“Don’t drink the poison.” Tiffany’s blue eyes stared into mine. No, I wasn’t a Disney princess trying to avoid an evil witch. I was a senior in college struggling to ignore negative comments from a close friend. Tiffany listened to my story then handed me a timeless truth. While I could not stop the negative comments from my friend, I could refuse to “drink the poison” (not take the hurtful words to heart). Tiffany is a beautiful mom of three who works part time and serves faithfully in her community. She was also my mentor for my final semester of college. We met once a week in a local Starbucks and talked about our lives, specifically, how to incorporate Jesus into our day to day routines. Though it’s been a long time since I last met with Tiffany, when I get in a tough situation I still hear her southern drawl reminding me “don’t drink the poison.”
Think back on your own life—have any men or women encouraged your faith? Who are they? How did they influence you?
Like a loving gardener, mentors help nourish us to our full potential. They train our branches to grow in a healthy direction. They prune the dead boughs and provide warmth through their loving acceptance. Mentors point us back to the living water, our source of life.
In Titus 2, Paul calls older women to teach younger women sound doctrine and equip them to live godly lives (mentoring). The term “older” does not necessarily denote age, but wisdom gained from following the Lord. By these qualifications, all of us are both older and younger women.
So I ask you—do you have an “older woman” of the faith teaching and equipping you to follow Jesus?
Many women hear the word “mentor” and feel intimidated. We look at our already packed schedules and wonder how we will cram one more meeting into our week. We think that older women won’t want to spend time with us. What if we don’t know any older women?
Jesus engaged in many different mentoring relationships. Some were sustained over a long period of time. The twelve disciples along with several women walked with Jesus for the entirety of his three year ministry. Other relationships were more brief: the woman at the well (John 4), Nicodemus (John 3), the rich young ruler (Mark 10) were all quick moments of equipping, teaching and influencing—also known as mentoring. You may be looking for someone to meet with you weekly, but a mentor can also check in once a month. You don’t need to meet over coffee, maybe you can cook together or even chat while your cars go through the car wash.
If you would like to find a mentor, begin by interacting with women in your local church. Join a Bible Study or try to sit in the same section of church each week. Remember the names of women around you and ask about their lives. If there is a woman who you enjoy talking with, ask her to lunch or coffee! Once you do, keep an eye out for these two important qualities to look for in a mentor:
- Available. Your mentor needs to be able to meet with you to mentor you! If she can’t find a time to get together in the next few weeks, she may have too much going on to be involved in your life. Don’t expect her to drop everything to speak with you, but don’t choose someone who is already overcommitted.
- Admirable. Is there a woman who models a trait you admire? I picked Tiffany because of her boldness. She speaks the truth even when it feels uncomfortable, but she always seasons her speech with grace! Is there a woman in your community who is strong where you are weak? See if you can learn from her.
If you enjoy your time together, ask if she is free to meet again the next month. Many mentoring relationships take place without ever attaching a label. Make it a point to talk with her about areas you want to see growth. Seek her advice about how to handle a sticky situation. Work through a book of the Bible together.
Following Jesus was never meant to be a solo sport—it is a team activity. Search for some older women to have on your team. Because the truth is, we all need someone to remind us, “don’t drink the poison.”
About The Author
Allie Mock grew up in Sugar Land, Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A&M University and will graduate with a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary in December 2018. Allie enjoys exploring the great outdoors, being silly, and teaching the Bible. She currently serves as an intern for HeartStrong Faith.