Scientists say it’s possible for us to see the light of a distant star, farther from the earth than our own sun, after that star has died. The star might be long gone, but we may still benefit from its light gleaming in the heavens today.
This past week I lost such a star. Marilyn Gaeta was a godly woman who mentored me for almost ten years. The ultimate “Titus 2 woman” (Titus 2:3-5), Marilyn took this (then) young woman under her wings. I was barely thirty when she began encouraging and discipling me in every area of life: marriage, discipleship, ministry, teaching, speaking. Who I was as a wife and who I am as a woman, a Christian, and a ministry leader is due in large part to her influence.
Marilyn encouraged me in countless ways. And she challenged me to grow. She did not shy away from saying the hard things I needed to hear. But she wrapped the truth in love. Her desire was always for my eternal good and God’s ultimate glory.
And now this faithful servant of Jesus Christ is worshipping her Savior face to face before the Throne of God. Our loss is her gain.
The same weekend I received the news of her graduation to heaven, I also received a request to mentor a young woman. She’s the third person to ask for a one-on-one mentoring relationship in the past several years. I say this, not to boast. Heavens, no!
Instead, I say this with continued surprise that anyone would view me in this light. I still see myself as the “younger woman” needing the mentorship of someone older and wiser than myself. Yet the calendar and multiplying gray hairs tell me it’s time to also embrace this season of life. And each time I speak into the life of another, I pray I will be an echo of what Marilyn was to me.
I haven’t—and none of us has—”arrived” in our spiritual walk. And we won’t, this side of heaven. But in the great circle of life, we will almost always find other Christians both ahead of us and behind us on this journey. Regardless of where we are, there’s always someone else we can encourage, disciple, and (dare I say it?) mentor. Don’t wait till you have all the answers. Sometimes the relationship is about seeking those answers together.
*What does this connection look like? For the younger woman, it begins with a willingness to ask and seek as the Holy Spirit prompts. For the older woman, it begins with being willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s prompts to be attentive and open to the younger women around her. And for both parties, it requires a willingness to be real, to be vulnerable, and to see the value in cross-generational relationships.
So where are you in this process? Mentor? Mentee? Or neither…yet?
Will you tell God you’re open to seeing how He might use such a relationship in your life? Then follow as He leads!
*Note: For more information about mentoring relationships, see the resources on the Revive Our Hearts website.