You Can be a Mentor

Leslie Basham: Have you ever read Proverbs 31 and the description of the godly woman and felt inadequate? Well, there's hope. Here's Sharon Jaynes.

Sharon Jaynes: You know, as I go back and look through Proverbs 31 there's one word that's not in that description and that's the word "perfect." She was not a perfect woman. She was still a woman who needed a Savior.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, July 11th. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If I were to ask you who are the older women, that is women who are older than you, who have made the most significant impact in your life, who would come to mind? I'm thinking of some of those women right now.

Then if I were to ask you who is a younger woman in whose life you have made or are making a significant impact, would some names come to mind? If you're a Proverbs 31 virtuous woman, you need to have both kinds of women in your life.

We're talking this week with Sharon Jaynes who is the vice-president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, a ministry that is dedicated to helping women become wives and moms and women of virtue, women who please the Lord and women who glorify God with their lives. Sharon, thank you so much for being with us on Revive Our Hearts this week.

Sharon Jaynes: Thank you Nancy. And thank you too for being a mentor to so many people, so many women.

Nancy: Well, you know you're welcome, and it's been fun for me actually as I've gotten into my mid-forties to begin thinking of myself as an older woman. I remember the days when I was in my early twenties and I was younger than the women I was speaking to and was ministering to. I was so thankful for the women God brought into my life who helped to teach me.

I sat across the table recently from a woman who was forty-years-old and she said, "There's so much Iwant to learn from you." I thought, "Thank you Lord for the privilege both of being a disciple, of continuing to be taught by older women, but thank you now for letting me be in a season of life where I have the privilege of investing in the lives of younger women some of the things other women have helped to teach me over the years." So there really is a joy involved in being in both those seasons of life.

Sharon: I think that one of the joys of being right where you and I are, because we're about the same age, is that we have women on either side of us.

Nancy: Yes.

Sharon: You know what, Nancy? At any age we can have women on either side of us. I think of my niece who is 20 years-old and she's a Young Life leader. Basically, what she's doing is mentoring.

Nancy: Yes.

Sharon: She's mentoring those high school girls. So at any age of our lives we can look back to women who are younger than us. We can look forward to women who are further down the road than us.

I love what one woman said about mentoring. She said, "A mentor is someone who is further down the road than you are, who's going where you want to go, and is willing to help you get there." At any age, I think we can be that woman.

Nancy: So let's back up for a minute and see how we got into this whole conversation on mentoring. I almost forgot myself here. We're talking about basic principles, 7 principles that Proverbs 31 Ministries has identified of what it means to be a woman of virtue and an excellent woman, a woman who pleases God. We've talked about the first 5 principles. Now we come to principle number 6. Tell us what that principle is.

Sharon: Nancy, the sixth principle says that the Proverbs 31 woman speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction as she mentors and supports other women and develops godly friendships.

Nancy: That principle comes right out of Proverbs 31 verse 26, among other verses, that says, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." So lest we say, "I don't have that gift. I'm not a teacher. I can't speak words that would help, bless, and mentor others." This is a calling really for every Christian woman, isn't it?

Sharon: It is. It is something we all can do. You know as I go back and look through Proverbs 31, there's one word that is not in that description, and that's the word "perfect." She was not a perfect woman. She was still a woman who needed a Savior. Jesus still came for that woman. As we're mentors, I think many timeswe're reluctant to do that because we think, "Well I certainly don't have it all together. What do I have to tell someone?" You have a lot to tellsomeone.

Nancy: Sharon, you were in your late thirties when you were first challenged with the thought that maybe it was time for you to start becoming a mentor to younger women.

Sharon: Well, you know amazingly Nancy, I was already doing it, but I didn't realize that I was doing it. I was sitting in a room with a group of women, and a younger woman stood up. She was in her twenties, and she was saying, "We need mentors. We need people to help us. We need people to show us how to be godly women."

I was going, "Yes, yes we do." All of a sudden I realized that she was looking at me, that I was the older woman that she was talking to, that it was time for me to start mentoring other people.

I think that's when God really opened my eyes and said, "Okay, now it's time. Your son is just about to leave the nest, and it's time for you now to take those younger women under your wing." Actually, I'd even came to Christ through a mentor-type woman, and all of my life since I became a Christian I've had one mentor or another helping me in different areas of my life.

Nancy: Who is one of those mentors that stands out? One would be the woman who brought you to Christ when you were fourteen-years-old. Who are a couple of the other women who've made an impact in your life?

Sharon: One woman is Mary Marshall Young. I think now she's in her eighties. It's really hard to tell how old she is; she's so spry. But she was one woman who for about ten years really taught me about who I was in Christ. I had no idea.

I had been a Christian for many, many years, but I realized through her teaching that I was living like a pauper instead of a child of the King. For about ten years she took me through various Bible studies teaching me about what the Bible really said about who I was-how God really saw me.

Another woman that comes to mind is actually a mentor to me now; her name is Sissy Smith. Just watching her, how she lives her life . . . . We have gone to Bible studies together. We've just spent afternoons doing a craft together, and that is what mentoring can be. It can simply be just having someone over to your home and cooking a meal together. We've cracked China and made birdhouses together.

Sissy has had many physical struggles in her life. She's diabetic; she's had a hip replacement; she's had a knee replacement. One way that she's mentored me is by watching her go through all that struggle. She doesn't complain; she's very thankful. She will never know the impact that she's had on my life to be thankful--what countenance am I showing when I'm going through a struggle?

Nancy: So she didn't sit down and do a Bible study with you on how to go through suffering. You've been mentored more by her example.

Sharon: Exactly.

Nancy: Now I can hear a woman thinking about Mary Marshall Young who taught you all these things about who you are in Christ and doing Bible studies with you. Some women feel like, "I'm not an expert. I'm not an authority on the Bible. I wouldn't know how to sit down and disciple another one with the Scripture." Can that woman still be a mentor?

Sharon: She can, and she should be. The Bible says that we all should be mentors. It can be as simple as, like I said, just having someone over to your home, spending time with her, doing laundry together.

If you do want to do a Bible study and you're not sure where to start, there are so many Bible studies out there. They can get one of your studies on The Lies Women Believe. Go through that. Help her with that. Seven principles has a Bible study, very simple. If we share our struggles and don't think we have to have it all together. No one does.

I heard someone say that when all these people come into church with a big smile on their face, all that tells me is that their facial muscles are working, that they're not paralyzed.

Nancy: It doesn't tell what's going on inside or at home.

Sharon: It doesn't honestly. One way we can mentor people is by showing our struggles. I've been so touched this year. God, for six months every day, He has had me in John chapter 20. The way that the disciples knew Jesus was when He showed them his scars.

God has said, " Sharon, don't be ashamed of your scars. That's how people know Me." As a mentor that's what He says. "Don't be ashamed of your scars. Don't be ashamed of your brokenness in your life. Mentor someone else by showing them the wounds that you have."

Nancy: Not just successes . . .

Sharon: Right.

Nancy: . . . but your failures, and what you've learned through those.

Sharon: People learn the most through our failures, not through our successes.

Nancy: Now Sharon, before we actually started recording here today we were talking about the subject of mentoring, and you said something I found interesting. You said, "Don't you find that a lot of older women today really don't want to mentor younger women?" I asked you why that is.

Sharon: Well, I've heard many reasons why. One is that many older women don't think the younger women want to hear what they have to say. So the way we remedy that: if there's a younger woman who's listening today and you're desperately wanting a mentor but don't know how to start, find a godly woman in your church and simply ask her. Most likely she would love to do that.

Nancy: You might scare her if you say, "Will you mentor me?" They'll think, "I don't know how to mentor you." But maybe you could ask her some specific questions or, "Could I just get to know you? Could we just sit down and talk to each other?"

Sharon: Spend some time together; develop a friendship. It might be good to start just going out to lunch together. When that happens you might start asking questions; she might start giving you answers. It can just be a natural flow.

Nancy, I think that another reason that there's not as much mentoring going on today as we would like to see is that some older women are so busy in their own lives. I think about my own grandmother who never drove a car, who never went to a mall, who had a little boy down at the grocery store bring her groceries to her. She wasn't very busy.

It was very easy for me to go and spend a summer with her and learn how to sew and can. Well, it's not like that anymore. Some grandmothers are using this season of life to say, "Hey, you know what? I've worked hard. Now it's time for me to kick back and relax." They're taking cruises; they're taking aerobics. They're in roller blading clubs. Grandmothers are just busier than they were fifty years ago.

Nancy: We don't necessarily want to suggest there's something wrong with doing those things in that season of life, with being active and enjoying life. But I wonder if some of those older women are thinking about, "What am I going to have to show for my life when I face the Lord? What kind of legacy am I leaving? Am I really investing my life in the next generation?" This isn't a time, a season, to just get self-centered, it's a time to really be investing and pouring into the life of the next generation.

Sharon: I have heard women say, "I've already raised my children. I'm not going to do that again. I'm done with that." That breaks my heart because I think of the incredible investment that my grandmother had on my life as a little girl. So if there's a grandmother who's listening, I'm not saying that they have to pour their whole lives into their grandchildren or . . . .

Nancy: But you are saying grandchildren need what those grandmothers have to offer.

Sharon: They do. They really do. I worked at a crisis pregnancy for many years as a counselor. I would have those girls in there, and I would say, "Who had the greatest impact on you spiritually?" Time and time again they would say their grandmother.

Grandmothers can have an important role, but not just grandmothers--older women in the church. Yes we are busy, yes there's so many ways that they can volunteer and get into the community, but I just encourage them to look around and see if there are some younger women in their community or in their church that really could use a helping hand. That can be one of the greatest investments that they will ever make.

Leslie Basham: We received an email that illustrates the point that Nancy Leigh DeMoss and our guest Sharon Jaynes have been making. A listener from Ohio wrote, "Hello Nancy. I'm a thirty-year-old married woman and mother of two small children. I'm encouraged every time I get the chance to listen to you. I feel that throughout my life I've been in a constant search for an older godly woman taking me under her wings and helping, teaching me the ways of life."

God may be calling you to help a woman just like her. If you're thinking, "I couldn't be a mentor," then you'll relate to what Sharon Jaynes writes about in her book, A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life. She has a whole chapter on mentoring. She explains why mentoring is so important and then explains how to do it.

You can order A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by calling 1-800-569-5959 or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. That's also where you can email us about mentoring or anything else on your mind.

How can a wife and mom be effective at helping people who are poor and needy? We'll hear about that tomorrow. I hope you'll be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

Join the Discussion