Saturday, November 9, 2013

On the Value of a Mentor

Although my days with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) are passed, I am honored to contribute in any small way I can to this vital ministry. Therefore, I'm sharing thoughts on Thursdays with our local chapter, on the Sheridan Morning MOPS blog, and sharing it here with you:

I couldn’t have known nine-and-a-half years ago, when I walked through those church doors into my very first MOPS meeting. I couldn’t have known all that I actually didn’t know and would learn only in hind-sight.  I was trudging the unknown territory of motherhood and into a room full of new faces; into a room with four rectangular tables enclosed by about thirty-five other friendly moms and four mentor moms.
I was confident, although I didn’t really know what I was doing, as a new mother. And I was passionate - seemingly passionate and confident enough, as a mother and follower of Christ, to be thought of for a steering position the following Fall. And I took it. And I was passionate about it for the next four years. My faith grew, I made friends, and I thought that between me, God and all those amazing women, we could move mountains. The sky was the limit for this ministry!

And in spite of me, a multitude of other steering members, four humble mentors (still present today) and many new mentors along the way, God has delivered.

I’ve brought all four of my children through those MOPS doors, between Morning and Evening MOPS, serving as Finance Leader, Discussion Leader and Coordinator; and watched many other moms walk through those doors for the first time, as I had.  MOPS has been a vital piece to the first chapter of my life, as a mother.

Yet what I didn’t know then that I know so well now, in this second chapter of my life raising these beloved children, is how valuable those mentors really were.

Oh, I knew they were precious and needed. I loved their presence and that sense of grounding in the ministry because of them. I loved the sense of affirmation I had just having their encouraging spirits always building us up.

But back then, I was embarking on new territory and I was going to conquer this feat and be the best mom I could be, with or without their support. Back then, I strived to do it all even when I couldn’t. And although I couldn’t see it then I, admittedly, thought I knew it all.

Yet over the years and into this new chapter of motherhood, I’ve been humbled. As my children have grown, motherhood has drawn me low, more and more to my knees. Because the beginning was exciting, though exhausting. And the onward journey has been beautiful, though trying. But the journey, through the seasons, has changed me.

And it will you, too.

When you see those little moldable beings becoming their own beings with their own ideas, aspirations and dreams;

when just as much time with them trails behind you as what lies before you;

when you’ve done all you know to do and realize that it has never been and never will be enough, without Jesus;

when you persevere through the trials and hold onto that vision you started with;

and when God brings you to new heights and adds new layers to that vision…

your heart will ache more deeply for who they will become, despite how wonderful they already are. 

And you’ll realize how much more you need the people, who have been there.

You’ll realize how much you could still use that consistent encouraging spirit, building you up and more than just a friend who can relate, you’ll need a mentor - a godly woman of wisdom with experience, who can charge you through the good and hard times, to press on.

Because, chances are, you won’t just appreciate one of those mentors you once had in your life, you’ll become desperate for one. You’ll pray for just one to enter your life again.

I miss the constancy and stability of those mentors who sit at your table each week, firmly rooted in faith, wisdom and encouragement. They are lovely.

And although I have many wonderful friendships with those who are right where I’m at, I pray for relationships to take shape in my life with those who are a step or two ahead of me, willing to encourage and share their wisdom, as well as those who are a step behind, whom I may have the privilege to encourage.

I know this to be critical to our well-being, as moms, because I can see more clearly now, in hind-sight, how that is the very design God has intended for us to grow in.

So the next time you walk through those doors into a MOPS meeting, thank one of those mentors.

Because, just maybe, their presence is more valuable than you can know.

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

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