Mentoring

Tell Your Mentor Thank You

Mentoring is a powerful step in which one person takes time to truly meet another person where they are in life and listen...care...walk with...teach...cry with...laugh with...

Who needs a mentor? I believe that we all need someone to give us advice at times. I also believe that each person has something unique to offer others. Be open to conversations that allow you to hear the unique voice of others, and be open to sharing your own voice. 

Share your voice...

talk about your life experiences...

talk about your struggles...

share your faith ideas...

share your career advice...

talk about overcoming...

talk about love...

share your experiences with

feeling lonely or fearful...

Listen to others...

when they tell you who they are...

when they are struggling...

when they are questioning or growing...

when they are seeking a place to belong...

when they are trying to define their own faith...

when they are trying to figure out who they are...

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I’m not sure if the person who is now my mentor knew what she was getting into when she first met me. I am a single mom with two daughters. Church leaders introduced me to my mentor, an accountant, because I desperately needed financial advice to help me get on my feet. I will be the first to admit that I was tired most days from working long hours and raising two girls—one with special needs and one with a strong will. When my mentor tried to give financial advice, I didn’t particularly want to hear another person telling me what to do. I procrastinated in answering every e-mail and never made much of an effort to learn the Excel program she was trying to get me to use for a budget.

My mentor was (and still is) a patient and persistent mentor, however. Every month she faithfully reviewed my budget submitted to her through my random notes and offered advice on how to survive on my salary. She never criticized my decisions or scolded me for being difficult. When my financial challenges became too overwhelming to remain in my job I held at the time, I e-mailed my mentor and told her I would be moving away. I thought she would be overjoyed—no more annoying monthly reports from me.

My mentor surprised me with a phone call, however. “Do you have any help moving?” Seriously? I wondered why she even cared. She could have been done with me since I was leaving the area. No one at church would have even known if she did just walk. But she repeated the question, and I admitted that I had rented a truck but had no one other than my two young daughters to help me load it.  She arranged for her husband and her son to come with her on moving day to help load our belongings into the rented truck.

How patient was she during this time? She and her family stuck it out through the day, loading a truck that was too small for the job, getting the neighbor’s dog poo on their hands when we set outside items in the wrong space, and continuing on even with the water to the house cut off (hence, no way to wash hands). My plans were about as unorganized and crazy as my finances at the time. She and her husband even showed up the second day to help me reload the same truck after I drove six hours to unload it and return to pick up what didn’t fit the first time.

So lots of people help others move, right? Why did this time change my life? Because I never knew that anyone cared enough to do that for me. I never knew anyone prayed for me and about me until she told me that day that she did. Maybe she had told me before that she prayed for me. If she did, the words hadn’t soaked in. But on that moving day, she changed my life. I was terrified about the move and felt defeated by my circumstances. I felt like a failure. The worst feeling was that I thought I had failed my children.

 

But on that day, she showed me and my children that I was loved and cared for. She showed my children that someone cared enough to be there—twice. She showed me and my children that she was willing to go outside of her comfort zone to be there for all three of us. We mattered. We weren’t alone. Her actions affected all three of us in such amazing ways.

Once settled in my new location, I trusted my mentor enough to let her call me and check up on us. I actually sought out her advice and listened at this point. I began to grow out of my hurt and anger. The lingering pain from my past began to ease. She taught me how to be a better person and a better mother—all because she asked if I needed a hand moving. She met me where my fears were. She came to me in the confusion and pain without judgment and without a lecture on what I was doing wrong. She never even commented about the wrong size of the truck. She just listened as I worked my way through it and supported my efforts without embarrassing me in front of my girls. And she loaded a lot of boxes.

We stayed close through the next few years, sharing stories of our children and sharing many prayers. She faithfully called me even when I would fall back into old patterns of negativity. Honestly, at times I was just rude. I see now that I was struggling with trust and was pushing her away. Getting rid of a person was easier for me than trusting a person. But my mentor just stuck with me. Her faith moved a mountain of pain that had been building inside of me for years.

Recently, my mentor became a mover again. She drove almost six hours out of her way to help me move my oldest daughter into college. My car wasn’t big enough to get all of her supplies into it, and I couldn’t afford to rent anything larger. She knew how hard it was to even get my daughter into college on my budget. And she knew my daughter was very nervous about the move and the challenges ahead of her. So she came to us again when we needed her most. She loaded her SUV with three tubs of supplies and clothes drying rack. She brought with her a mattress pad for her dorm bed and treats for my youngest daughter. She helped me with expenses related to the trip. It was a hectic day, but she was there. She reminded us that we were never alone and were always loved. She prayed with us and promised to keep us in her daily prayers.

She would never take credit for changing our lives. She tells me God was faithful and that I did all of the hard work asked of me. She reminds me that she loves me, but that God loves me more. She encourages me, makes me smile, and moves me to new places in life. 

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