Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mentoring Mother

In circles where the Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 message is popular, there is a call for older women to teach younger women. This is Biblical, and this is right. It is how God intended it to be. Our modern word for this type of relationship is "mentor". I come across it a lot when I read books on Godly womanhood.

I think that many of us get so caught up in looking for the perfect older woman to teach us and the perfect younger woman or teen that we can mentor that we forget something very important. I was reminded of this while reading Elizabeth George's A Woman After God's Own Heart again recently.

First of all, although not everyone is blessed in such a way, God has given many of us mothers. Some of us are abundantly blessed with Godly mothers. Many more are blessed with mothers who, even if they were not Christians, taught us much of the basics of housework, child care and a loving marriage. We can learn from a variety of older women, but let us not forget that perhaps God gave us all we needed in our own mothers.

The second thing that saddens me and convicts me at the same time is our preoccupation with finding the right "younger woman" to mentor. No matter what your age, as Elizabeth George points out in her book, there is someone younger be it a child, a teen or a younger wife or mother with children younger than yours.

So we should all rush out to find someone to whom to  impart what we have learned, right? Maybe not. Mrs. George's words hit me with great and urgent clarity. She said that the first younger woman (or women) we should seek to mentor are our own daughters. You know the little newborn in your home or that toddler or even the preteen? Yeah, those ones. Glamorous? Inspiring? Spiritual? Ministry? Actually, yes.

Every time our little girls work along side of us , we are training them and mentoring them for the work they will do some day. As we mate socks, scramble eggs, change diapers, scrub floors, roll our eyes at our husbands, sigh impatiently while a little one tries to put on his, yeah. That is our mentoring process. So how are we doing?

Recently, I shared this with my daughter. We went out for coffee, just the two of us. We sat and talked. She told me her struggles. I shared some of mine---past and present. We talked about relationships and what kind of a wife and mama she will be someday. She's only 10. Well, not quite. We talked about birthday party plans, too. Sometimes we have to meet them where they are. Just like God does for us.


  1. Beautiful post, Jennifer, and so true!

    I was raised by my grandmother and I'm thankful for the wonderful woman she was, but I know the ache that comes from needing a "mother-figure". I've seen firsthand the lack of older women who are willing to be a mentor. They are so needed!

    I hope and pray that God will keep what you said in my mind...that I'm to be a mentor to my own daughters!

    Thanks for posting this, and for being such a wonderful example. Your daughter is blessed to have a mother like you!

    1. I agree about the older women. Not sure I agree about my being a wonderful example. I've failed many times at being the kind of mother I'm supposed to be. God is working on me! Thankful for grace.