By now you likely heard that Elizabeth Elliot died yesterday after a long and faithful life. She influenced huge numbers of women. I read several online tributes yesterday where Elizabeth was named as the author’s mentor although they had never met.
It is wonderful to have a face-to-face mentoring relationship with a more mature Christian woman, but there are other ways to be mentored as well. Apparently Elizabeth Elliot filled that role for many women who read her books or heard her speak.
I never had a personal mentor. Although it saddens me that I missed the beauty of such a relationship, God connected me with many ordinary women who served as my mentors, unbeknownst to them.
I started teaching Bible studies when I was barely in my thirties, and frankly I needed a whole, whole lot of help to grow spiritually and in leadership. Amazingly, it was the older women in my group who provided that influence. I was the “leader,” but they were the true influencers. I perhaps knew more about the Bible, but they knew more about living faithful and influential Christian lives. Our weekly group meetings provided great conversations about life and God’s faithfulness in every circumstance.
I am a better woman today because of their influence. Isn’t that what mentoring is about?
If we older women (not old but older than someone) will simply give up our time and comfort to build friendships with younger women, we might be surprised at the influence we can have.
Are you in places such as small groups or activities where you can influence younger women or do you choose to be with your friends? Are you willing to share your stories and experiences with someone in another generation that looks at life a bit differently from your own generation? Are you reaching out to be a younger woman’s friend? Are you seeking to help her grow spiritually?
Don’t call yourself a mentor. Don’t compare yourself to Elizabeth Elliot. Just be yourself and let God use you in unknown ways. Although the breadth of your influence may not be as broad as a famous author, the difference you can make in one life is just as valuable.
What keeps you from stepping out and making a younger friend?