When I Grow Up I Want To Be Just Like…
There is a lady in my church who I love dearly. She has been a mentor to me for years, but she doesn’t even know it. Her life has been a roadmap of sorts for me. Specifically, she has challenged me in my love toward others – just by her example. She’s not quick to take sides. (In fact, I don’t know if she has ever taken sides.) But, she’s no push-over either. She is not quick to judge and is very kind-hearted. She has a way of seeing the best in others even when their faults and failures are glaring. She is one special lady!
She’s served in so many roles within our church that I wouldn’t even know where to start listing the myriad of ways she has blessed our church and community with her love, dedication and commitment. She is not a whiner, and she has a great sense of humor. Her years may categorize her as old, but she is ever young at heart and eager for the next adventure. She has the gift of story-telling, and oh can she keep a carful of ladies laughing when on road trips. Young and old both stop to hear what story is coming next.
This gem of a friend is no stranger to heartache, but her testimony of God’s love and care are always heart-warming. She’s been a survivor in so many challenging situations and was literally at death’s door not too many years ago. When I see her, I’m often reminded that she is literally a walking miracle!
When I grow up I want to be like her.
Mentors, or those who filled that role in my life, have been few and far between. In fact, I’ve never had an ‘official’ mentoring relationship with anyone. Oh, I went through a season when I earnestly asked God for a mentor. I watched to see if there was someone I could ask to be my mentor. I read articles of others who had greatly benefited from a mentor, but I slowly resigned myself to the fact that a mentor/mentee relationship isn’t what God had in mind for me – at least not in the traditional sense.
Instead, I gleaned my spiritual inspiration and examples from some great authors and speakers. Ruth Senter was the author of the first book I ever read on being a pastors’ wife. It was entitled, “So You’re the Pastor’s Wife.” I loved that book, and I loved Ruth’s heart. She was a strong voice in my life, reassuring me that it was okay to just be me. To use the gifts and talents God had given me to serve His church. She gave me permission to be a 'square peg' from time to time. I didn’t have to fit into some manmade role (round hole), and those sweet words of wisdom and affirmation set the foundation for my internal voice and confidence to be the best wife 'of my pastor' that I could be!
As I grew up, I wanted to have the same convictions and freedom that Ruth had found.
Other people and resources that have mentored and impacted my spiritual life have come from all sorts of places. The extremely insightful words of a newfound friend I served with on a mission trip. My father and mother. Focus on the Family and other radio broadcasts. My husband - and my pastor. Those I've taught and those that taught me. Other pastors’ wives. Strangers who became friends while working on a team together. Jill Briscoe and other conference speakers. Missionaries. 'Just Between Us' magazine. My daughters. Great authors like Lorraine Snelling (Christian historical fiction) who were able to weave an intriguing story line together while sharing key spiritual insights on daily living. Within those stories, it was like having my grandmother standing beside of me, sharing life with me.
It’s so crazy when I think about it now. God did answer my prayer many years ago. When I prayed for a mentor, He blessed me with not just one mentor, but numerous individuals who have impacted my spiritual life. Some spoke wisdom and spiritual insight into my heart, some challenged me with God’s Word, some wrestled alongside of me with the realities of marriage, hormones, children, finances and in-laws. But, the sweetest of all my mentors was - and still is - ultimately the Word of God.
“For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:6-11
As I continue growing and learning about how to better live out my Christian witness in the world, in my family and in my church, I must constantly run back to the true source of wisdom – God’s Word. I can hear God’s voice from many directions and gain wise counsel from many people, but ultimately…
When I grow up, I want to be more and more like Jesus. He, alone, is our ultimate mentor!