The amazing women who have poured into my life. Thank you!
Happy New Year family! I hope you had a lovely break and that your 2017 has got off to a good start so far. I’m pretty sure that some of you are making resolutions and goals for this New Year, or you may just be thinking about what you want to do differently in this new season.
One of the things that shifted my life positively was having older sister- and mother-friends who mentored and poured into me. I believe that every young woman needs her Elizabeths and Ruths to help her navigate the difficult terrains of life and to become all she was called to be. I’m hoping that this post encourages just one lady to resolve to pray for and seek out female mentors in 2017.
Let’s look at 5 reasons why I believe every young woman needs older women in her life:
- To Confirm What God has Told You About Your Life’s Purpose: When I look at the story of Elizabeth and Mary, when Mary enters Elizabeth’s house she must have been feeling overwhelmed (read Luke 1:39-45)! She may have even be doubting the purpose God placed on her life because it seemed ridiculous and impossible – I mean falling pregnant as a virgin?! And giving birth to her Saviour!! Yet, the moment she steps into the house, Elizabeth confirms the words that the Angel had just told Mary without Mary divulging anything (Luke 1:42-43). God used Elizabeth as an instrument to confirm His purpose over Mary’s life in case she doubted it at all or couldn’t quite envision it.
Even in my walk, the older women God has blessed me with have confirmed who God has called me to be. Through the revelation and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they see the gifts and capabilities He has put on my life – just like Elizabeth saw Mary’s. They scare me sometimes with how much they believe in that calling yet it encourages me that I am on the right path as I go along and whenever I feel doubtful. God allows only a few people insight into your life and it is these people that He uses to remind you that you’re becoming who He called you to be. It is so vital to have a few of these in your life.
- To Watch Over You: In today’s modern society, we often live far away from home and from the protection and guidance of our parents. Granted we may speak to them regularly but they are not on the ground and cannot fully comprehend the struggles and battles you face. And at times, they may be too invested in you growing in a certain direction that they miss understanding your challenges – from friendships, to career decisions, to romantic attachments and just your spiritual journey. As a young woman you are vulnerable – to hanging around the wrong friends, entering the wrong romantic relationships or even conducting yourself inappropriately at work and you may not see it. In the book of Ruth (Chapter 2), Naomi counsels Ruth about her career decisions and how to glean from Boaz’s field, as well as giving her advice about a potential romantic relationship. She has experience and she imparts her wisdom to Ruth.
Likewise, my mentors have coached me on a whole lot in my own life. They can tell from a mile away whether a guy is just trying to waste my time or not, even if I’m so into him and I try to hide details around him. They teach me about tough but important work ethics. They warn me about the people I let into my space. They pray for and with and over me and my life. They are my watchmen (Isaiah 62:6-7) and they will not tire of bringing me before the throne of God until He establishes me! What comfort, hope and security there is in knowing there are women who have walked through what you are going through and have your back! Especially in the spiritual realm, it is so important to have mature women lifting you up in prayer. The devil is seriously out to wipe you out and you need all the support you can get in 2017!
- They Call You Out and Challenge You to Be Better: I remember shying away from interacting with older people because I had issues with figures of authority and I projected it on any older person. I felt like they just wanted to control me and tell me what to do without understanding me. So I missed out on years of growth and development because of my fears and ignorance. I have come to appreciate that God places mentors over us to call us out on our ugly stuff as lovingly as possible. Unfortunately, because we are human and don’t like hearing the negative stuff about ourselves, we don’t always receive this well. But when we take time to think about and reflect on the feedback of mentors, we realize that it’s for our own good. We realize that they are actually genuinely concerned about our well-being. I am thankful to my sister- and mother-friends who do this with me.
Further to this, they push me to be better. They see my potential and are not satisfied with me being mediocre. This means that they will challenge me and ask me some tough questions. The same way God prunes us and it’s no fun. They get me to face things about myself that I don’t like or that I would rather ignore. This is because they believe in me and know that I can do and be better. I appreciate it now in hindsight and I believe that this is necessary for every young woman.
- To Teach and Prepare You for Future Stages in Your Life: My mentors have gone through things and are in spaces in their lives that I hope to enter one day. Whether that is running their own business; marriage; being a mom; or engaging in personal ministry. They are making waves in their lives and I pray to grow into such a phenomenal woman one day. And you know that they say one of the ways to get insight into the kind of person you’ll be in 5 years’ time, is to look at the people who influence you the most currently. My dad used to say that I should seek to be around people who are smarter and more successful than me and now I realize why.
My mentors have walked the journey I am on, so they understand the snags I will hit and what qualities I need to develop now to be successful later. They teach me by sharing their personal life experiences and by allowing me into their personal space – babysitting their children; attending events they are running; working on projects with them. They teach me by allowing me to observe their interactions with other people and by devotionals and prayers that they share with me. They teach me by being honest about their own shortcomings and humanity. I now understand why the bible encourages us young people to submit ourselves to our elders (1 Peter 5:5a). They have a lot to impart to us. You’ll be entering brand new experiences and stages in your life in 2017, and what better way to prepare for them than to speak to those who have already been there.
- So That You Can Pay It Forward: It is a good principle to share what you have received. Too many young people are messing up bad in life today because they had no-one to guide them in the right direction. If you have been fortunate enough to have someone invest in you, it doesn’t stop there. It is your prerogative to pay it forward. You will bless another young person’s life just by doing and sharing what you saw and received. It will also continue to grow and challenge you as a person. So as you are mentored, take notes that you can hand over to someone else later. Because one day a younger you will need what you have gained. That is one of the ways to be your sister’s keeper.
In a nutshell, it is so important to have female mentors because no man is an island. We all need help and we all need good counsel and guidance. We certainly don’t know it all, and one of the best qualities to have is to recognize this truth and have a teachable spirit.
Do you have older women in your own life who bless you? What is that like? Or do you have a different opinion about mentors? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts around this topic!
Wishing you only God’s best in 2017 and beyond!