Take Hold of the Faith You Long For By Sharon Jaynes

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Sharon Jaynes is an author/speaker friend of mine with an awesome new book Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go. Move Forward. Live Bold. Sharon shares my passion to mentor women in living faith-filled lives and living boldly for Christ. I know you will enjoy her blog post below where she shares vulnerably that she once was stuck between wanting to live for Christ authentically and not superficially. Isn’t that what we all want? I know I do.

Take Hold of the Faith You Long For

Sharon Jaynes

I was alone, or at least I felt that way. Women huddled in happy clusters chatting about first one thing and then another. Some propped babies on their hips. Others clutched Bibles in their hands.

Most wore smiles on their faces. I wore one too. But it wasn’t a reflection of what was in my heart. The upturned lips were simply the camouflage I wore to blend in—to avoid being found out.

That I wasn’t really all that I was cracked up to be.

What I really wanted to do was run and hide. On the outside I was a well-put-together church mom with cute shoes and snappy jeans, but on the inside I was a little girl cowering in the far recesses of the playground hoping no one would notice me.

What’s wrong with me? I wondered. Why don’t I feel the joy these other women feel? What holds me back from experiencing the confidence and assurance they seem to experience?

Why do I continue to act like the same old me, struggle with the same negative emotions, and wrestle with the same old sins?

I wonder if you’ve ever felt that way?

The problem was I was stuck. Yes, I had professed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I knew I was going to heaven when I left this earth.

But I had a niggling feeling He meant something more than heaven when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? The aerialist swings out, swings back, and then usually on the peak of the third swing he takes hold of another bar or performer.

That’s when the fun begins as backflips, somersaults, and triples twists wow the crowd.

But what if, when the trapeze artist took hold of the second bar, he refused to let go of the first?

He would be left hanging in the middle. Stuck. That would not be the greatest show on earth.

And that’s where many of us spend our lives…stuck…dangling over “life to the full” but never quite letting go of what holds us hostage to a mediocre “less than” faith.

I know it’s where I spent many years…until God challenged me to take hold of the truth and make it mine. Her name was Mary Marshall Young–and older, wiser woman in my church. One day she challenged me to learn about my true identity in Christ.

Then she did something even harder…she challenged me to believe it…to take hold of it and make it mine. And that made all the difference.

The apostle Paul wrote, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).

And in order to take hold and make our own everything that Christ has taken hold of for us and placed in us, we need to let go of everything that keeps us from doing so.

If we would grasp and make our own what Jesus has already done for us, and what He had deposited in us, our lives would look very different than the tepid faith of the average churchgoer.

God’s power, provision, and purposes are for “who so ever will” (Mark 8:34 KJV).

Will what? Will let go of all that holds you back from experiencing the abundant life of the adventurous faith and take hold of truth that makes it so.

So here’s what I’m challenging you to do:

  • Let go of insecurity and take hold of your true identity as a child of God.
  • Let go of the scarcity mentality that says that you’re not enough and take hold of God’s abundant promises that say you have everything you need.
  • Let go of crippling bitterness and take hold of radical forgiveness.
  • Let go of shame-filled condemnation and take hold of grace-filled acceptance.
  • Let go of weak-kneed worry and take hold of sure-footed confidence.
  • Let go of comparison to others and take hold of your God-fashioned uniqueness.
  • Let go of debilitating discouragement and take hold of your next assignment
  • Let go of timid reluctance and take hold of bold believing.

I know that’s a tall order, but I know you can do it. I’m here to help you get there.

It’s what God wants for all of us.

So today, let’s ask ourselves if we’re hanging on to something that God is calling us to let go of. Shame? Resentment? Condemnation? Unbelief? Ingratitude? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? A false sense of who we are?

If He brings something to mind, let it go, move forward, and live bold.

The faith you’ve always longed for is just a decision away.

If you received this blog by email, leave a comment here.

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Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker and author of 20 books, including her latest, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go. Move Forward. Live Bold. Her passion is to mentor women from all walks of life by equipping them to live fully and free in Christ. To learn more visit www.sharonjaynes.com or www.takeholdthebook.com.

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Choosing a Mentor

Kara Tippetts 1_Jen Lints Photography

I was asked to review Kara Tippett’s book, And It Was Beautiful. I knew a little of Kara’s story that she was a young Christian mom of four and author who had lost her battle to breast cancer, but during her valiant fight she blogged her thoughts. Not just about the cancer but what was happening in her life, her thoughts, her struggles, her joys. Being a three-time breast cancer survivor myself, I wondered if it would be too painful for me to read Kara’s book, but it was just the opposite . . . I couldn’t put it down. Yes, it was sad, but her writing seldom made me sad. Instead, I got a chance to meet a very special woman who loved the Lord, her family, her church, and her friends and she left them and us a treasure in her blogs, which were more like having a chat with her.

When I came to the chapter titled “Choosing a Mentor,” I knew I had to share it with you. I received permission to share her words in this blog and in my new book releasing next year: Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Enjoy!

Choosing a Mentor

By Kara Tippett

Apart from the Holy Spirit, it has been the mentors in my life who have made the longest-lasting, deepest impact on who I am as a person. Some mentors were women I specifically asked to mentor me. Some were women who opened their lives wide open for me to watch. But both nurtured new strength in me. Here are a few things that have served me well in finding a mentor.

First, do they love their family well and speak with love and admiration of their husbands? Can these be areas of tension and struggle in a family? Yes, but I look to see if their overall desire is to move toward a spouse and children, and not away.

Second, do they speak vulnerably about weakness, or are they more concerned about appearances? I have found this area to be critical. I struggle to share openly with someone who wants to appear they have it all figured out. I look to see if they are willing to speak openly about where God is challenging them, and are open about themselves without bashing others.

Third, and most important, do they seek Jesus in their moments throughout the day, especially the mundane? Do they see their neediness and weakness, and are they able to be wrong and be corrected by Scripture?

When Jason [her husband] was a youth director, we had the privilege of seeing kids who truly loved Jesus. From that observation, we often sought out their parents. We wanted to sit at their feet, eat at their table, and watch how they did it. I love to watch someone discipline with kindness. I love to watch someone including their children in the events of the home. I love watching someone loving their spouse creatively. And I really love to see women involved in community building. You can receive a lot of mentoring just by watching.

Common interests help as well. I have had mamas show me a craft, women who love to write as well as read, ladies who love to garden, build a fire, and cook, and women who just cannot get enough of their Bibles. I often try to enter the life of a person who might be a good fit as a mentor in a place of common joy. I want my mentors to be my friends, as I want to befriend the women I mentor.

Things to be wary of? Be careful of people who like to gossip. Be willing to be flexible. Mentoring relationships take on so many different looks. Sitting down across from one another with Bibles open every week? That’s an awesome model, but it’s certainly not the only one. Look for someone who will promote freedom in Christ, not tie you up in a load of legalism.

Finally, as you search for a safe place, be a safe place in return. God loves seeing us seeking Him together.

An excerpt from And It Was Beautiful by Kara Tippetts bolding added.

© 2016 Kara Tippetts. And It Was Beautiful is published by David C Cook. All rights reserved. Shared with permission.

If you receive this blog by email, leave a comment here.

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Kara Tippetts’ life was dramatically changed in 2012 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She shared her journey on her popular blog, www.mundanefaithfulness.com. She was the author of The Hardest Peace and the co-author of Just Show Up. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, CO.

And it was Beautiful

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Support National Mentoring Month

Januray Naitonal Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month logo, designed by Milton Glaser

As I prepared to write this week’s blog post, I opened up my new 2016 calendar and there was my reminder that January is National Mentoring Month! I only became aware of this designation recently, even though it has been a nationally endorsed month since President George W. Bush proclaimed it in 2002. While the focus is on mentoring youth, as Christians we know we’re also to mentor those spiritually younger than us. The verses best known to motivate us to pour into someone else are Titus 2: 1-6:

Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. The Message

In my new book releasing February 9, Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I quote the above passage from The Message as a reminder that it is our job as Christians to reach out to the next generation and help them set a moral compass that leads straight to the throne of Christ. I often wonder how many Christians actually take this command from the Lord to heart. How many realize that the fate of our nation depends on the spiritual maturity of the next generation in our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools . . . ? If we’re not mentoring, who will do the job? Answer: the secular world!

As much as we complain about the current administration, and I agree there is much to be concerned about, President Obama has continued to endorse National Mentoring month, as has both chambers of the United States Congress. The campaign’s media partners have included ABC, CBS, Fox News, and NBC; Comcast; the National Association of Broadcasters; Time Warner; and Viacom.

Shouldn’t we, the united body of Christ, also support National Mentoring Month?

Here is an excerpt from this year’s presidential proclamation recognizing January as National Mentoring Month:

At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.

By sharing their own stories and offering guidance and advice, mentors can instill a sense of infinite possibility in the hearts and minds of their mentees, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, nothing is beyond their potential. Whether simply offering a compassionate ear or actively teaching and inspiring curiosity, mentors can play pivotal roles in young peoples’ lives. When given a chance to use their talents and abilities to engage in their communities and contribute to our world, our Nation’s youth rise to the challenge. They make significant impacts in their communities and shape a brighter future for coming generations.

I smiled when I read this proclamation, both for the championing of mentoring and that the President of the United States used the word “mentee.” When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and wrote Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry, many people told me mentee was not a word. I think Woman to Woman Mentoring put mentee in the dictionary!

Thank Your Mentor Day

Thank you mentor women

As part of National Mentoring Month, a day is set aside to celebrate Thank Your Mentor Day. This year, it’s January 21, 2016. A day to thank and honor mentors who have encouraged and guided you, and had a lasting, positive impact on your life.

In Forsaken God?, I encourage readers to remember spiritual mentors and the way God used these men and women to shape their lives and then to imitate those mentors by mentoring whoever God puts in their path:

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Here are some ways the National Mentoring Month Campaign suggests for honoring your mentors:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media.
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

To add a spiritual component to National Mentoring Month, consider:

  1. Start a Mentoring Ministry in your church.
  2. Become a spiritual mentor to someone spiritually younger, not necessarily chronologically younger.
  3. If your church has a mentoring ministry, serve in the ministry.
  4. My next book is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Honor your mentor or mentee by sending me a story about your mentoring relationship to include in the book. info@womantowomanmentoring.com.
  5. Pray for God to send you a mentor.
  6. Every month in About His Work Ministries’ Newsletter, we feature a Church Mentoring Ministry. Send me something you would like to share about your mentoring ministry to help other churches. info@womantowomanmentoring.com
  7. Start 2016 being a spiritual mentor, or finding a mentor.
  8. Remember that mentoring is part of parenting.

I’m looking forward to what God will have me share with you and perhaps mentor you in 2016. My “job” in About His Work Ministries isn’t to have a following, but to point others to Jesus.

Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year

Another post you might enjoy reading is How to Mentor in a World Forsaking God.

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Effective Mentors Ask Questions

two women mentoring

Kathy Collard Miller and her husband Larry Miller are the authors of a book I recently endorsed, Never Be The Same. I asked the Millers if they would share with you how some of the principles they discuss in their book could be applied to mentoring. I was delighted when I saw that they chose the topic of asking questions because that is the same advice and training I give to mentors. Instead of lecturing or trying to get the mentee to see things our way, questions can help the mentee arrive at her own conclusions. In my Bible study, Face-to-Face with Naomi and Ruth: Together for the Journey, Session Three, Day Four is on “Asking Questions.” This method works well for parents too.

Effective Mentors Ask Questions

by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller

One of the many goals of mentoring is helping our mentee identify her motive for the choices she makes. All of us react, respond, and choose based on our desires and wants, or what we think will prevent emotional or physical pain. Helping our mentee to recognize motives is a challenge.

We are lay-counselors, and as we help people make wise and godly choices, we’ve noticed that long-range change occurs with a heart transformation, not just mental assent. We have also been counseled and mentored, and appreciated the counselor or mentor who asked questions that helped us identify our motives and what we hoped to gain.

Why We Wrote Never Ever Be the Same

We wrote Never Ever Be the Same, to help people discover why they make the choices they do. Rather than encourage them to grit their teeth and vow to be better, we want them to have a deep spiritual change where they trust in God—not self-effort.

Asking Questions More than Giving Advice

Asking questions rather than giving advice helps your mentee to get in touch with her motivations. If you only give advice, your mentee could depend upon you for her power rather than having a heart for God. It can be difficult to think of the questions to ask.

Although we don’t provide a list of questions in our book, we do give examples of how we use questions with those we mentor.

Questions to Use While Mentoring

Here are some questions we ask. These aren’t in any order, but use according to what the mentee is telling you. Then ask more questions based upon the mentee’s answers or response:

  1. What did the other person’s reaction seem to say about you?
  2. What if you didn’t keep doing that? What do you fear would happen?
  3. What is God inviting you into through allowing these circumstances?
  4. What would you like to say to that person who hurt you?
  5. Why do you believe that’s true when other people have told you it’s not?
  6. What were you hoping or longing for?
  7. What do you feel is lacking in your life?
  8. What does that choice provide for you?
  9. What were you saying about yourself during the time that hurtful thing happened?
  10. How does your behavior leave out God in your life?
  11. How does that behavior protect you from some kind of harm or pain?
  12. Everything is a choice. Why are you choosing that destructive behavior: to gain something or protect yourself from something?
  13. What does your choice say about who God is?
  14. What does your behavior or choice indicate is your belief about God, life, or other people?

Learning to use these questions may take time. Asking them may not bring instant change to your mentee. But the Holy Spirit can use the mentee’s new sense of self-awareness to reveal wrongly motivated thinking and choices. That kind of heart transformation will have long-range benefits.

Share a question that you have found useful in mentoring that the Holy Spirit used to bring a heart change in your mentee.

Leaving any comment here will include you in the drawing for a free copy of Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller.

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Kathy Collard Miller is the author of 50 books and an international speaker. Kathy and her husband, Larry, have been married 44 years and he is a retired police lieutenant who speaks and writes. Larry and Kathy often speak together. They live in Southern California, and have two grown children and one grandson. Visit them at www.LarryAndKathy.com and www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

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Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today (Leafwood Publishers) offers Christians hope that they can change their destructive patterns of behavior through identifying their sinful self-protective strategies and then being empowered to trust God instead. Their book includes biblical principles, insightful stories, and helpful instruction. It also provides discussion questions for individuals or groups.

Never Ever Be the Same is available at your local Christian bookstore and in both print and digital versions. Even though you may find Never Ever Be the Same can only be pre-ordered on some online bookstores, if you pre-order, your cost may be less when they mail it to you.

Amazon

Christianbook.com

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Mentoring is Not an Option

This past weekend, I had the honor of sharing the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry with churches in Sedalia, Missouri. I’ve shared this message hundreds of times throughout the United States and Canada, and I’m as excited and passionate about encouraging and equipping women to mentor, as I was when I first heard God’s call to “feed My sheep” nineteen years ago. The passion never fades—the excitement of telling a new group of women about the blessings of following God’s instructions for mentoring never wanes.

Mentoring is The Job Description for Christians 

When churches call and ask for advice on how to encourage their women to become involved in a mentoring relationship, I say: Take your women to Titus 2:1-8 where the Lord is giving a command to all Christian men and women. He says for spiritually older men to teach the spiritually younger men, and the women to do the same.

Next, I suggest that they point out that there are no qualifiers in that passage. The verses don’t say: If you have time, or if you feel like it, or if you can fit it into your schedule, or if you aren’t doing another ministry, or if you don’t work, or if you feel comfortable with it, or if you feel qualified, or if you feel called…..

They simply say for Christians to just “DO IT”—no options!

In Titus 2:5 and 8, Paul emphasizes why it’s so important for spiritually older men and women to teach the spiritually younger: “so that no one will malign the word of God” (v 5) or “have nothing bad to say about us” (v 8). But today the culture is maligning the Word of God and bad-mouthing Christians because we’ve stopped following Gods instructions in this passage.

God wants the spiritually mature to help newer believers learn how to become godly role models reflecting how His people live and have relationships and marriages so others would seek Christ through us.

Christian living should help rather than hinder the spread of the gospel.

There’s A World of Hurt

Many young women today are struggling in their roles in marriage, as mothers, as friends, as employees, as women in the church. Where are the women who will selflessly reach out and “show them the ropes” of living a life in Christ?

I’ve heard the sad testimony of women who walked out of a crusade or revival meeting or the church service where they accepted Christ, and went right back into their old lifestyle. One woman told me she even went to a party with her worldly friends the very night she accepted Christ! She didn’t know any different. Many new believers backslide and go years with Christ in their heart but not in their head. Their stories have a common theme…

            I know I accepted Christ. I asked Him into my heart, but I didn’t know what that meant. My old familiar life and friends and unsaved family were all still there, and there was no one from this “new life” that would help me learn how to live it. It just seemed easier to go on as I had before. Only now I had a lot of confusion, guilt, and conviction in my life, which made me feel even worse than before I accepted Christ.

Haven’t you heard these stores yourself? We would never let our babies out on their own with no direction as soon as they could walk and talk. Yet, we let these new baby Christians go out the doors of our churches straight into the world, without a hand to hold to keep them safe until they’re ready to be spiritually on their own. This is tragic when there’s a wealth of maturity in the women of our churches. Women who have so much to offer from walking with Christ, and could help these younger Christian women mature in the Lord.

Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness

Taking the time to reach out to a spiritually younger woman is a selfless act of giving and ministry. Not to preach, but teach. To let your life—with all the wealth of good and bad experiences—be a role model that Christ was with you through it all. There are women in your church who desperately need a woman who will honor the command given to each of us in Titus 2. Women who will teach how to: study God’s Word, be a Christian wife and mother, manage a home and family, deal with temptation or crisis . . . be a “lady of the Lord.”

  • Who is assuming responsibility to transmit biblical values to these women?
  • Who is listening to their questions and their concerns and guiding them to the Book with all the answers and the One who fulfills all our needs?

Blessings of Being a Titus 2 Woman

Many of you know the blessings of accepting this Titus 2 call and command from the Lord. When we make an investment in a spiritually younger woman, it enriches our own lives, the sense of connectedness and shepherding in our church families deepens, society benefits, and we honor God’s Word.

Jesus said:  “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ, will certainly not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41).

You can’t out-give God. As we share our lives with another sister-in-Christ, our own life and our church will receive immeasurable blessings.

If you’ve experienced the miracles and blessings of being in a Titus 2 mentoring relationship, please share your testimony with others who may have questions or may be hesitant to mentor. If you’ve been a mentor, please pray about making Titus 2:3-5 a permanent and ongoing part of your Christian walk.

If you’ve grown spiritually as a mentee, God will put someone in your life who is right where you once were and could use your encouragement and mentoring.

One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:4

clip_image002_005-245x250To start a Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry in your  church:

Woman to Woman Mentoring How To Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry

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Will You Be My Spiritual “Big Sis”? Guest Post By Pat Ennis

Our guest blogger today, Pat Ennis author of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook , confirms my passion and mission to encourage churches to be more intentional about applying Titus 2:3-5 in the lives of the women in their congregations. We often think of a mentor as a spiritual mom, but Pat offers the perspective of a mentors being a spiritual big sister—

 

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My commitment to mentoring comes from my early years as a young professional when there was an absence of older women who were willing to lend a helping hand. Many offered criticism, few offered help. I vowed that if I survived, I would be willing to help others on their spiritual and professional journeys. The young women whom I have mentored serve our Lord throughout the world. I love the times when I answer the phone to find one of them on the other end of the line. Their personal visits are always a blessing and their e-mails, cards, and letters often arrive to encourage and minister to me on challenging days. I am looking forward to our reunion in heaven and count it a privilege to be “the older woman” in their lives!

The strategy outlined in Titus 2:3-5 provides the biblical foundation for understanding the mentoring relationship, while the book of Ruth details an example of its application.  However, despite the fact that Titus 2:3-5 is an instruction, not a suggestion, to Christian women . . . few are willing to mentor.  Excuses range from, “I don’t have time” to “no one cares what I have to say”.

A Revealing Survey 

The “Perceptions of Homemaking Study,” which established the foundation for The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook, revealed the twenty-first-century woman’s knowledge of—and ability to perform successfully—life skills commonly associated with the management of the home. In the study, 2,315 respondents completed a 30-item survey. Each respondent could list four skills to complete this statement: The homemaking skills many Christian women lack are. . . .

The 4,599 responses revealed that many younger Christian women lack the homemaking skills of cooking, sewing, organization, time management, hospitality, and cleaning.

Women who would be considered “older women” in their churches (35 and above) comprised 62.9% (1,459) of the respondents. They overwhelmingly replied that they are confident in their homemaking skills. However, as they responded to the open-ended questions, the women expressed concern for the lack of biblical character and practical skills possessed by the younger Christian women (15-34 in age) they encounter.

A Break in the Mentoring Cycle

The results suggest a break in the circuit: he Titus 2:3-5 model is being ignored in our evangelical cycle of women’s ministry. The survey results pose a thought-provoking question: Have the younger women become less teachable or have the older women failed to teach?

Seeing answers, I spoke with the editor of the Biblical Womanhood Blog to discuss how the Titus 2:3-5 passage can be practically applied to a mentor/mentee relationship. A gifted, well-educated young woman in her mid-twenties, she provided some insight to what comprises a meaningful mentoring relationship. She commented that in her opinion a mentor is like having a “big sister” who is willing to make a life-to-life relational investment—nurturing, involved, invested, and a willingness to walk with you through “your journey”.

Probing a bit deeper I asked where the “spiritual big sis” draws the line between being interested and intrusive. I so appreciate her suggestions:

  • Ask questions rather than make demands.
  • Serve instead of control.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to mentor.
  • Be an available voice.
  • Avoid perfectionism. The scriptures challenge us toward excellence. Perfectionism is God’s responsibility. That means the mentor needs to be willing to share her “mess ups” so she doesn’t give the impression she walks on water.

Formal or Informal Mentoring

I believe that mentoring relationships can be either formal or informal and have some practical suggestions for each to share with you.

Formal Mentoring Suggestions

  • Reading and discussing a Christian women’s book together (for example, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss, Loving God with all Your Mind by Elizabeth George, or my book with Lisa Tatlock, Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God).
  • Completing a study like Janet Thompson’s Face-to-Face Bible study series, written for mentors and mentees to do together.
  • Reading and discussing a commentary on a book of the Bible (such as Titus).
  • Memorizing Scripture or keeping a prayer journal and then spending time talking and praying together each week.

Informal Mentoring Suggestions

  • Discussing questions raised by the younger woman (regarding relationships, skills, or life experiences).
  • Working on projects together such as planning events or holidays to learn practical skills in management (set goals then work together to accomplish them).
  • Simply spending time together talking and letting the younger woman see your life and family.
  • Sharing your knowledge about practical home management (menu planning, cleaning house, or paying the bills).

Whether formal or informal, “The Seasons of Mentoring Cycle” begin when younger and older women regularly spend time together.

Pat Ennis is a distinguished professor of Homemaking and Director of Homemaking Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. She is a speaker and author, and her most recent release is The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook with Dorothy Patterson (Crossway, March 2013).

Christian Homemaker's Handbook

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Mentor From Your Mess

Kathy McDaniel and me

Kathy and Janet in Colorado

I saw the following post on the Facebook page of a dear long-time friend of the family. Kathy is a mom weathering through a difficult and long divorce. I asked to share her sage words of wisdom with my readers because she describes lived-out mentoring.

Kathy said absolutely and prays that her sharing will help many others!

God doesn’t allow us to go through difficult circumstances just to build our own character. As we experience His faithfulness in all situations, He wants us to share where our strength comes from with someone on a similar journey.

My passion is to help other women understand that mentoring is simply—Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness—my tagline for living the Christian life. Kathy gets that. I hope you do too!

Kathy’s Facebook Post with editorial review:

Reach Out and Touch Someone

I continue to hear more and more stories of women in the midst of divorce or separation, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, and the victims of financial “money moving.” If you know someone going through this, please reach out to her. Let her know you care and that you’re there for her.

Pray consistently for her and her children! I can’t tell you how isolating it can be when your world is crashing down: you’re bruised and battle scarred, scared, and trying to be strong for your kids. It’s so easy to isolate because you have nothing left to give; but that’s when you need others to hold you up, pray for you, and bring you a Costco pizza so you remember to eat and feed your kids.

Don’t Let Anyone Walk Through Difficulty Alone

I never would have made it through without my family, friends, and church family, huddling around me and lifting me up in prayer. They wouldn’t let me isolate—even when I tried—and I am so blessed because of it. The numbers of women walking through this battle is staggering, and we need to make sure they don’t walk alone! And if you know a dad in this situation, reach out to him. The numbers aren’t as great, but the pain is just as deadly!

Honor Faithful Love

My heart aches when I see so many families torn apart by infidelity, abuse, porn, and arrogance. To those with a faithful spouse who keeps walking with you in the middle of life’s chaos, hold him/her close. Treasure them, pray for them!

Adopt a broken family into your hearts. Let their kids see a healthy marriage—they need to know it’s possible.

The First Step in Healing is Helping

For those who have walked the broken road and survived, share your story, wisdom, failures, hugs . . . as God leads you. Offer hope to those who can’t see past today! God allows us to go through trials because He has a greater purpose than we can see. One of those purposes is to comfort those who are on a similar journey. You understand what they are dealing with, when no one else can. You know how to pray for them. You know how to help them avoid things that you didn’t avoid. Guide them through the deep waters so that one day they can guide someone else.

Most importantly, point them to the ultimate Guide: Jesus Christ!

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Kathy is living out my paraphrase of Titus 2:3-5: Teach another woman what you’ve been taught so she can someday teach what you taught her . . .

Read more of Janet’s thoughts on mentoring.

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“Organic” Mentoring. . . Say What?

My 9 yr-old granddaughter and I are studying together Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha

My 9 yr-old granddaughter and I are studying together Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha

The first time I heard “organic” used in the same sentence with “mentoring” in the church, I was curious and cautious. I wondered: Say what? How’s that working for you? How many women in your church connect “organically” into a mentoring relationship and how does the word “organic” apply in the church?

Synonyms for “organic” in Roget’s Super Thesaurus are:  inherent, intrinsic, innate, native, natural—untouched by man. So using the term “organic” for mentoring implies that mentoring relationships will just happen naturally in the church with no outside help. Yet, when I do Woman to Woman Mentoring trainings on how to formally develop a mentoring ministry in your church and ask the audience how many see mentoring happening naturally in their churches—spiritually younger women asking spiritually older women to mentor them, or vice versa—they respond, negative.

What Does The Bible Say?

Perhaps a few mentoring relationships do develop “organically,” but the majority of women in churches do not naturally, or “organically,” live out Titus 2:3-5, where we are instructed as Christian women to:

 Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

I am sure that Paul, the author of the Book of Titus, expected that women would naturally follow his admonition, and maybe they did in that day, but today, by their own admission, most women don’t have the desire, energy, interest, or feel they have the time to apply these Scriptures “organically.” Common concerns are thinking that they don’t know enough to mentor and fear of rejection.

My passion is to help women understand the biblical mandate in Titus 2:3-5 to mentor each other and to cultivate a culture of mentoring in our churches. But this takes work—for the women’s ministry director and the women she shepherds. In today’s culture, our inherent, intrinsic, innate, natural,—organic if you will—bent is to take care of our own needs and those of our immediate families.

Organic Takes Effort

Organic certainly has a place in gardening, and my husband and I have striven to eat organically produced foods since my first diagnosis of breast cancer twelve years ago. But “man” touches organic gardens; they don’t just happen naturally or innately. Organic produce takes time, energy, and effort to grow and cultivate without chemicals, and hence, the higher price in the market. Organic gardens don’t sprout up and grow inherently or intrinsically—they need an overseer, someone who plants the seeds, waters, weeds, watches over them to make sure bugs and weather don’t destroy, harvests, nurtures, and cares for the garden.

And here’s my point: so do mentoring relationships and mentoring ministries. Very few ministries take place organically in a church—the music ministry doesn’t organically come together Sunday morning to lead worship without practice, leading, and direction. Children’s programs don’t just spring up organically on Sunday morning without preparation, planning, and supervision. The pastor doesn’t get up in the pulpit and preach whatever organically comes to his mind that morning—he has put in research, energy, effort, planning and study time to prepare his message. People don’t organically become Christians—our natural or native selves are sinful and we must intentionally be born-again.

Rather than using the buzzword “organic,” I propose we think intentional. Intentionally cultivate Titus 2:3-5 in your church, and nurture One generation will commend your works to another, they will tell of your might acts” Psalm 145:4. Help the women learn how to share intentionally their life experiences and God’s faithfulness and help connect and nurture them in mentoring relationships. I guarantee the women in your churches will be “organically” blessed when you have an intentional mentoring ministry—as expressed in this email I received recently from a mentee:

Hi Janet,

About 15 years ago, I attended a Woman to Woman mentoring coffee at Saddleback Church and was matched into a mentoring relationship with Ellie Swain. I just wanted you to know what a blessing that was. I moved to Arizona, and Ellie moved to Arkansas, but we visit each other and talk on the phone nearly every week to encourage each other in our walk with Jesus.

Janet, you made a difference in our lives. Thank you!

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Mentoring: It’s a Beautiful Thing!

I am thrilled to introduce my guest today on the Monday Morning Blog. Stephanie Shott is the founder of  The M.O.M. Initiative, and I am on the Mentor Mom’s Team. Stephanie and I share the same heart and passion for mentoring, and we have walked many of the same journeys. When we met last March at the Mentor Moms Team Retreat, it was as if I was hearing myself speak and looking in the mirror 18 years ago when God first gave me the call to “Feed My sheep”.

Stephanie is the age I was when I started Woman to Woman Mentoring and I’ve often asked God who was going to carry on my legacy of helping women understand Titus 2:3-5 and apply it to their lives. I know it was a God-thing that put Stephanie and me together across the miles. Stephanie lives in Florida and I’m in Idaho…miles apart in distance…but oh so close in Spirit and love for Jesus! Here’s Stephanie…..

______________________________

As the sun began to sneak a peek through the horizontal lines of my mini blinds, I was reminded that another hectic day awaited me. It wasn’t easy being an early bird and a night owl in the same skin, but as a single mom who was struggling to be all and do all, I didn’t have a choice.

Each day held its own basket full of burdens for a girl who wore too many hats and didn’t realize the significance of her role as a mother. I was a single mom without Christ, without a clue, and without a mentor.

As the years passed, I married, and not long after that I became a Christian. Everything changed except for the fact that I still didn’t have a mentor and I barely had a clue.

That was twenty-five years ago and as I reflect back on the seasons of my life, I can’t help but wonder where all the mentors were when I was raising my children. I remember looking up to several women in the church but was somehow unable to wiggle my way under their wing.

Occasionally, I noticed older women walking through a season of life with a younger woman and couldn’t help but think, “What a beautiful thing!”

Perhaps I wasn’t trying hard enough. Maybe they just didn’t notice my need – but I was definitely in need of their words of wisdom as I walked through those important days of motherhood.

But times have changed and while many women still struggle with the whole mentoring thing, there seems to be a resurgence of women who understand the Titus 2 mandate is not only a calling to fulfill but it’s packed with the purpose of leaving a legacy of faith.

The tide is turning and Titus 2 seems to be gaining ground in the hearts of women on both sides of the mentor equation. Women are not only noticing their own need for a mentor, but those who are older are rising up to make a mark on the next generation.

  • It’s a beautiful thing to see women mentor other women through various seasons of life.
  • It’s a beautiful thing to hear how one woman has helped a young college student successfully sort through the decisions that lie before her.
  • It’s a beautiful thing to see a woman be a shoulder to cry on and a heart to listen while a younger woman walks through a painful place in her life.
  • It’s a beautiful thing to hear how a single mom who was struggling to be all and do all found a friend who was older and a bit wiser, and who was willing to step in and help her through those trying times.
  • It’s a beautiful thing to see a sea of women who understand that mentors matter and are now ready and willing to take on that very important role.

When I started The M.O.M. Initiative, I wasn’t sure how women were going to respond. My experience in the 80’s left me wondering if our culture has somehow become so isolated that women wouldn’t even consider mentoring. But what I have found is the opposite is true.

Women are not only longing to be mentored, but mentors are longing to step into their God-given Titus 2 roles and make a difference for such a time as this. Seeing women mentoring others to leave a legacy of faith and change the world one life at a time…well, that truly is a beautiful thing!

Stephanie Shott is the founder of The M.O.M. Initiative

Leading Women to Live Full, Fearless and Faithful Lives
Founder of The M.O.M. Initiative
Author of: Ecclesiastes: Understanding What Matters Most

 

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40 Years of Love!

“I’m sorry, but you’ll never have children.” Those were the doctor’s words to me at a post-op visit after surgery for a ruptured ovarian cyst. “Your ovaries look like those of a 90 year-old woman.” I was a twenty year-old, newly engaged college student. My life was over. Or so I thought.

After three years of marriage, I was thrilled to hear another doctor congratulate me: “You’re pregnant!” My mother called it a miracle, but I just wanted to be like any normal woman who could get pregnant and have a baby.

The last week of pregnancy, when my baby was a week overdue, everyone kept calling to see if I was “still home.” I enjoyed every moment of those 9 months and one week, and even steeled myself through a natural, long delivery, but nothing could prepare me for what it would feel like to hold my baby girl—instant, unconditional love.

I was a mom at last! But I had no concept of the life-changing responsibility I was undertaking or the importance of my being an exemplary role model for her. After all, she was just an infant and I would have so many years to work out all the details of mothering.

Where did those years go? This week, February 26, my baby girl, Kimberly Michele, turns 40 and she is a mother herself of three precious children. I remember the day I turned 40 and it doesn’t seem that long ago.

Kim and I didn’t have the life journey I anticipated upon first looking into her dark brown eyes. When she was only 2 years-old, her dad and I divorced, and I would spend the next seventeen years as a single mom juggling motherhood and a career. To the outside world, I did a great job as I moved up the career ladder of success; but as I moved further into the world and father away from the Jesus I asked into my heart at eleven, I role modeled the world’s ways to Kim.

Kim loved our life and all that I was able to provide her, even though she often cried that she missed me, as I headed off on another business trip. But we had time, right? She was still young and eighteen years is a long time…. I’ll make up to her the time we’ve been apart.

But in a blink of an eye, she was sixteen and dating. Then within moments, she was nineteen and declaring she was going off to college to live with her boyfriend, and she didn’t care what I had to say about it. I had recently rededicated my life to the Lord and was now trying to tell her this lifestyle was wrong, but she wasn’t buying it.

I mistakenly thought that when I changed my life and returned to God, she would follow right behind me. Wrong! That’s when the Lord assured me that, yes, I had let the first nineteen years of her life slip by without including Him in the parenting, but it wasn’t over yet. And so I began praying—daily, biblically, expectantly, persistently, sacrificially, unceasingly, and thankfully—as I describe in the first seven chapters of my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter.

I’d like to say that she instantly changed her ways, but it would be another six years of daily praying before she returned to me and to the Lord.

The Lord graciously restored the years the locust had eaten. I had the opportunity to do what I should have done from the day she was born: mentor her in how to be a godly woman. Today, I am so proud of the woman she has become. We’re now speaking together as “Two About His Work,” and she’s giving her testimony in a few weeks at her MOPS group.

Even through the difficult years, my love for Kim never faltered. She knew I didn’t condone her behavior, but neither did I condemn her. Our relationship has endured and grown stronger in spite of divorce, single parenthood, a traveling mom, both our prodigal years, my remarriage and blending a new family, my breast cancer, her infertility, and all the trials and joys of life.

I thought I would feel terribly old the day she turned 40; but instead, I feel blessed with the 40 years God has given me to love my precious daughter, and I’m grateful that the work He has done in my life will carry on through the work He is doing in her life. She’s my legacy, and I have given her the most valuable of inheritances: belief in Jesus Christ. 40 years is nothing in light of spending eternity together.

Mentoring Words to Moms:

  • Are you the woman today you want your daughter to become?  You’re the closest role model and mentor your daughter has.
  • It’s never too early to pray daily for your children. Pray for them before you have a problem.
  • Praying personalized Scripture—God’s Word back to Him—keeps you praying God’s will and not your own.
  • Enjoy every day of your children’s lives—they never get younger and neither to do you. Make each day count.

Janet-and-Kim

My daughter Kim and I speak together as Two About His Work.

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