She’s a mess and she knows it.
Life has slapped her around hard and it doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.
Her back story is unusual enough she could probably pen a best-selling memoir. She’s actually started it but then left off after a few chapters. Some things are too painful to write down.
We were joined together in a professional mentoring relationship, she and I, but after one Starbucks trip, we discovered we knew each other as sisters—the eternal kind.
Each Thursday at 10 a.m., you would find us in that same Starbucks, going over the finer points of marketing. How to please your boss. How to show up on time. How to sit at a desk for eight hours a day and not go mad.
As the months rolled on, I grew to passionately admire this young woman. She, who had so much promise but also had to escape the legacy of some pretty deep junk. I grieved each setback she brought to the table. I marveled at how she rose to face one more day. Through each challenge, I tried to whisper, “You are a daughter of the King.”
I gave her my attention. I gave her my love. Because you see, I am a mess, and I know it.
Being a mentor means a lot of things, but it also means you face yourself each week over Starbucks. Except it’s you 15 years ago. And there are no grays, and no pesky lines. The younger you is ready for life, thinner and supposedly more optimistic.
But my mentee wasn’t optimistic or perky. And I didn’t blame her, not one bit. Life had chucked too much pain and heartache her way. What could I offer her, me whose life couldn’t be farther away from her very real anguish and suffering?
There was no rule book, no set of guidelines I could Google. So, I brought myself. I listened, I cared. I looked into her eyes and gave her hard truths when she needed them. She started attending my Bible study. I prayed for her. And when she had a setback at work, when her internship started to cave in on her, I took a deep breath and we picked up the pieces.
In short, I refused to give up on her. Even when the world was ready to kick her teeth in—again. I didn’t give up because the King doesn’t give up on me. Am I perfect? Oh, heavens, no. But I have learned to walk and pray. To sigh and pray. To whisper to Jesus, “I am a big mess. Take it and do something that matters.”
I guess you could say my first and best mentoring relationship happened between my God and me. We sit together, journal, pen and Bible at the ready, and I say, “I blew it this time. Can we start again?”
And there, the King of Love tells me ever so gently, “Yes. Don’t you know how loved you are? Don’t you know I fixed everything so that we would never be apart?”
Finally, one day, there was good news. My mentee breathlessly told me she was accepted into a great school and all of her previous college credits would transfer. Her parents would pay the tuition. This part of life, it seemed, would be blessed with abundance.
May we mentor younger women with our hearts filled with empathy and hope. May younger women seek the counsel of smart and caring women. Whatever side of the bistro table we find ourselves on, may we clasp hands and whisper with courage, “Your mess is no match for my God. Let me show you what He can do.”
By Jennifer Fenske, Pale Pearl.Leave a Comment