How Do I Find a Mentor?

me-and-sally

Jesus reached out to His disciples. He saw them, and he called to them, and He invested His life in them.

Titus 2: 3-5 says that older women are to teach the younger women.

I believe that older women should be reaching out to younger women. However, this doesn’t happen as much as younger women would like (busyness, insecurity on the part of an older woman, etc.). I’d like to offer some suggestions for younger women reaching out to older women.

Accept Humanness & Prepare For It

Sally isn’t perfect.

Many people believe that I found the perfect mentor. While it’s true that Sally is quite fitted to me, and she is my friend, advocate, and wise mentor, she’s still human! She struggles with sin just like the rest of us. When looking for a mentor, please don’t try and find someone who has it all together or has done everything right. Find someone who is humble, who loves the Lord, and is who is willing to do life with you. I love Sally because she is my friend, and she invests in my life, and we encourage each other; this is what a mentor does, walks out life with you, encouraging you and teaching you what they’ve learned throughout life. Remember, we all have sinful bents, and it is only Jesus who makes us beautiful and righteous. If you are looking for someone “perfect” you will never find them, or they will let you down. Accept the reality of humaness.

Pray

Yea, yea, I know, this is the obvious one, but it’s obvious for a reason: God hears us. Ask God to bring an older woman into your life. Ask Him who would you fit you as a friend, advocate, mentor, and life-walker.

Be Patient

You don’t have to fall in love with the first woman who asks you to coffee. Get to know them, and see if their is a commonality, a bond, a “clickness”. Don’t rush it.

Approach an Older Woman…or Two

Pay attention to the women around you, particularly in your church, and then one day ask them to come over for a cup of coffee. You don’t have to approach someone and say, “Hi, I’d like you to be my mentor.” Just get to know someone, or a couple someone’s. You’re not looking for undivided attention here, You’re looking for a real life friend, one who will sit with you as your kiddos are running around and needing fed and changed. You might not have a chance to get out for coffee, and that’s okay. A friend will meet you in the middle of your life, babies, cleaning, diapers, conflict, and all!

It’s Okay to Have More Than One Mentor

Sally is my long-distance mentor and friend, and Ginny is my local mentor and friend. I talk to Sally almost every day, and I have tea with Ginny usually once a week. Ginny also surprises me with Chai Latte’s in the morning, or washes my dishes, or makes hats for my kids and doll blankest for their dolls. She loves my children in person, and she cares for me (psst…older women, is there one young mama you can do this for?). I love Sally and Ginny, and both of them are gifts of grace to me from God. And just an FYI, the relationship that Ginny and I have began organically. We went to the same church, but didn’t even know each other. Her husband and my husband met for coffee once a week, and here and there I would talk to Ginny. Very slowly, over  a period of years, we finally get to know each other. It wasn’t until this past year that we really became dear friends. Relationships take time and effort. Make the time, and put in the effort, even if that effort is simply an open door to your life.

Don’t Forget Your Mother

If you have a healthy relationship with your mother, then you have a built-in mentor! Consider yourself blessed and reach out to her. Ask her about her life and her story and her offerings; get to know her anew. A mother who loves you and invests in you and is wise and godly is a gift! Don’t waste it.

How Other Women Found Mentors

I asked my FB community how they met their mentors; here are a few of their responses:

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 6.30.41 PM

Your Turn!

If you have a mentor, how did you begin the relationship?

What holds you back from mentoring a younger woman?

What holds you back from asking an older woman to get together?

Reading this in your email but want to comment? Click through to the blog!

Related:

The Secret of Finding a Mentor – Working Diligently at Friendship

Desperate 3Dcropped

In Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, read letters between Sally and I and watch videos of the two of us discussing motherhood (every chapter has a QR code and link where you can connect with us!). Consider asking an older woman (or younger) to read the book with you. You can buy the book at Barnes & Noble HERE, or Amazon HERE.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.mininger Victoria Gomez Mininger

    Good stuff Sarah! I would second and amen what you shared. My relationship with my mentor sounds a lot like your relationship with Ginny. I was in a women’s small group and over time I found I turned to her for encouragement and support. I think the important part though was that I had to be willing to pick up the phone too. I couldn’t always expect her to know when I needed to talk. I had to speak up. I loved what you said about not waiting for perfection – how true, how true.

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    My relationship with Rita began in our church. My husband and I entered a small church as newlyweds and this family, with 5 children, caught our attention. They held home group in their house twice per month, so we got to visit with them often on a personal level.
    The relationship simply grew over time (as you stated) and now, 12 years later, we continue our relationship. They have 6 children, two of whom are now in college. So, not only have they watched our family grow, we’ve watched theirs! She and her whole family are a gift to us!

  • Paula

    this is really helpful! I want a mentor so badly, but have yet to fine one! I have contemplated going up to people and saying “will you be my mentor” and have often wondered if that was how to get it done! Glad to know it’s not, as I’ve yet to have the guts to do it. I need to pray about it more. The obvious one, and the one I’m not doing enough.

    thanks for this!

  • http://thechuppies.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    I’m so thankful you wrote this one…
    After writing the “Desperate” post last week, I had so many side responses from women wanting a mentor…not knowing how and feeling discouraged.
    I had hoped to revise an ANCIENT post that I wrote years ago about what mentoring has looked like in my life, but it didn’t happen over the weekend ;)

    And I usually don’t leave links on other writer’s sites, but I’m heading to the Mom Heart Conference ON THURSDAY !!! Which means I probably won’t get back to reworking that post any time soon, so I’m going to leave the link below because I think it’s really helpful to read about all the different types of mentoring/discipleship relationships and the way God brings them about in such different ways.

    I’ve probably had 6 – 8 “mentors” in my life…some for long periods…others much more formal and for a window of needed instruction or encouragement…but that’s what I came away from the book with…a desire to reach out and also to recognize those He has placed in my life.

    http://thechuppies.com/2010/05/thoughts-on-mentoring/

  • http://www.blissfulwife.com/ Priscilla Fowler

    I’m not a mama, yet. But, I had legal custody of my younger sister because we came from a shattered family, and our mother just couldn’t care for her. My father had passed away a few years prior. The custodial arrangement didn’t go as planned. I did a lot of things wrong, and she just wasn’t in the place to hear out the wisdom that I did have. Mind you, I was in my mid-twenties, and I was broken myself. For years, I have felt like I failed her. My whole world was hers for so many years…every decision that I made, I made it with her in mind…even when I was a kid myself. The neighborhood kids called me “little mama” as I wheeled her stroller down the street so we could have a break from the constant arguing at home. I think everyone knew I had more than a sibling relationship with my sister back then, and I was just 10. I look at 10 year old children now, and I think…How did I manage to take on those roles at that age? How did my sister? My sister grew up to be a woman with a big chip on her shoulder because of the childhood abuse that we both faced. We both fell into sin to numb the pain. We’ve had a broken relationship for a couple of years, but God mended our relationship late last year. Now, she comes to me for advice. I am reading this book because I need to be freed from the guilt I have over this relationship. I need to have counsel now while we are in the planning stages of having our babies so that I can be a better mama, and wife in the future. I was desperate for so many years, and now I really need to breath. I need to release some of this guilt. I need to breath again, and let myself off the hook for a desperate situation.

    • http://www.blissfulwife.com/ Priscilla Fowler

      I had a wonderful mentor over the last few years that I met when I was a teenager. She got me into groups that helped me find peace with this situation. I don’t know where I would be without God sending her to me, and placing her in my path. I’m still releasing the guilt & shame. However, God places people in our lives to mentor us long before we ever realize just how much we need them, or that they are even mentors!

  • Tara

    I met my mentor through Church, at first she gave me her book Fist Full of Diamonds by Lynda Hammond, then invited me to her bible study home-group, then began coming around to my house to disciple me, it has been the most wonderful experience, I have never had someone so invested in my life, she is amazing, I hope that I can balance out the friendship, so I can give, I just do not know what to give. Tara (The Proverbs 31 Sanctuary)

    • http://www.facebook.com/olivia.brant Olivia Brant

      “I hope that I can balance out the friendship, so I can give, I just do not know what to give.”
      Tara, I understand what you mean! I am sure watching you grow and knowing you appreciate her are a great reward for her.

  • TraciMLittle

    great advice Sarah Mae! <3 Traci http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/sclubmama Randi S

    I have two mentors: one old enough to be my mom and the other about 10 years older than me whose youngest is a year older than my youngest. The first one just fell into my life – I attended her husband’s Sunday school class and we hit it off. Now we walk once a week together and she attends my husband’s SS class. The second was a woman I really admired for her parenting so I asked her – and told her it’s not like a program to mentor but more just do life with me. It’s been great. We don’t meet often but she’ll slip me a note of encouragement and it’s great.

  • Donna I.

    About 17 years ago my group of young mothers prayed diligently for mentors, asked the few women who were available, but they were too busy for us. God never provided older women for us, at 52 I still don’t have that mentor. We studied what God says about becoming a woman of God, and decided we would be those older women when our children were gone. We are almost to that point. God is our greatest mentor, but it sure would have been nice to have a mentor with skin on, someone to give us the perspective from having been through our part of life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1367062260 Jennifer Ross

      That has been my experience as well Donna. I prayed for years for a mentor (my own mom lived 2000 miles away). And the older women in the churches here, same thing, too busy… “We’ve lived our life, you’re on your own” So sad. And the Lord didn’t provide a mentor in my situation either. I distinctly remember crying out to Him one day, and saying “You haven’t given me that!” His clear response was “Yes, I have not given that to you. You be that to someone else.” I was shocked and humbled. I knew I wasn’t ready at that time, but that I needed to prepare to one day be that to someone else. I’ve never forgotten that.

  • Bryn

    I think it’s also really important to recognize Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a true mentor. She was sinless and therefore the perfect role model for us – women and mothers as Christians. She went through happy times and devastating heartbreak all while letting the Holy Spirit guide her. Reading about her in the bible and praying for her intercession are things I do almost on a daily basis, and it really seems to calm my life down!

    • Jen

      Oh my, Mary was not sinless. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

    • Tracy /halloffamemoms.com

      Luke 1: 46-47 “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” – yes, Mary was a sinner. Only sinners need saved. The RCC teaches a number of things about Mary that are contrary to clear scripture. Let the bible be your standard and you’ll know how to tell the difference between false teachings and what the bible says. its so important today as there is a lot of false teachings in Christianity. I mean this in love, I hope I don’t offend, though the truth will offend. Hugs!

  • Jennifer G

    I am probably old enough to be someone’s mentor (I am 38), however…we waited a long time to become parents, we have 2 boys, the oldest is 5 yrs and the youngest is 2 mos old. I’ve been Christian all my life, but I didn’t start really studying the Word until about 2 years ago. So I am relatively new in both my roles as a mother and as a Christian. There are a couple of women at church who I think would be wonderful mentors for me. I just haven’t taken the time to get to know them, yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/olivia.brant Olivia Brant

    I am so grateful for my God-given mentor! I was going through a very difficult time in my life and had been praying for over a year for a mentor. Debbie was new to our area and we hit it off at a church fellowship, but didn’t follow up with each other until several months later when I asked her if I could call her. We met for coffee and I ended up opening up to her. We prayed together and she offered to meet with me once a week for a study. Seven years later and she still loves me, encourages me, puts up with me and tells me what I need to hear! One of the first things she told me was that she was not perfect and that at some point she will disappoint me because she is human and sinful. I love her for that! I love that she is so REAL AND APPROACHABLE!

  • http://hikingtowardhome.com/ Sharon@HikingTowardHome

    I asked God to send me one. When i was in the Philippines He sent me one in the form of a veteran missionary who had been on the field for 20 years. When I moved stateside I asked Him for another one and He brought along another one. For years I longed for a mentor and it wasn’t until six years ago that I even thought of asking the Lord to send me one. Both of them have been such tremendous blessings to me in sharing the wisdom the Lord has blessed them with along their way. I am currently doing Beth Moore’s James study; one of the questions asked is think of the most wise women you know and they are probably the most humble, kind, and gentle people you know. She was right. :-)

  • http://randerings.blogspot.com Dawn

    My heart aches for a mentor. Not just for the prayer, friendship and support but also for the accountability. I have prayed for years for someone and reached out to a few women but without any response – or in one case, right out rejection. I have pretty much given up hope…

  • Angela Meyer

    I don’t have an “official” mentor, but several ladies that I look up to and go to for prayer and support. Each of them further ahead of me in different areas of their lives.

    Angela D. Meyer
    http://www.angeladmeyer.com

  • CultivatedLives

    What wonderful advice! I’ve been so blessed with a wonderful mother who lives close. But even with that I’ve craved mentoring and have pursued different women in different seasons of my life. I’ve had two who have spoken into my life recently and I’ve been so very grateful.

    Each year I tend to look over my life and relationships and make sure that I am relationally connected in three ways: with a very close friend or two who is in the same season of life, someone who is ahead of me (an older woman) and someone who is in the season behind me who I can mentor/encourage.

  • Tracy /halloffamemoms.com

    I pop in once in a while to see what you’re up to Sarah Mae and your post sounds a lot like discipleship. Our church is strong in this and will pair up men with men and women with women. Its what the Lord did and told us to do.

    Matt. 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”