When our first child was born, my husband and I were as lost as two ships sailing through the Bermuda Triangle. Both of us were the youngest in our families, in our early twenties, and we were navigating uncharted waters when we brought home our precious daughter. As cherished as she was, she also happened to scream day and night while sleeping only in 20-minute intervals.
Sleep-deprived and with no wind left in my now-tattered sails, I poured out my heart to a woman who had been there before me. With two young children of her own and past the days of midnight feedings, she helped to restore a bit of the hope I had felt when dreaming of the child growing inside me. "This too shall pass," she gently reminded me as her own once-colicky child snuggled beside her, holding my now-sleeping babe in her tiny arms.
It was going to be alright. I could do this, but more importantly, I didn't have to do this alone.
Why you need a mentor
Having another woman who had already survived the newborn days helped to give me a perspective I wouldn't have received elsewhere. She was past those days just enough to remember the emotions associated with them, but with enough distance to have gained insight.
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, sought the company and counsel that could only be found in the understanding of another, slightly more experienced, mom. Just after the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her the amazing (albeit shocking) news of her pregnancy, Mary "went with haste into the hill country...and greeted Elizabeth" (Luke 1:39-40). She didn't walk slowly, or meander along the path. She "went with haste" to see her relative, an older woman in her sixth month of pregnancy.
Maybe you are at the beginning of the journey that motherhood is, or maybe you've been in it a few years and find yourself surrounded by elementary school parties and Little League baseball. Wherever you are, a mom who's already been through both the calm and rough waters of your current stage in life can be a beautiful gift from God.
The apostle Paul knew believers would need the teachings of older generations when he addressed Titus and the early Christians. He wrote, "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled" (Titus 2:3-5).
What you should seek in a mentor
Jot down a list of what you are looking for in a mentor. Does she have experience from mothering a gaggle of girls to guide you on your own journey of raising a daughter to womanhood? Or maybe you feel stuck blending a family that is resistant to the change that stepparents can bring. A fellow stepmom can offer wisdom and reflection from her own blended home.
Whether you seek someone who relates to being a mother to teenagers, or just hope to share a cup of coffee with a woman who can attest to the saying, "the days are long, but the years are short," there are a few things you should seek in a mentor no matter your preferences:
1. A mentor speaks biblical truth.Anyone can give advice. Moms today have far more access to advice, opinions, and suggestions than our mothers and grandmothers. But not all counsel is created equal. She should speak truthfully (even when you don't want to hear it) as one believer to another but also as one in Christ (Ephesians 4:25).
2. A mentor models biblical principles.Speaking truth is important, but does she live out these truths herself? The right mentor should display some Christ-like maturity. No, she won't be perfect. She will be a sinner just like you, but those who live by the Spirit will produce fruit (Galatians 5:22).
3. A mentor should be past your life stage.Let's be honest here. If you needed marriage advice, you would seek godly wisdom from a couple who have been married longer than you and your husband, not the newlyweds who are still celebrating "month-iversaries." Same goes here. You need someone who has been through it to see both the beauty and the brokenness of the motherhood stage God has you in now.
Finding a mentor
Once you've thought through the qualities you are looking for in a mentor, here are some suggestions for how to initiate a mentoring relationship:
Pray for God's guidance. Before taking another step toward finding a mentor, seek God's guidance. Humbly ask God to guide you toward the right person.
Also, keep an open mind. Your heart might be set on a particular woman you admire, but God could have different plans. Trust His timing. He might lead you to someone you wouldn't have thought of, or to someone you haven't even met yet. God wants to help you find a mentor, you just have to lay your request before Him. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).
Ask for help. Talk to your pastor or, if your church has the resources, a women's ministry leader. Ask if they know of someone who would make a good mentor. At this point, if you aren't an active member of a church family, maybe your desire to seek a mentor is God calling you back to His house. A Titus 2 woman will be an active part of the body of Christ.
Take that first step. Approaching a potential mentor can feel a bit awkward. We often fear rejection by someone we admire. Or we are wary of looking foolish. Most women would be flattered to have a younger mother seek their wisdom.
She might even be a little shocked you believe she has something to teach. Invite her for lunch or a cup of coffee. Remind her you aren't seeking perfection, just someone to walk alongside you, encouraging you with "what is good" (Titus 2:7).
Motherhood is full of joy, even if we often feel lost at sea. Having a mentor to help guide you through the ups and downs of raising your children is a blessing from God.
And as you enter the next stage of motherhood, remember your own calling to be a Titus 2 woman. Somewhere, there is a young mother praying for God to send her a mentor. Someone to offer a bit of wisdom—like a simple, "this too shall pass." Someone to help her remember there is hope through both the calm and rough waters of motherhood, and that God is the anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19).
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