Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom, My Mentor

My mom always taught me to be aware of the people around me. If there were girls who were new at church, my mom was there encouraging me to be the one to make them feel welcome. When it appeared someone was left out of the group at school, it was her voice in my head telling me to include them. It’s no wonder that I embraced the instructions of 1 Timothy 4:12 at a young age.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” While I knew some people might look at me and brush me off as being “just a kid”, God said I could be an example to others. My mom gave me the confidence to embrace these words of Paul as my calling.

It shouldn’t be any wonder then as to why I went into shock at my friend’s insignificant comment the other day. Enjoying breakfast with some girlfriends, I was intrigued about a recent blog post another friend wrote. Courtney had just returned from a week’s vacation at a beach house commemorating her dear friend’s birthday. After a bit of inquiry as to how this came about, I expressed my delight in that type of festivity. “What an awesome way to celebrate a 40th birthday!” I exclaimed. “We should totally plan that type of thing for our 40th birthdays!” At this statement, one of my other dear friends turned to me, placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “Well, start planning. You’ll be 40 first.”

I stood there in disbelief, my mind began looking at each face present, mentally calculating my friends' ages in our present group. Was I honestly the oldest? When did I become the elder among my friends? As I tried to play it off with laughter, sarcasm, and some added drama, the comment nagged at my heartstrings. What was bothering me? I’m not even 35 yet. It’s not like I’m that old.

As I thought about my current stage of life, it hit me. It’s never really been a problem to know younger women were looking at me to be the example. I embrace that. However, I have always been on the lookout for a woman that I could ask to be my mentor. “Likewise, 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.” (Titus 2:3-5) Who was the woman that would teach me?

Concerned that she had really rocked my world, my dear friend-for-this-life-and-the-life-to-come, who made the random comment, attempted to console me. I explained to her that my search for a mentor in my circles has been fruitless. Oh sure, there are older women in my world who have been examples and taught me. But I longed for the intentional type of relationship she is currently experiencing where the older woman instructs the younger.

That’s when I realized there is no need for me to search for a mentor. I have always had her in my life. However, recently, I’ve felt her absence. In caring for my elderly grandparents, my mom is not as easily accessible as she once was. In this season of life, I can’t selfishly dial her number on the phone knowing she will sit and counsel me for hours. When I need instruction concerning the difficulties of life, her ever-present wisdom is no longer readily accessible. Yet her life is still teaching me. Her actions are obeying God’s word as an example to others. “Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (1 Peter 4:9-11)

My mom has always been my greatest mentor. She has been my example since birth. Her wise words have always come with instruction, encouragement, and when necessary, gentle correction. Currently, I may not have ready access to her advice and guidance, but I am still watching her example. Even in this current season, her life points me to Jesus.

Thank you, mom, for always doing what God calls us to. It can’t be easy to become the caregiver to your parents. Yet you do it with God’s grace and teach your children through your example. I am truly blessed to have you as my mom, my friend, and my mentor. And I thank God that my girls have you as their example as well. I love you.

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