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Entries in Mentoring (3)

Tuesday
Oct032017

When You Don't Like Your Life Season

Janet Thompson is a mentoring expert who deeply cares about women's spiritual growth. In this Mentoring UPGRADE, she encourages us to consider how God might use each of us in our current life seasons.

"We’ve all heard, 'You’re just in a season, it will pass,'” Janet says. "But what do you do until then . . . or worse . . . if it never passes?"

I (Dawn) felt "stuck" in a season a few years ago, and I heartily agree with Janet's prescription for how to move forward!

Janet continues . . .

Good and pleasant life seasons are wonderful and it’s easy to think God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. Right?

Yet, Ecclesiastes 4:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace.

But when the not-so-good times roll, we need to remember that God hasn’t left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons.

God never abandons His children—a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during today’s challenging times.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually we don’t like a life season because:

  • It’s painful or uncomfortable.
  • We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.
  • We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.
  • We’re discontent or discouraged.
  • We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we just want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season we never want to end.

Most seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers set us up to fail by assuring if we just drink, eat, use, own, the right products, or meet the right people, every season will be heavenly.

The aging clock will stop and somehow God made our life to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season everyone will experience.

What to Do

1. The first thing to do when we don’t like our life season is ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit answers.

It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often, He’s talking but we’re not listening.

Someone asked a Christian friend how he knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does!

Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

2. Next, seek out a Christian woman who has experienced this season in her life and can mentor you in how she made it through like only someone can who has been-there-done-that.

Incredible comfort comes from spending time with a mentor who understands your painful season!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone; but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom.

That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture for the mentor and menteeor for any two womento study together that applies to the various issues they might experience in any season.

Being a mentor doesn’t mean you have all the answers or the Bible memorized. It simply means you’re willing to share your experiences, search God’s Word, and pray together with another woman.

Then one day, she can reach out and help lift up someone else going through a similar season.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you?

Janet Thompson is a speaker and author of nineteen books, the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Visit Janet at www.womantowomanmentoring.com where she writes a weekly blog and monthly newsletter. 

Graphic adapted, courtesy of geralt at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Aug092016

God Harvests Fruit From Mentoring Seeds

With wise words and sweet songs, Dr. Gail Bones invites women to a place of change in Christ and the cross. In this unique UPLIFT/Mentoring UPGRADE, she shares a personal note from someone changed by her ministry.

A decade ago, God allowed me to mentor a younger woman in ministry," Gail says. "Years later, she wrote to thank me for equipping her to invest in the next generation."

We don't often get an opportunity to see how God uses our ministry. I (Dawn) am so glad Gail received this tremendous blessing. It encouraged me to think how God might be using us in ways we don't yet understand.

Gail has truly been a Titus 2 woman, equipping and encouraging younger women.

Gail continues . . .

I’m grateful that the seeds I’ve planted in her life continue to produce a rich harvest.

Her words can serve as an encouragement to all who hear the call to mentor but may feel uncertain as to how to go about it.

You’ll see it took no special talent or herculean effort. We just planned to spend regular time together walking and talking. 

Be inspired by some of her cherished words to me about our mentoring relationship:

Thank you for loving me so well. You cared about the things I cared about. You let me lead out in conversation about things that were on my heart and mind without making me feel silly or juvenile for giving my attention to things that, looking back, seem so shallow.

You affirmed and pointed out my strengths. You let me plan a party for my young adult group at your house and afterwards said, "You are really good at putting on events and bringing people together.” You gave me the confidence to continue to have people over often, even now. 

You told me I had the gift of exhortation and, because of your affirmation, I ask God to use my voice in that way as I minister to the people He entrusts to my care.

One of my deepest cares was whether I’d ever get married. You always told me I was beautiful inside and out, and helped me to believe that God did in fact have someone very special for me who would see me that way too.

You shared your life with me, and were vulnerable, letting me into the good, the bad and the ugly of your life. My admiration for you grew deeper as my understanding of the Lord and his grace through your story changed me. This became part of the spiritual foundation I stand on today, and the hope I cling to in times where I feel like I’ve lost my way. Through your story, I learned that God is gracious, and not only is He gracious, He is good. When we search for him we find he is loving, compassionate, and forgiving.

You were also honest about marriage and family, finances and your self-doubt. That honesty prepared me for my own marriage and life as an “adult.” You gave me the confidence to take life head-on and to not be so afraid.

When I cried, you cried, and you taught me that emotions were okay. Watching you cry made me feel like women can be strong and they can be emotional; the two can co-exist.

You inspired me to read, something that I still love to do today. This has opened my world to new information and wisdom that I use every day in ministry.

Thank you Gail, I love you! 

What impact could you have in the life of another as a mentor if you’d be willing to trust God’s Holy Spirit to guide you? Who is he placing in your path?

Ask the Lord to show you who He has in mind for you to mentor and be mentored by.

Dr. Gail Bones is a speaker, retreat leader, songwriter/worship leader, former professor of education and the founder of CrossWise Living, an intergenerational ministry devoted to helping people navigate change. She and her husband Jeff have two married children. From the east coast but now living in San Diego, Gail says “happiness” means always having one or more of the following in her hands: a dog leash, a sailboat rudder, bicycle handlebars, a kayak paddle, an acoustic guitar, a big fat book or a hazelnut coffee. Be blessed by her Bible studies or her newest CD, "Still," and read more about Gail at her website/blog.

NOTE: The full story of how God brought us together and began my cross-generational ministry can be found in Living CrossWise: Hope and Help for Navigating Transition.

Graphic of strawberries adapted, courtesy of Morguefile.

Thursday
Aug272015

'Personal Trainers' for the Next Generation

Do you have what it takes to be a personal trainer? In this Parenting UPGRADE, Holly Hanson, founder of Moms Inc. at Shadow Mountain Community Church, tells us why the job doesn’t demand spandex—it demands spirituality!

“As Moms, training up the next generation is the only job we actually are required by God to do,” Holly says. “The Bible does not command us to clean our homes—can I get an “Amen”?—it does not compel us to make gourmet dinners, it does not even charge us with the responsibility of making sure our kids go to school in the most expensive jeans or latest clothing fashions.”   

So what's the mandate? I (Dawn) think parental training is a hefty job description, but Holly says it is all possible by simply following the road map laid out in the Bible.

She continues . . .

What the Bible DOES mandate is found in Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (KJV).

1. It says to “train up.”

“When I think about training, I picture an Olympic gymnast training for the gold medal. She didn’t start as strong as she is now. She listened to advice, she studied her craft and she modeled the examples of the greats who came before her.

Our kids are like that gymnast, and we are their spiritual gold-medal trainers.

2. Notice, it does not say “your” child—it says “a” child.

That means we also have a responsibility to our grandchildren, the children of our friends, those at our church, and those in our neighborhoods and our extended families. We have a responsibility to model the behavior and impart the values the Bible gives us, wherever God has granted us influence.

3. We should train up that child in the way he should go.

How do we know the way he should go? It all comes down to our own training.

We aren’t born with deep knowledge of God’s Word. In fact, the Bible clearly spells out that we are born “desperately wicked” with dark, sinful hearts.

 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)

God says we are like sheep who have all gone astray on our own. It’s only through Jesus’ blood and His salvation of our own wicked lives that we are even able to do any good in the lives of others.

But the salvation is just the first part of the equation. God gives us one (or more) spiritual gifts the very minute we are saved, and He expects us to develop and use them. Some of the gifts you may possess could include: Administration, discernment, evangelism, exhortation, faith, giving, knowledge, leadership, mercy, pastor, prophecy, serving, teaching and wisdom.

4. And when he is old, he shall not depart from it.

This brings us to the next generation: US! 

The Bible tells women they are responsible to influence not only the children in this world, but also to influence and train each other.

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:3-5, NIV).

Do you feel like you are ready to share some of your knowledge and training with another woman? If not, do you know someone who is older or further in their faith than you—someone you can learn from?

It’s a long process to maturity.

We need to spend time with our mentors, ask questions, serve under their leadership and watch and imitate what they do.

Our churches will die if there is not a continual line of leaders trained and ready to step into service.

And just because you may be a mom with little ones, don’t think that gives you a pass from growing at this stage in your life. If you don’t start now, you may miss an opportunity in the future because you haven’t done the groundwork to be spiritually mature and ready for it.

I want to challenge you to be ready. Train yourself first. You can’t pass on what you don’t know. You can’t know unless you learn. Time to get started!

How can you become a better “personal trainer” in a child’s life?

Holly Hanson is a veteran Emmy Award-winning journalist who finds her calling in her family motto: “Love God, Serve Others.” Holly has written and produced internationally for Women of Faith, Turning Point Ministries, and locally with KFMB-TV, KFMB-AM and KPBS Radio. She is married and is a mom, step-mom and step-grandma. Holly is active at Shadow Mountain Community Church, serving on the Women's Ministries Council, singing in the choir, and running Moms Inc., a ministry she founded and directs.