Sunday, July 14, 2013

Musing on Mentors

Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
We each have a story planned by God Himself., Debbie Macomber writes in her book, Once Upon a Time: Discovering Your Forever After Story. To help readers discover their own personal stories, she includes a prompt at the end of each chapter.
One prompt I worked on this week dealt with mentors: “Who have been the mentors in your life? What have you learned from them? How have they changed you?”
What is a mentor, anyway?
“A mentor,” writes Debbie, “is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself . . . to know no matter how dark the night, in the morning joy will come . . . to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.”
As I pondered this definition, my friend Sharon came to mind. I never thought of Sharon as a mentor, but as a precious friend who’s always been in my corner, listening, loving, and lifting me up. Sharon is a giver, but the gifts she’s given me go far beyond the lunches she’s paid for, the birthday presents, the cards she’s sent “just because.”
She’s given me hope, enabling me to believe in myself and in the gift God has placed in me to serve Him. “I Believe in You” reads a plaque she gave me that I put up in my writing room where I can see it every day. Even when I don’t believe in myself, it reminds me that someone does. She doesn’t just tell me she believes in me. She shows it—like the time she tucked a sizable sum of cash in an envelope to help me with travel expenses to a writing conference.
She’s reminded me when I’ve gotten still another rejection from a book publisher that the dark times will pass and joy will return. That no matter how bad things look now—breaking into publishing these days seems like an impossible dream—that God has a plan and purpose for me and He’s in control.
She’s given me a glimpse of what she sees in me, although sometimes I think she sees more than is there! I don’t feel worthy of her faith in me, but I don’t want to let her down. And so I press on. Maybe she’s right, you know?
Sharon didn’t set out to be a mentor, and I never appointed her to be mine.
God did. He brought her alongside me when I was taking baby steps of faith. Through her, He’s drawn out faith and hope from the deep parts of my soul, cultivated them and nurtured them so they can grow strong and resist the storms that batter my dreams.
Who are the mentors in your life?
Maybe the more important question, though, is “Who can you be a mentor to?”
Thank you, Lord, for those who see in us what we can’t see ourselves, who stir up faith and hope by their love. Bless them as they have been blessings to others. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Titus 2:1–8

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