Who are you encouraging for Christ?

In our women’s ministry at church we’ve started a mentorship program.  This is our first year of the program and we’ve been learning a tremendous amount about ourselves and about being a part of the body of Christ Jesus.  We desire to be doers of the Word of God, not just hearers.  The mentorship program has paired us up with other sisters in Christ and given us a platform to encourage one another.  We have the opportunity to get to know our sisters on a more intimate level than we ever would have at church.

My mentee and I meet around my kitchen table.  We drink tea and share our lives.  We review what is going on with her and what goals she’s trying to reach this year.  I offer suggestions to help her reach those goals and encourage her in her walk with Jesus.  I lift her and her family in my prayers each day over specific issues that she’s asked me to pray about.

I treasure our time together because she is transparent and honest with me in vulnerable areas of her life.  It isn’t often that we have that opportunity to be supported and encouraged in the ways of God at such places in our lives that we most often would not share with others.  She is becoming a dear friend of mine.

But I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this process.  I’ve learned that my expectations and hopes for her are not important.  God’s plan is.  The fact that she is making progress on the path toward God is what matters.  Our building a lasting relationship as part of the Body of Jesus Christ is what matters.  I’ve learned to lay aside my expectations and stand at the ready to be used in whatever small way God wishes to use me.  To be the hands and feet of Jesus means that I can’t be my own hands and feet.

Our mentors did a lot of preparation and education prior to the start of our “Program” only to discover that being a good Christian friend is all that is really required.  I think that our preparation gave us tools to use in being a good listener, giving Godly guidance when needed, and making suggestions of reading materials and scripture memorization, but the expectation that we would walk through this “program” step by step as it was written flew out the window pretty quickly for many of our mentor teams.

We learned that time is precious and people are busy.  Making our time a priority with our mentees is a must.  Relationships are more important than to do lists and extra activities.  Teaching others how to have margin in their lives and how to prioritize their relationships with people over other activities is a slow process.  Learning to say “No thank you” to good things will free up some space for us to live abundantly as Jesus wants us to and to have space to be available for others when they need us.

God is at work in our church.  He is at work in many ways including in the lives of our mentors and mentees.  He is using us in building His kingdom in ways that we did not imagine.  Because we were willing and prepared, he equipped us even further to step intentionally into the lives of other women to listen to their hearts and to learn to love them well.  Our motto is “Women in Christ, Women in Community” and we are striving to attain both.  God and His Holy Spirit do the work of changing hearts and changing lives.  We can only be support and encouragement for those on the path toward Jesus.  It has been quite the journey and an abundant blessing and honor to be included in this plan.

Father God, use me as You see fit to touch the lives of others in ways that demonstrate Your love for them and Your plan for their lives.  Let them see Jesus and follow after Him.  Help them have a love for Your Word so that it becomes a lamp for their feet and a guide for their path.  Pour out Your wisdom on the mentors and put Your words in their mouths so that they can speak encouragement to their sisters in Christ.  Help us not to be arrogant but humble as we guide and suggest ways of reaching their goals in a manner that pleases You and brings glory to Your name.  Amen.

Love others well.  Be intentional about your relationships.  Create some margin in your own life so that God can use you to be a blessing and an encouragement to those who need it.

Seek and follow after Jesus.  Be encouraged.  Press on.

1 Thessolonians 5.11

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