A little food for thought: When’s the last time you chatted with a thirty-year old Jesus follower? Or prayed with a group of forty-something sisters in Christ? Have you ever soaked up the truth of an eighty-year old grandmother?
Kayla craves scenarios like these. She’s eighteen and looking for guidance. At church, though, Kayla rarely spends time with older women. Bible classes are divided by age, with teens on one side of campus, adults on the other. During services, there’s a designated youth section where, according to Kayla, no sane adult would venture. Maybe she’s exaggerating, but Kayla’s on to something: “It’s time to mix it up,” she says. “I’m tired of hanging with peers all the time. I need an older mentor, a woman who challenges me spiritually, who encourages me.”
What do you think about Kayla’s craving? Would you welcome an older, more experienced woman of faith in your life? Perhaps Kayla’s right: Maybe it’s time to mix things up.
Last summer I witnessed the ideal mix-up. Rachel was twenty-one and struggling, so on a whim I asked her to Bible study. Here’s the twist: Every woman attending the study was over forty. What was I thinking? Surely Rachel would feel awkward, even bored, as the “older hens” cackled about jobs and kids and hormone talk she wouldn’t understand.
But she wasn’t bored. During the first session, Rachel was all ears, taking notes and chewing on every word. After we left, she was ecstatic: “Wow! I was blown away! You ladies have the coolest perspectives! And do you know that four—FOUR—women pulled me aside to pray? Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Young Mia also wants to hang with Christian women. Personally, I love her creativity: You see, Mia hopes to live with her mentors for a week to observe them. Yes, you read this correctly—She’ll bring a suitcase, follow them around, and record their daily encounters with Christ. “Can you imagine the wisdom I’ll gain? Learning from spiritual giants, up close and personal!” she gushes. So far, no takers, but Mia’s desire confirms a need: Young women want to do this Christian thing right, but finding someone who’ll teach them can be challenging.
Perhaps you’d enjoy learning from your own personal woman of God. How would you find someone who’s willing and spiritually mature? Here are some tips from young ladies like you who’ve successfully mixed it up, mentor-style:
1) Ask God to send you someone. Sounds basic, but it’s the first step. He will help you notice the women around you, locating the perfect fit. God will put you in the right place to meet the right mentor at the right time.
2) Put yourself in the company of women who honor Christ. Sign up to volunteer for activities that usually appeal to the older crowd. Show up, introduce yourself, and be a fly on the wall, soaking up their wisdom.
3) Share with your pastor and youth minister a desire for a mentor. Maybe they could appeal to a women’s group in your church. Ladies are willing to invest in your life if they know you’re interested.
4) Keep it simple at first. Meet for lunch or a walk a couple of times a month. Read a Christian book together, perhaps, then discuss. Or share prayer requests via text. Over time, the bond will grow, and you’ll have a seasoned warrior of God in your corner.
5) Consider whom you can mentor. Which tween or young teen admires your walk with Christ? Sit with her in church. Go to her soccer game. Memorize scripture together, and pray with her. She’ll never forget you or the Savior you’re helping her see.
If you’re blessed with a woman who strengthens your walk, I’d love to honor her name–Leave a comment if you’d like, along with how she’s encouraged you. And let’s thank God for mentors who model the way: “…Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-12).