1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8, 12 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
I loved the idea of being a mom. My heart was full of fear, trepidation and excitement as I awaited the birth of my first child. My head went from wondering what this child would look like to who he would become as a person. It was all very exciting! However, in my imaginings, I skipped the middle part; the years of training up that would shape and mold this person into who he would become.
I had no idea it would be so hard and yet I had more children! Where were those sweet little angels I had conjured in my imaginings? Instead, I gave birth to children with a sin nature and a disposition much like my own.
I was in for a battle that God had clearly prepared me for but that I had not seen coming. But because of my love for them, I fought for them with consistency and discipline even when it would have been easier to just let them do what they wanted. I fought for them on my knees.
I read every parenting book I could get my hands on, I poured over the Bible looking for answers. As they got older we discussed the hard decisions and choices and consequences of choosing poorly and the rewards of choosing well. I talked with them even when I knew they weren’t willing to take my sage advice. There were days when I wanted to resign from parenting.
The same was true for me with mentoring. I loved the idea of mentoring. I imagined my mentoree as a young woman, eager to learn, willing to take steps of faith, sucking up the Word of God like a sponge and becoming a mature, passionate Christian. Again, I skipped over the middle part.
Who knew the battles that would ensue for the righteous raising of others? Who knew it would require so much time on my knees? Who knew the agony and powerlessness of watching another walk down an unwise path? Who knew that through these relationships, my faith and reliance on Jesus would increase and my understanding of his grace and mercy would multiply? I did not know then and what I know now is less than I will know tomorrow.
Here is what I do know: I grow. Others grow. We grow together. God is faithful to the parent, to the child, to the mentor and to the mentoree.
3 John 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Oh the joy!!