I was at Ace Hardware making copies with my 3-year-old, now 16-year-old, when an older lady asked what I was copying. She was waiting in line behind me with a large stack of papers. I explained I taught scrapbooking classes and my copies were for an upcoming class. She became excited and asked if I would teach her to scrapbook. I left Ace Hardware with a new customer, not realizing God had just answered a three-year-old prayer request.
Janice became more than a scrapbooking friend, she was my first official mentor. The stack of papers she was waiting in line to copy were Bible study handouts. Soon she was coming to my home every Thursday to lead me in Kay Arthur’s Precept Upon Precept Bible studies. She encouraged me to pray and study the Word daily, and she held me accountable.
I was not a new believer. I gave my heart to Jesus years before the fateful meeting with Janice. When I left the workplace to stay at home with our first child, my heart cry was to be used of God. I began praying for a mentor. I needed someone to show me how to be a godly wife, mother, and friend. For three years I prayed. Then I met Janice at the copy machine.
God has a way of introducing mentors into our lives in unexpected ways. I expected a woman to arrive on my doorstep and say, “God told me to mentor you.” Instead when I wasn’t looking, she appeared. I used to become frustrated when reading about the importance of mentors. I would think: Yes, but where are they?
It is easier than one may think to find a mentor. Looking back, mentors were all around me; I just did not recognize them.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Finding a mentor is as easy as watching women at church and noticing their attitudes, behaviors, how they talk and interact with others. I recall a former pastor’s wife, Gloria. She did not speed through church, trying to get out the door as quickly as possible. Gloria was interested and showed it by always listening and showing true interest in others. She was also a model of a godly wife and mother.
On the other end of the spectrum, notice behaviors you do not want to imitate. I saw a woman once yell at her husband in the church foyer because he had not picked up the children from the nursery. On another occasion I listened in shock as someone shared in a class of men and women all the personal faults of her spouse. Both situations have served as examples of how I do not want to treat my husband and children.
Use Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 to guide you as you look for women who are living godly lives. Take note of godly behavior–and keep in mind others are watching you too.
Is It My Responsibility?
An age-old question is: do I ask someone or do they ask me? Either way works, but keep in mind you are the one in need. Do not wait for someone to show up at your door–step out in faith and ask! It isn’t a legally binding contract. Women tend to make the process harder than it has to be.
Some mentoring relationships, such as the one I had with Janice, may be formal. Most of the time, mentoring is done over a cup of coffee or on the phone. I remember when Loi and I first became friends. I would call and ask her cooking, gardening, decorating, child-rearing, and laundry questions. Even over the phone Loi’s enthusiasm and openness to share switched the light bulb on in my mind. It was Loi who encouraged me to call other women and “pick their brains” on a variety of topics.
What do you need to learn? Is it how to be a godly wife, mother, how to pray, how to cook? The list goes on. Start with prayer, begin watching other women, and pick up the phone or send an email. Women are honored when asked their opinion. Call in advance and ask if you can speak with her concerning a particular issue and specify the length of time you want to meet. Prepare a list of questions so you can learn all you can and not waste time. If you need to meet with her again, ask if it would be agreeable.
When we remain teachable, no matter our age, God can move in amazing ways. Having a teachable heart allows the Holy Spirit to work and bring to the surface areas that need to be addressed. Ask the Lord where you need to grow and allow Him to lead you to women to encourage and teach you.
Author / speaker Anne Platz says, “If you’re going to go where God’s going to take you, you’re going to need help.” Recognize your need and pray for teaching and training in this area. Watch the Lord put just the right people in your path.
If you do not readily recognize a mentor, begin researching books on your subject of interest. When I was struggling with balance as a wife and mom, Elizabeth George became my mentor. Her books A Woman’s High Calling and A Woman After God’s Own Heart mentored me on the subjects of organization, prayer, and becoming a godly wife and mother. If your subject of interest is spiritual, use a concordance and begin looking up verses related to it for study.
Invest in Others
As a woman of God commanded in Titus 2 to teach and train, step out in faith to invest in others. Elizabeth George accurately accessed the situation: there is someone older to learn from and someone younger to train. If you have felt the nervousness in the pit of your stomach when asking another woman if you can talk with her regarding a mentoring issue, then you know how other women are feeling too. We’ve all been there. It is time for those of us who have benefited from mentors to make ourselves available.
If you church has a mentoring program, consider getting involved. Another way to mentor in an informal setting is to be a friend. As you pray for women to mentor, the Lord will put them in your path. Just as you are watching out for mentors, keep your eyes open for mentorees who can often be shy and unsure.
It’s Our Call
One thing is sure, as Christian women we are called to teach and train other women according to Titus 2. In our busy, transit society it can be difficult to make lasting connections. Let’s set the example and slow down to notice those around us who may be in need of encouragement today. I’m thankful Janice noticed me that day at the copy machine and tapped me on the shoulder.
“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 train the younger women to love their husbands and children.” Titus 2:3-4
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About Kellie Renfroe
Kellie and her husband Greg have been married 32 years and have four children ranging in age from 17 to 28. She co-founded Mentoring Moments for Christian Women in 2005. Kellie is a homeschooling mom who enjoys reading, studying the Bible, writing, photography, and learning how to cook.
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