I came to know the Lord when I was 18 years old, just before I left home for a small secular college in Maine. I entered college with a fire in my heart to know Jesus more, but with a faith that was fledgling and tender. I joined the Christian fellowship group on campus right away and sought to start walking in the grace of God. I joined a peer-led Bible study and spent time with other believers my age. However, despite our shared faith, most of us students were in a similar place of spiritual maturity. I found myself a young Christian amidst young Christians, and while the community was wonderful, I longed for someone wiser than me to help guide me on my way.
It was during this formative time that I met Lynn. Lynn was an older saint who lived right off campus and had a heart for serving the next generation. She volunteered her time to come to campus and meet with younger women and listen to their stories. I started spending time with her on a regular basis, and so began a sweet relationship that continued throughout my four years of college.
Lynn and I didn’t have any special curriculum we went through together. It wasn’t anything fancy. She was simply faithful to reach out to me regularly. She invited me into her home for breakfast and Bible reading, and she was there with an ear to listen as I walked through difficulties and joys. She was obedient to the call God had put on her heart to speak truth into my life. Lynn was critical in my growth as a believer and I regularly thank God for her influence on my life that kept me on the straight and narrow road.
“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
When I graduated and moved to a different state, I quickly realized how much I missed Lynn and our chats about Jesus and life. Lonely and struggling, far from home, I prayed for a new mentor. As a shy introvert, I took a long time to get to know people in my new church. I had just lost my mom to cancer and I felt a huge void of someone to turn to when I needed both practical and spiritual input and encouragement.
After two years of praying and waiting for God to drop someone in my life like He did with Lynn, I felt the Spirit nudging me to go ask someone myself. Sometimes mentoring relationships develop organically and we find someone without even trying. But sometimes it takes a little more diligence. Realizing this, I stepped out of my comfort zone and asked Trish Donohue if she would consider meeting with me regularly for the purpose of growing in my faith, and we have been meeting ever since. For us, it looks like setting up a coffee date roughly once a month and talking through topics that I find myself struggling with. Trish encourages, challenges, and listens. It has been such a joy!
If you find yourself longing for a little help along your spiritual journey, I highly recommend reaching out to an older woman who exhibits a character you admire and see if they will meet with you. And if you are reading this and are stirred to serve a younger sister, I encourage you to ask around and see who might need some encouragement. You don’t need any qualifications, just a heart to be faithful and a trust that God uses these relationships to bring glory to Himself.