Over five years ago mentorship was a foreign word to me. Today, investing in other people and sharing the kingdom in the most intimate way, with open hearts and a cup of tea has become not only something I believe in with my whole heart but something I think changes the world. There is this author that I am crazy about, Shauna Niequist (if we are friends at some point I have probably bothered you with a quote or been a little pushy trying to get you to read one of her books). She has this chapter called puppies in her book Cold Tangerines where she shares her experiences with mentoring a group of girls in her home town. It is a chapter that has been on my heart to share for a while and I hope through a mix of my words and hers you will feel inspired to invest in people or encouraged to keep it up.
Two years ago I felt God place a specific group of girls on my heart. The girls in my hometown town who I would look at and see myself, my friends and my past. I felt him tell me to go and reach out and I also felt myself tense up and say no. These girls were sophomores and not only that they were scary. If you know anything about sophomores you know that it is the worst of the high school times. Freshman girls are timid and young and they still have some little girl inside of them, and by junior year, they build some identity, some solid blocks of self to stand on. But sophomore year is a free-for-all, a year on the verge of disaster, with all the attending emotion and drama of a bad horror movie. I remembered being a sophomore and was scared that these girls would not only reject me but send me running the other direction to my safe bedroom with a cup of tea and a good book. To make matters worse I really could not remember any of their names, they all seemed to have the same name and not only the same name but the same perfectly ripped jeans from Abercrombie and the same Patagonia pullover. One girl name Marisa I could have swore every day that her name was Melissa. Come to find out that when you are reaching out to share your faith and experiences with someone it is definitely important to know their name! :) When we would get together they would talk about everything from tampons to sports teams, boyfriends to parents and somewhere in that crazy mess of talking I realized that something was changing in me. I realized that their lives started to matter more than them just being some girl from my old school; they started to become the people I prayed most for and the girls I would change my schedule for. I found myself attending more games and dances than I ever thought possible and somewhere between all those times they became more than a girl I mentor they became somewhere between little sisters, friends and an extension of my younger selves. My prayers became wrapped around their term papers, proms and problems. I began to love them and through that love I desired to share my faith and hopes with them. I shared my past and mistakes in hopes that they could use them and build wisdom towards their own decisions. I loved them because of funny, sweet and strange things they did and said, I loved them because deep in my heart I believed that God had placed us both here for this time. This special time where his dreams for their lives are infinitely greater than we will ever know.
Mentoring did this, opening up my heart, home and wallet showed me that God was so much bigger than I ever imagined and that as soon as I give him my most precious possession, my time, he will bless that. These girls are growing up, making better decisions than I could have ever hoped and deciding that God has a future for them. They read Mere Christianity (a task I have yet to finish) and blow me away with their thoughts on our world and culture. Of course they love hard, sometimes with the right people and sometimes with the wrong people. Sometimes they tell me everything and sometimes they try not to tell me things but their friends tell me anyway. These are the moments that I know God is here and he not only has a plan for these girls but he also has a plan for me. That he is walking daily with us and encouraging us to invest in the people around us.