by Janet Thompson
Older woman, I’m writing this letter to you because young women need an oak. My prayer is you’ll heed Psalm 78:1-8 and Titus 2:3-5. Don’t allow fear, busyness, or inferiority to stop you from letting me . . . a younger woman . . . learn from you. Nourish us simply with your presence and prayers. You aren’t here to warm a pew, precious oak, but to warm our hearts towards Jesus. The future of the church needs you. You are an oak, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3b).
All my love, Tracy*
Tracy’s plea is for spiritually older women, who she compares to righteous oak trees, to realize how badly the younger women all around them need godly role models. Women who will invest in the life of spiritually younger women and help them grow in their faith, live the Christian life daily, make righteous decisions, and maybe heal from previous choices that were messy and painful.
Mentoring is never just a one-way relationship. Women who notice and invest in the spiritually younger women around them, find their lives are blessed and richer because they followed God’s mandate in Titus 2:3-5 and so many of the psalms like Psalm 145:4 “One generation commends your works to another;they tell of your mighty acts.”
Mentoring brings together the generations in the church: God’s original plan for church growth that one generation teaches and trains the next generation from tweens to twilight years. So often mentoring is simply sharing your own life experiences with someone experiencing something similar. You assure her the Lord helped you through that season and He will help her too, and you’ll be there to walk beside her as she trusts in God’s guidance, and lets Jesus soothe and possibly change her heart.
Many mentors have the privilege of watching a mentee accept Jesus into her heart and she needs guidance in how a Christian woman lives life. How to put off her old worldly ways and put on the new ways found in God’s Word. How to live her life following Jesus’s ways, not the culture’s ways.
Life is full of changes in every life season, but God has given us the tools in the Bible to help each other through them. We just need to be willing to do what He asks of us: reach out and mentor each other. I was incredibly blessed to have sixty-five women, including Tracy and Joneal Kirby, share their mentoring stories—as both mentees and mentors—in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. These women had experienced the blessings of mentoring and wanted to encourage other women that they can do it too, and it’s a fabulous blessing! Often a mentor will encounter a mentee with a life season the mentor hasn’t experienced herself, so I included tips in how to mentor and be a mentee in all seasons with Scriptures to help find answers to difficult life questions.
A mentor is always guiding her mentee to the most important spiritual tool, God’s perspective from Scripture. Mentors don’t have all the answers because God provides them in the Bible. There’s one sure thing, we’re always coming out of one season and going into another one where we’re going to need a mentor ourselves, and hopefully, the women we mentor will teach other women what we taught them.
A portion of Joneal Kirby’s story in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness expresses beautifully how being a mentor and a mentee changes our hearts and our homes in all generations.
In reflecting on the many women in my life who have helped me through all kinds of seasons . . . I’ve been blessed to have many women speak into my life and influence me in different ways. From the way I entertain using their examples of hospitality to my deeply, personal involvement in my friends’ lives, I have had beautiful, courageous women of faith who were there to teach me and train me. They helped me with my floundering anxieties as a young mother, supported me as friends during my children’s busy school years, and many are faithful friends who have stood by my side in ministry for decades now. Where would I be without these generous-hearted friends? I’m grateful I’ll never have to know. Joneal Kirby, founder of Heartfelt Ministry, endorser, and shares a story in Mentoring for All Seasons.
*An excerpt from Tracy Steel’s letter in the Preface of Mentoring for All Seasons.
Janet Thompson, an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of nineteen books including her latest, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.
She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Janet and her husband Dave relocated their empty nest from Orange County, California to the rural mountains of Idaho, where Janet writes and they love watching the deer frolic in their yard.
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