Mentor Me (Conclusion): The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I cannot count the times I have heard wonderful, wise words from a mentor, and then found myself passing those same words on to someone I’m mentoring, a short time later.

My mentor has a mentor. She is learning and growing and being challenged. Then she meets with me and challenges me. And then I meet with a few girls, and try to do the same.

Isn’t that fantastic? I love it. I’m part of a chain. We all have a role, and we keep the good stuff going.

Now, I do have to put in here that there is also a ton of value in those great, comfortable, peer type of friendships when you can connect and just live life in a similar way. Yesterday afternoon, I spent an hour talking with one of my dear friends, and it has left me with the same kind of feeling I get from putting on a comfy pair of sweats and drinking hot tea after a long day. You know that feeling? Letting your hair down. Being yourself.

We need those kinds of relationships, too. But I think they happen more naturally, and are a bit easier to come by than the mentor-type of relationships.

I have no idea where you’re at in your life. I don’t know if anything in any of these posts on mentoring has rung true with you.

I hope so. I hope you have a mentor. I hope you are a mentor. And if you’re not, I hope that you have that chance at some point in your life.

I hope you know how much you have to offer the people around you. I hope that you’re open to all of the wonderful, crazy, unexpected opportunities and relationships that God has up His sleeve for you.

I hope you can be part of a chain, too! I hope you receive that gift, and that you have the chance to pass it on.

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mentor Me (Part 5): What Do We Talk About Now?

I didn’t really want to include this post in my series on mentoring. I told Ben I couldn’t write it, because I don’t really know the answer to that question.

And Ben said something like, “Good. You have a week to figure it out.”

Well, I don’t have it figured out. I’m not sure that it’s completely possible to figure it out.

See, mentoring is a relationship. Every relationship is different, and is constantly changing and growing. And a mentoring relationship should be specifically about changing and growing.

So what you talk about will always be changing.

That being said, I think (and have read) that the most important thing in a mentoring relationship is asking questions.

The mentor’s job is to ask questions. And then ask more questions. Pray hard, listen hard, and find little clues as to what areas might need some extra thought and consideration, and then ask even more questions.

But it’s not all up to the mentor. The person being mentored should also be asking questions. The relationship is there so that the younger one can gain wisdom from the older one.

So ask questions.

When my mentor and I are arranging a time to talk, she has sometimes told me, “Write down any questions you might have.”

I find that hard. But usually, if I pray about it, and keep a list nearby over the next few days, I’m surprised by the thoughts that come to mind.

Really, I think that all of us should continually be asking God questions like, “What do I need to learn? What do you want to show me? What area of my life needs to change? Is there anything that’s holding me back from growing closer to You?”

As we ask Him those questions, I think it’s very helpful to have someone come alongside us who can share what they experienced when they asked those same questions.

And then you talk about anything and everything. You pray like crazy, and you allow God to lead you to places that you would never have thought of going on your own. Or with someone else.

You live life in a very real, deep, and vulnerable way together, and you talk about all of it.

For more information: I’m reading Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership, by Walter Wright, in my efforts to learn more about mentoring. And I’ve got my eye on Mentor: How Along-the-Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life, by Chuck Lawless. Doesn’t that sound good?

Now you know what to get me for Christmas.

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mentor Me (Part 3): So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Maybe you are already completely sold on the idea of mentoring. Maybe you’ve seen that great need in your life for accountability, words of challenge and wisdom spoken into you, someone to guide  you along as you grow.

All of that sounds great, but…you have no idea where to find it.

Ben and I have both gone through that at different times in our lives. For years, Ben really wanted to have a mentor, but there just wasn’t anyone whom he really connected with in that kind of a way. When he started working on his Masters through Trinity Western University, getting a mentor was part of the program. He was paired up with a man whom he clicked with immediately, and felt comfortable talking to his mentor about anything, right from the start.

It has been a huge blessing for him. There is something so incredibly comforting in knowing that at any time, you can call up someone older, wiser, more experienced, and totally removed from the situations you are facing, which enables them to pray and offer advice in a godly way while being more emotionally removed.

So….you could pay for a mentor. If you wanted to get your Masters.

I know. That’s not the most practical way of getting one. And I don’t know what happens when Ben is finished his program. Does the mentorship expire?

Maybe there are better options here…

I’ve come up with a list of three different steps to finding a mentor, but I believe each step should be preceded by lots of prayer. Your Father knows your needs, He cares about the longings of your heart, and He desires to work in your life through different people. He also desires to work in others through you.

1) Be willing to let go of your “mentor stereo-type”.

It’s easy to get this idea in your head of what a mentor should look like, or who that person should be. And all this time while you’re praying and trying to find a relationship that will meet your expectations, you could already be in a relationship where mentoring is happening.

Piano teachers, for example, can make fantastic mentors. I’ve spent so many hours talking with my music teachers, it was probably hard to tell if my parents were paying for music lessons or counseling. I don’t know which was more beneficial!

I think there are many different ways the mentor relationship can look. Long-distance mentoring totally works – Ben’s mentor lives a few provinces away. And I recently watched an interview with Tony Dungy in which he talked about the possibility of being mentored from a distance by someone you’ve never met! He said that there were some well-known men whom he really admired, but didn’t know. He read a number of books written by them, and felt that he was mentored through their written words.

Dungy also talked about how he’s been mentored through five-minute conversations. Sometimes someone can change your life  dramatically with only one encounter. Grab it and go! No, it’s not a relationship that will continue to grow for years and years, but it’s still God working in your life through other people. Appreciate it for the gift it is, even if it doesn’t “look” like mentoring in your mind.

2) Be willing to go out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes when we ask God for things, He answers our prayers in strange and unexpected ways. Be prepared!

When Ben and I had been married for a year, we moved to a new town and started attending a new church. I had been without a mentor for a few years, and was really missing it. I felt that I needed that type of relationship to help me grow in my spiritual life, so I started praying for one. And there she was, in our new church. The very first time I met her, I knew that she was “the one”! She is one of those amazing, godly women who just spills joy and the love of Jesus on everyone she meets. I could tell she was a true prayer warrior, and she was the kind of woman I wanted to learn from.

But I barely knew her. I prayed about it, and talked with Ben about it. He said, “You should call her.” It took a long time for me to work up my nerve. One evening, I just grabbed the phone and called before I had too much time to think myself out of it. I got their answering machine, so I left a message, and….she never called back! I was so sad!

A few months later, I somehow worked up the courage to ask again, and she said she would gladly be my mentor. I mentioned leaving a message, and she laughed and said their answering machine hadn’t been working for months! She had never heard my message.

If you’ve prayed about it, and you feel like God is leading you to take action, do it, even if it scares you so much you feel like you’ll puke.

It will all be worth it in the end!

3) Just keep trusting God to provide.

We moved away from that wonderful place, and my mentor moved on to a different stage of her life, and once again, I was without a mentor. The problem was, we had moved away from civilization to a camp in the middle of a forest. I was praying for a mentor, but I really, really wondered how in the world God was going to produce one. Would a godly woman come randomly wandering out of the bush one day and knock on my door?

Oh, ye of little faith! She was the speaker at a retreat we were having here at camp. We connected right away, and I had the most powerful prayer experience with her that I’d ever had. The next year, she came again, and when she left, I knew that I wanted to ask her to be my mentor.

But the problem was that she was so amazing. I was far too chicken to call her, because I was sure that she would have no time. I was sure that she probably had hundreds of women calling her up, begging her to mentor them. (The best ones are always the most busy, right?!) Ben kept telling me to call her, and I kept praying about it.

Finally, I took the pukey plunge again, and wrote her an email. And she said she’d do it! She also said she had never actually mentored anyone before, which shocked me completely.

And now, she blesses my life in very deep and rich ways. We live far apart, and are both very busy, so it’s not the kind of relationship where I have coffee with her once a week or something like that. But for this season of my life, God has provided, and He is so good.


I know that at times, it seems impossible to find the real, deep, life-changing kinds of relationships that we crave. But I really believe that God cares, and that He provides. Ask Him. Ask Him to send you somebody amazing.

If He can send someone to me, way out here in the bush, I’m guessing that He can figure something out for you, too. Wait for it, watch for it, and then go for it.

Go get mentored!


Series Summary:

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mentor Me (Part 2): Sharing Some Personal Stories

When I look back on my teenage years, I can clearly see that there are two women who profoundly affected my life. They never called themselves my mentors, but that is exactly what they did, during a time when I desperately needed it.

I have always been very close with my parents, and could talk with them about anything, but there is something different about having an adult choosing to spend time with you, even when they have no obligation to do so. My parents kind of have to love me and think I’m wonderful. 😉 These two women voluntarily met with me, filled me with their words of encouragement, and built me up in ways that I will never forget.

The first one was a Sunday School teacher. One fall when I was in junior high, the Sunday School committee had a lot of trouble finding a Sunday School teacher for my class. All of the other classes had teachers – had them for weeks, and yet there was our class, still teacherless.

In junior high, when things are a bit insecure at the best of times, that seemed like a big deal. The girls would get together and talk about this. What was wrong with us? How come no one wanted us? I expressed these thoughts to my dad, who was the Sunday School Superintendent at the time, and he was moved to action.

He approached a woman in our church, and told her about how we were starting to feel like we were the problem, the reason why no one would volunteer for that Sunday School class.

She immediately agreed to teach it.

And she kept on teaching it almost until I graduated. She loved us like crazy. We could just tell. And so we loved being with her. She showered her words of affection on us, and constantly told us how fun, wild, and crazy we were, in the best way possible.

She had us over to her house, she spent tons of time with us outside of the “official” Sunday School time, and most importantly…she took me out for coffee. I felt so grown up. And she’d ask about how things were going in my life, and then she’d really listen. She would speak spiritual truths into my life that I still remember to this day, and pass on to other people.

She passed away a few years ago, and I am so sorry that I never told her how much she meant to me, and how much she blessed my life.

The second lady, on the other hand, is alive and kicking, and still bursts into my life every now and then with the same amount of energy and enthusiasm that she had all those years ago when I first met her.

I met her at a time when I was ready to give up on church. Not God, just church. I had heard the term “church family”, but had never really felt like it was much of a family. But that’s a longer story that you can read about here.

Anyway, she attended the new church I was very, very hesitantly trying out, and she greeted me as though her life was now complete, just because I had walked through the doors of that church. I was shy and insecure, still in high school, and lacking confidence in many ways. And there she was, refusing to let me be shy, laughing at all of my jokes and stories, sincerely interested in every detail of my life, full of smiles and hugs and encouragement.

She is the reason why I went back to that church the second time. By the third time, I was realizing that it was just a really great church in general. I will always be thankful that she took the time to draw me in, to make me feel noticed when I felt invisible, and important when I felt insignificant.

She asked me questions, and took the time to listen to the stuff going on in my life as though it really, really mattered to her. I knew that I could drop in at her house any time, and she would fill me up chips and homemade salsa and joy, and she helped me to see that no matter how confusing or hard life was, laughter could be found in everything.

I think back to the experiences with those ladies, and how they impacted me, and I wonder how many teenagers there are today, feeling lonely, insecure, invisible and insignificant.

I wonder how many adults there are out there who missed out on having a mentor when they were younger, and inside they still desperately need that type of relationship. They’ve learned to hide it better now, but really, they still need a listening ear, many words of encouragement, and someone who becomes a safe place for them.

I know that for me, it is not an exaggeration to say that mentoring changed my life. It is still changing my life. (More on that another day!) And I think that the need for it in the Church today is very great.

I believe that if you want to change the world and impact people in the greatest way possible, you do it one at a time.

This post is part of a series. Here are the links to the rest of the series:

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mentor Me (Part 1): Embarking on a Journey

This week I get to begin three long-awaited friendships. There are some really amazing girls at camp for the year, participating in Red Rock Bible Camp’s discipleship program called Pursuit. Each time I heard that another girl was applying for Pursuit, my excitement grew in anticipation for all that we will experience in this coming year.

Ben is running the program, and for the most part, my role will be more behind-the-scenes:

  • listening to all of Ben’s wildly creative and crazy ideas, and then helping him work out the details until the ideas actually become realistic and doable
  • supporting Ben and trying to manage our family/home in the best way possible while he goes on various trips with the students throughout the year, the longest one being three weeks
  • being available for anything that comes up, like running errands, having the students over, other things that I can’t think of because nothing has really happened yet but we’re just getting going!

While I’m really looking forward to being involved in whatever way Ben needs me to be, I am also really excited about the other stuff I’ll get to do: teaching and mentoring. Especially mentoring.

We have four students this first year, and since the majority of them are girls, I will get to do a lot of mentoring.

I am so excited. These girls are really amazing (go here to “meet” them), and I’m so looking forward to getting to know them.

With my role of “mentor” officially starting this next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be mentored. Yesterday morning, Ben and I came across a video about mentoring that got many thoughts swirling around in my head. I decided it might be a good thing to get them to stop swirling by writing them all out, and sharing some of them with all of you.

And so begins this little series called “Mentor Me”.

I once read that one of the best ways to encourage continual growth in the Christian life is to participate in two different mentoring relationships: being mentored, and being the mentor.

I don’t know how many Christians out there actually have both of these types of relationships – they are a gift, and sometimes seem hard to come across.

In the next few days, I want to share with you some of the things that I’m learning as I seek out both types of relationships in my life.

Here’s my list of topics:

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

So there you have it. This is for all of the amazing women who have mentored me, and all of the sweet girls who have allowed me to be part of their lives. You all mean so much to me!

See you tomorrow!