6 Marks of Christian Mentor: Young Moms Guide to Finding a Mentor

christian mentor for young moms

Your love affair with your child begins the moment you hold that squirmy vernix covered, beautiful being against your heart.  Suddenly, you and your baby lock eyes, transfixed, while the rest of the world bustles about, nothing matters more at that moment than the life that you cradle.  Your heart immediately transforms from a me-heart to a mom-heart, and you will view the world through a different lens from that moment on.

The “just had a baby honeymoon phase” soon comes to a screeching halt as life and motherhood compete for your time and attention.  Balancing motherhood and life can be a daunting task, which some women do well while others are left feeling empty and lonely. 

Sometimes the noble calling of motherhood requires insight from a seasoned mother who has tackled motherhood from toddlerhood to teens, someone to walk next to you as you blaze your trail through motherhood.  A mentor is the one person who reminds you to take your child by the hand and go dance in a mud puddle instead of folding laundry.

What are the Makings of a Christian MENTOR?

Our congregations and communities are full of women who embody the right stuff to make a great mentor.  These women have weathered life and have come out on the other side full of experience and perspective.

1.  Ministry

Mentoring is a ministry, and ministry is an investment.  A mentor must first have the time to serve, which means that her children have probably left the nest.  In the early days of my parenting, I often called on an older woman in our church for advice on marriage, child rearing, or whatever bared down hard on me that particular day.  Nothing beat listening to the voice of an older mom who understood my momentary plight.

2. Equipping, Encouraging, and Exhorting

A mentor not only brings experience to the relationship, she willingly equips young moms in the area of motherhood by offering prayer, help, and friendship.

Bringing experience to the relationship and offering to equip you emotionally, a mentor also imparts words of encouragement.  Encouragement fortifies you as a mom.  An experienced mom-mentor knows whether encouragement is befitting or if an exhortation is the required tactic.

As a newbie mom, I took my talent of multi-tasking to a crazed level.  It took a lovely, older mom from church to tenderly point out (exhort) that while my endeavors served noble intentions, I risked missing out on those blissful moments of motherhood that often requires a mom to be still and wait as they unfold.  She imparted the golden nugget of advice that I cling to today even after decades of mothering and decades more to go.

A mentor balances teaching and modeling without enabling.  She doesn’t do the work for you.

3.  Nurturing

Paul Tripp defines redemptive relationships as “God daily gives us opportunities to serve the troubled, angry, discouraged, defeated, confused, and blind.”   A mentor can empathize with the demands that motherhood brings, and does so in a way that nurtures your walk with God.  In times of trouble, she reminds you to focus on your vertical relationship with God; then she directs you to the horizontal relationships that are right in front of you.

Ask her to tell you her story of struggling as a young mom and how God helped her through the difficult season.  A worthy mentor makes God the hero at the end of the story.

mentoring mothers

4. Time

I once thought I had the perfect mentor, and maybe she could have been, except she lacked the time to engage in our relationship.  We just didn’t have the time to get to know one another.  Mentors need time to ask the right questions, the time to listen, the time to reflect on your circumstances, and the time to pray for you.

5.  One Another-ing

I am ashamed to admit, but there was a time in my life that if a mentor came along with bubblegum pink hair and piercings in all shapes and sizes, I would have run the other way.  Spiritual maturity and experience have taught me otherwise.  Profoundly, Rosaria Butterfield reminds us, “We may never know the treacherous journey people have taken to land in the pew next to us.”

Parable of The Shampoo Girl:

There is an older woman at the salon where I get my hair done who is the shampoo girl.  Her arms are decorated with half sleeve tattoos, well, if a picture is worth a thousand words this sweet lady wears a novel.  I get up close and personal with her multiple piercings as she bends over to massage my scalp with her trance-inducing magical shampoo girl touch.  The colorful tattoos coupled with her crimson lipstick set against her bleached white hair causes an introvert, run-of-the-mill mom like me to gulp for air.  Shampoo-girl is a redemption story who unabashedly tells her story to anyone who reclines in her chair.  Had I dismissed shampoo-girl based on first impressions, I might have missed out on a modern day woman at the well. (Psst… if you haven’t read this story, click here for one of the greatest redemption stories ever told).

As you get to know your mentor, you will have the privilege of listening to her as she unpacks her beautiful redemption story.  You might find yourself at Panera sitting across the table with a mentor like shampoo-girl.  Because of her redemption story, she wants to unveil biblical truth and show you how to respond to it and how to apply it to your life.

 6.  Resources

As a busy mama, you might not have the time to investigate potential resources to equip you as a mom.  More than likely, your mentor has bookshelves lined with gospel-saturated resources.   She knows what works and what doesn’t work.  Most importantly, she knows you and what you need.  Your mentor knows if you need help in scheduling your day or if you need direction in digging deeper into scripture or how to deal with a strong-willed child.

Don’t travel the motherhood road alone.  Pray that God sends a mentor, whether she is the shampoo-girl sort or the seemingly ordinary sort, embrace the relationship.

Share your mentoring stories with us.  What insights has your mentor brought to your relationship? 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Dawn on July 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm
    Such wise words here today. I wouldn't be where I am without the women and the mommas who spoke grace right into my soul. I had to look hard for them, too... especially when we started homeschooling. It seemed like everyone was hiding when I asked who educated their kids at home all those years ago. With 2 children graduated and one in her 2nd year of high school we have certainly come so far and it is a different dynamic. I find I am often the momma who is called on for advice and now the women who are mentoring me are teaching me that life still turns fully when the kids are done schooling. The reality is a truth you write here, we need each other and we need women who are going to love us like Jesus and pray with us like their lives depended on it. It was around that prayer table that the mentoring mommas, discipling sisters, and kindred-heart friends taught me what it means to be loved in community. Thanks for this sweet reminder of what I am so deeply grateful for and thanks for sharing this at the #GraceMoments Link Up! I hope you'll join me there each Thursday with your words. Blessings, Dawn
    • Denise Sultenfuss on July 7, 2017 at 7:35 pm
      Thanks Dawn for your insightful comments. Glad we met at #GraceMoments Link up. We do need one another, that is for certain. God is so gracious that he filled your life with the rights women at the right time.
  2. Brenda on January 4, 2018 at 5:28 pm
    Denise, such a needed part of our lives that is often overlooked. I've often thought I wished I could be a fly on the wall of a stable christian home, so I could know if I'm doing this mama thing well. My husband and I came out of dysfunctional homes, so we're kind of making it up as we go and hoping it's right. Ya know? (I've heard that termed "pioneer parenting" before.) --- But, you're so right, it means a lot to me to hear the wisdom and advice from others who've gone before me. --- And, now that most of my kids are adults, I try to be that for others when I'm able. --- The Titus 2 woman in practice, I suppose. :) Thanks for sharing this today, Denise, and Happy New Year! ((hug))
    • Denise Sultenfuss on January 4, 2018 at 8:51 pm
      Hey Brenda, good to hear from you again! I like that term "pioneer parenting"; I think we ll have a bit of that in us. Thank you for sharing here today. Happy New Year to you as well. I enjoy visiting your blog!
  3. Robin on January 4, 2018 at 6:50 pm
    I have a passion for mentoring and it is due to the women in my life that came along beside me and sistered me. Women who spoke favor and blessings over my life and saw something in me that I could not see. Mentoring is reciprocal and due to their support and encouragement, I serve as a mentor to pay forward the kindness and support to others as I received. Thank you for sharing and reminding us the importance of mentoring!
    • Denise Sultenfuss on January 4, 2018 at 8:48 pm
      Thanks for stopping by today Robin. I agree that mentoring is a necessary ministry in the church. I, too, have had a few incredible mentors over the years.

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