness in the front of the phone book.—Debbie, A Mommy-in-Waiting
Most people don’t mean to be hurtful: they innately want to say and do the right thing. They offer a cliché or something that minimizes your situation or feels patronizing because they’re uncomfortable being around someone suffering. Here are ten helpful tips from Mommies-In-Waiting:
DON’T…                                                                               DO…
1. Talk about people you know with infertility.                    1. Let me talk about mine and listen
2. Tell me God is in control, or has a plan.                            2. Show me God’s love.
3. Tell me to pray harder.                                                      3. Pray for and with me.                     
4. Pity or patronize me.                                                          4. Show compassion.
5. Avoid me. It makes me feel rejected, different.                5. Keep normal contact with me.
6. Tell others, unless you have asked permission.                 6. Honor my privacy.
7. Offer unsolicited advice or suggestions.                            7. Support my choices.
8. Resent how my infertility affects you.                               8. Remember, this is about me.
9. Ask personal questions or give advice.                              9. Curtail curiosity.
10. Assume it’s a “female” problem.                                     10. Respect it’s personal.
10 Suggested Responses for the Infertile Couple
We will speak the truth in love.Ephesians 4:15
Following are frequent unwelcome comments and suggested responses. Non-satirical humor often defrays uncomfortable situations. Your goal isn’t to offend or embarrass the person. The responses shouldn’t be said sarcastically, defensively, or angrily. Use this as an opportunity to be a good witness:
1. “When are you two going to start a family?”
Response: What makes you think we’re not trying?
2. “You just need to relax, take it easy, rest more, or take a vacation.”
Response: Then I might have two problems—no baby and no job!
3. “You aren’t getting any younger!”
Response: Are you fishing for an invitation to my next birthday party?
4. “You’re young, you have plenty of time.”
Response: Time is the one thing we have too much of now.
5. “You should take________”—they name some food, herb, or drug.
Response: I’ll check with my doctor about that.
6. “You should try_______”—they suggest some sexual position.
Response: You mean we’re supposed to have sex?
7. “We need grandchildren.”
Response: We need to be parents first.
8. “There must be some hidden sin in your life.”
Response: Jesus forgave my sins when I became a Christian.
9. “You aren’t praying hard enough.”
Response: Are you offering to pray for us?
10. “If God wanted you to have children, you would.”
Response: Ouch! That hurts.
Remember: Wordskill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose (Proverbs 18:21 MSG).

Excerpts taken from Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey, Janet Thompson, Leafwood Publishers. 

The Rhinestone Cowgirl Shares the Gospel

When asked to speak at our community Cowboy Breakfast Easter Sunday, I was humbled, hesitant, and excited, but I told them I would have to pray about it and know that God really wanted me to speak.
We’ve only lived in the area a year on Palm Sunday and didn’t get to attend the Cowboy Breakfast last year, although I had already told my family I really wanted to come this year, but I had no idea I would be speaking. Maybe helping cook or set up…or maybe just enjoying pancakes by the fire with the family…but perhaps Jesus was asking me to serve in a different way? I prayed about it.
But the awesome thing about living the Christian life is that when we pray, God answers—maybe through reading the Bible, or a sermon, or song, or even movies or TV, this time He did use a big screen.
We were at our kids’ church in Boise, The Pursuit, worshipping and singing when they put this Scripture on the screen Acts 20:24
Acts 20:24 (NLT) But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
 
About His Work Ministries is my writing and speaking ministry and I knew it was a message from the Lord assuring me that my work was to tell —the GOSPEL story and the GOOD NEWS of EASTER! JESUS IS ALIVE!!!
My six-year old granddaughter Katelyn recited John 3:16 and I was so proud of her. That’s her next to me in one of the pictures.

They told me I could dress as a cowgirl, but I only had “duds” from Orange County, Calif where we lived before. So you can see in the pictures that I truly was the Rhinestone Cowgirl. But God used me in a mighty way to share the gospel. Here is what one attendee said:

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your message at the Cowboy Breakfast. It was clearly presented and probably the best explanation that I have heard so that people are not confused about making a commitment to Christ. So often people are afraid to say what is needed because they are concerned about offending their audience. It was important that you were clear on what sin is, how to make a personal commitment. I also received feedback from members of our Vineyard Home Study Group that were pleased that the truth could be so clearly spoken.
Thanks again for the time and effort that you put into preparation for those who needed to hear this message.
I challenge you also with Acts 20:24. Share the Good News of Easter every day!
About His Work,
Janet

 

Rhinestone Cowgirl

When asked to speak at our community Cowboy Breakfast Easter morning, I was humbled, hesitant, and excited, but said I would have to pray about it and know that God really wanted me to speak.
We had lived in the area a year on Palm Sunday and didn’t get to attend the Cowboy Breakfast last year, although I had already told my family I really wanted to come this year, but I had no idea I would be speaking. Maybe helping cook or set up…or maybe just enjoying pancakes by the fire with the family…but perhaps Jesus was asking me to serve in a different way? I prayed about it.
But the awesome thing about living the Christian life is that when we pray, God answers—maybe through reading the Bible, or a sermon, or song, or even movies or TV, this time He did use a big screen.
We were at our kids’ church in Boise, The Pursuit, worshipping and singing when they put this Scripture on the screen Acts 20:24
Acts 20:24 (NLT) But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
 
About His Work Ministries is my writing and speaking ministry and I knew it was a message from the Lord assuring me that my work was to tell —the GOSPEL story and the GOOD NEWS of EASTER! JESUS IS ALIVE!!!
I asked my 6 year old granddaughter Katelyn if she would recite John 3:16 and she did without any hesitation. I was so proud of her!
They had told me I could dress like a cowgirl but all I had were “duds” from when we lived in Orange County California so I had lots of bling–a pink suede jacket with rhinestone buttons, a belt with rhinestone crosses, a rhinestone cross necklace, jeans with flowers and more blink and silver cowgirl boots.
That being said God blessed with a boldness that morning to share the Gospel. Here’s what one attendee had to say:
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your message at the Cowboy Breakfast. It was clearly presented and probably the best explanation that I have heard so that people are not confused about making a commitment to Christ. So often people are afraid to say what is needed because they are concerned about offending their audience. It was import that you were clear on what sin is, how to make a personal commitment. I also received feedback from members of our Vineyard Home Study Group that were pleased that the truth could be so clearly spoken.
Thanks again for the time and effort that you put into preparation for those who needed to hear this message.
About His Work,
Janet