“Kay, I believe God wants you to mentor me.”
How did I react? I tried not to show my shock, but I was thinking that this 20-something woman had definitely not heard from God. I was in my mid-thirties, and I felt completely unqualified. I found a way out as quickly as I could, trying not to hurt her feelings.
What if she approached me today? I would still feel the same way. The word mentor is scary. I have learned, however, that I can do it with God’s help. Now I don’t think of myself as a mentor but as a spiritual mother, and I know that fear doesn’t point us to God’s will.
Why do I better relate to the idea of being a spiritual mother? As a physical mother I have great weaknesses and don’t have answers to every question. A spiritual mother is in the same situation—she isn’t perfect, all-knowing, or likely an icon of the faith. Trying to pretend otherwise doesn’t connect well with the younger generation. I know that mothers are there more than anything else; their faith rubs off in everyday life. We are pray-ers, cheerleaders, counselors, and doctors. Whatever our kids need, we try to provide. If they need help that we don’t have, we find it for them elsewhere. We primarily give our time, our care, and our love—and I and you can do the same for younger women.
In Titus 2:3-5 older women are charged with influencing the younger women of the church through the Word of God and real life application. They need to know how to live a live of faith in a challenging world, how to trust God when life is hard, and how to persevere when faced with doubt and disappointment. By giving time to younger women, we allow them to watch and hear as we struggle, and we encourage them that the same God who has been faithful to us through our failures and hard times will also be with them.
Spiritual mothering means taking a younger women where you go, making time for lunch or coffee now and then, listening on the phone, caring, and serving. What if she were your daughter? How would you involve her in your life and conversations?
So don’t run away from the command to invest spiritually in someone younger in the faith. Ask a younger woman to coffee or lunch, and entrust the results to God.
You don’t know any younger women? Put yourself in a situation where you will meet them. Go to a women’s Bible study that includes small groups of intergenerational women instead of attending the one you have been in for years, or get involved in mission activities in your church or through a ministry. Don’t look for a mentoring program but look for a mentee you like. Don’t limit yourself to your own family members; too many young women need a godly influence from someone other than their mothers because of distance, relationship issues, or spiritual situations. Who will invest in them? Why can’t you?
So let me ask you—what is keeping you from investing in a younger women, whether you are thirty-something or sixty-something? When will you begin to get involvedin God’s plans for older and younger women? Ask God to show you where to begin and start today.