Titus 2:3-5 gives a charge I take very seriously. It instructs older women to be reverent in their behavior and to teach what is good, so that they may “encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” In other words, it calls older women to be encouraging mentors.
I’ve been blessed to have many wonderful mentors in my own life, both past and present. In the same way those ahead have poured into me, I want to pour into the ones who come after. That’s one of my primary goals in writing this blog: to encourage younger women in all these areas. I view writing as one more way to pass along the game-changing lessons experience has taught me about marriage and motherhood.
I don’t think we ever outgrow our need for this, but wise and willing mentors are sometimes hard to find. Do you have a mentor? Somebody who can encourage you along life’s way? If you’re in search of an encouraging mentor, here are some smart places to look:
5 Good Places to Find an Encouraging Mentor
The most natural place for me to find a mentor was in my own family. My mother, grandmothers, and aunts on both sides were all great examples in multiple areas of life and were more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise with me. If you are fortunate enough to have godly relatives, don’t be shy about picking their brain when you have questions!
Most of the time, experience counts for more than age when it comes to finding a good mentor. She doesn’t have to be substantially older than you; if one of your friends is further down life’s road and doing well in an area you want to improve, talk to her about taking you under her wing. Our oldest daughter had a couple mentors while she was in college who weren’t much older than she was. But they had already graduated, gotten married, and had children and were able to provide the counsel and encouragement she craved during that season of her life.
Many churches are treasure troves of wise mentors. Keep your eyes open for older women who have happy marriages, faithful children, and well-organized homes, then learn as much as you can from them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! While I was in college, I was mentored by one lovely older woman from church who volunteered for the job, but the majority of women who have mentored me over the years required a little coaxing. I’d invite one at a time over for dinner or would take them out to lunch, then show up for our date with a legal pad full of questions to discuss while we ate. They co-operated graciously, and I learned a LOT using that tactic.
Schools often assign an academic advisor or guidance counselor to each student, and these can sometimes fill the role of a mentor. This was especially true of the small Christian college my husband and I attended. In fact, one of his philosophy professors was such a good friend and mentor that he ended up serving as a groomsman in our wedding. My husband was an excellent student, and this professor was thrilled to give him extra reading assignments and gladly fielded all the questions my husband threw at him.
Sometimes, circumstances are such that you can’t find a suitable mentor in any of the places I’ve mentioned. Maybe you don’t have any family members worth emulating. Perhaps your friends are as clueless as you are in the areas you find most challenging. Maybe the schools you attended were large and impersonal, or your advisor didn’t seem interested in spending any more time with you than was absolutely necessary. Well, there is still one more source that has provided me with wonderful mentors for every challenge I’ve ever faced… books.
I love books. Books allow you to have a conversation with the author without feeling like you are intruding on his/her valuable time. I’ve learned so much about all those Titus 2 topics — marriage, parenting, homemaking — by reading lots and lots of well-chosen books.
And I keep reading — even now that I’ve moved into that “older woman” category myself. I never want to stop learning, because there will always room for growth and improvement this side of heaven.
Of course, I believe the Bible is the most important book any of us will ever read. That is the book I begin with. Daily. I read it cover to cover every year. It is also the book by which I measure all others.
I don’t care how popular a title is or how many bestseller lists it appears on, if its content is not in line with the Word of God, out it goes.
Thanks for having been a blog-mentor to me about marriage…! Because of your books & insights, I have been able to advise a lot of friends myself. Now that I have a baby myself, I am planning on returning to your blogs about motherhood and reread them to remember the wisdom you shared.
Jennifer Flanders says
You’re so welcome, Constance. I love the fact that blogging lets me get acquainted with women from all over the world. How old is your baby now? I’m so happy to hear God has blessed your marriage with a little one!
I am grateful for being able to read what you write in the USA! Our baby boy is 8.5 months old and everything is going well! It definitely is such a blessing… I often think back about you saying your love for your husband deepened when you saw him cuddle and love on your baby. Well, that’s my daily experience 🙂
Jennifer Flanders says
Your comments make me so happy, Constance. Aren’t babies wonderful! I’m so glad you are enjoying your little boy and enjoying watching your husband enjoying your little boy — and still managing to find time every now and then to read my blog. 🙂 I feel honored.