The door opens.
She’s in front of me, a smile stretched across her face. She wraps her arms around mine and welcomes me in.
“Come on in,” she says. I follow behind her.
We go into the kitchen. Hot coffee is waiting. She pours it into a mug she’s set aside just for me. I grab the cream and sugar and move toward the table.
There’s a place card there. My name is lettered in swirly script, marking my place at her table. Without uttering the words she tells me I belong here.
This happens a handful of times each month, these days with Moira.
She’s known me since I was six, perhaps even younger. She’s one of my best friends’ mom. Exactly forty years span between us, but you’d never know. We just click.
Every few weeks Moira and I get together. There is always tea or coffee. We always sit around her table. I always stay hours longer than I intend to. I always leave grateful.
I did not know the importance of mentorship until last year. I’m not even sure if Moira knows she’s mentoring me; it feels more like friendship. There was never a formal agreement signed. I never asked her, “Will you be my mentor?”
But somewhere along the way we started hanging out more regularly and talking about what it looks like to be an apprentice of Jesus.
Last week we celebrated the month-long internship I accepted that will take place in England this summer. I brought scones and clotted cream; she supplied jam, and cups and cups of tea. We ate her birthday cake and chocolate-covered strawberries. (Afterward, I wondered if I should make a pit stop at the gym.)
Moira celebrates with me in the good. She’s mourned with me in the sad.
My book launched in the summer. The day after it launched, I felt empty— as if my dream were over and completed. I remember wondering what my purpose was now that my dream had been “fulfilled.” Moira looked at me and said, “You have to slow down enough to enjoy this. You’re too quick to start the next thing. Rest in this.”
Each time I go to her house for our bi-weekly catch-up, I take a deep breath and slow down. I soak in what she’s learned in her life about Jesus but also what she knows as a writer and communicator and as a wife and a mother. She teaches me a lot.
Find a mentor.
I understand finding a mentor might be hard. What do you do if you don’t know someone who sounds like Moira?
First of all, you don’t have to use the big, scary “mentor” word. Mentor is just a fancy word for someone who is a tiny bit more experienced than you. Maybe you’re a single college student and you want to chat with a woman who has been married for a few years. Or maybe you have babies and you want to talk to a mom whose kids are in high school now. Don’t get caught up in needing to establish “mentorship.” Just ask someone to coffee who happens to be a little farther down the road than you. She’ll delight in talking to you about what she knows.
Be a mentor.
So if mentor is a fancy word for someone who is a tiny more experienced than you, that means you can be a mentor to someone else. That idea can feel terrifying. How am I supposed to pour into someone else? I barely have a grasp on how to follow Jesus myself. What if I say the wrong thing?
But the truth is you have something to offer. There are a few girls in my life who are a couple years younger than me. I take them out to dinner or coffee. I listen to what is happening in their lives, and then I tell them what God is doing in my own life. If you’re actively seeking God, you will always have something to offer someone.
Find your Moira and then be one for someone else. You’ll be grateful, and so will she.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I firmly believe that you are never too old or too wise to have a mentor. I’m 57 and still have mentors who have walked this earth longer and speak truth into my life. I couldn’t have gotten through some of the things that happened in my life without them. You also don’t have to have just one mentor. I’ve also learned that though I certainly haven’t “arrived” and won’t do so this side of heaven, I can impart wisdom to those who come behind. Got spells out this role in Titus and so I like to think of mentors as “Titus women” – older women teaching the younger women. It’s scriptural. Good for you for seeking someone out. When I was younger, much of the time I thought that “I knew it all.” How sadly mistaken I was. Agreeing to be a mentee takes humility and that comes hard to many of us human-folk. Best wishes on your internship!
Aliza Latta says
That’s right, Bev. I’m always grateful for your wisdom here too. Thanks for the internship wishes! xx
Michele Morin says
I have stepped into this challenge this year, and have begun meeting with a friend for time in the Bible, just as a dear friend (now with the Lord) did for me so many years ago. I love picturing the chain of faith that stretches in both directions, before and behind us.
May it never be broken!
Aliza Latta says
That’s amazing Michele! I love picturing that too.
Anastasia Corbin says
I love mentors! I am beyond blessed with my mentor and feel humbled to be mentoring a friend. It’s a precious gift! I encourage you to be patient and pray for your mentor. I asked one person who I thought for sure would work out but God had other plans. A few months later He brought my mentor into my life. She is beyond what I could have imagined. God is so good!
Aliza Latta says
That’s so beautiful, Anastasia! Thank you for sharing.
Joey Rudder says
A beautiful post. Thank you, Aliza. Your precious time with Moira reminds me of the years I spent sipping strong (I mean STRONG) coffee with my grandma, the conversations and the laughs, the tears and the hugs. She left this earth to be with Jesus in 2006 and I still miss those hugs and the sound of her voice, the way we’d poke fun at each other and share our hearts without skipping a beat. She taught me so much about so many things, and it’s hard to imagine I have anything remotely close to that to offer to anyone. But while I was reading your post, God tapped me, showing me a friend in my heart. I’m going to pray God teaches me to love more, to listen and focus more intently, and to be there for her with arms open wide and strong (that’s right!) coffee to help her on her journey. Perhaps I don’t know what in the world I have to offer, but I can offer her something my grandma offered me: time.
Thank you again for this post. You’ve taken me into my grandma’s kitchen this morning and reminded me how blessed I was to have her in my life and how I have the hope of seeing her again one day…the scent of strong coffee on her breath, perhaps, as she wraps her arms around me and welcomes me home.
Blessings to you!!
Ahh.. can’t write.. I’ll just weep
Thanks for the memories.. mine was my pop pop ❤️
Joey Rudder says
Sending you a big hug right now, Sadie.
Aliza Latta says
That is amazing, Joey. Your relationship with her was beautiful. And I love how Jesus stirred within your heart another friend!
Beth Williams says
You are wise beyond your years. Being and having a mentor is simply about sharing time with others. Sometimes all someone really needs is a friend to listen. Hear them out & simply tell them you love them & pray with & for them. Young people think they know everything. Truth is none of us does. We could all use friends to sit with us like Job had. No need for fancy words-just companionship. I have a good friend. It just so happens we both went through aging parents at same time. We would call each other several times a week to check on the status. We’ve gotten closer since then as both lost parents. Nothing is sacred between us. We enjoy our time together. Having gone through the aging parent time I have wisdom to offer others. God allows trials & tribulations in this world so that with the comfort we received we can comfort others. Don’t think of it as looking for or being a mentor. Look at it as finding a good friend & sharing your life’s wisdom with them.
Aliza Latta says
“Don’t think of it as looking for or being a mentor. Look at it as finding a good friend & sharing your life’s wisdom with them.”… That’s exactly right, Beth. THank you so much!
YES! Recently I found out that someone younger than me is starting to go through something I have been through and am still coming out of. I am excited and encouraged that someone else is experiencing this, because I can help. But it also holds me accountable, because what I tel her, I gotta do to. 🙂
Aliza Latta says
That’s amazing to hear, Mary Margaret! I’m excited for you!
We have been blessed to be a blessing!
So very true – i’m always telling people: you all know someone younger and older – now, go be alongside. Super post and message. (:
Aliza Latta says
That’s right, Sue. Thank you!
Thank you for your advice, wisdom.
I have been Praying for a mentor – yet to Meet her but There is Power In Prayer! Thank you for reminding me that age is not the most important but looking for someone who is wise and been through some of these issues, medical issues, blood family issues and other issues that I am going through, the Truth of my relatives and friends, Given to me By Grace through Faith In God Jesus Christ. The Truth is not always easier but it is certainly better than living in the darkness of lies and the affects on me and PTSD as well as other medical and emotional issues, I continue to Pray for another mentor. My daddy was my mentor before God Called Him Home almost 29 years ago when I was 11. Many Thank you’s to each of you for your responses and sharing it has most certainly lifted my Spirit Up and I am so Thankful for each of you! God Blessed you all thank you for Blessing me with each of your own testimonies. God Bless you all my Sisters In Christ Jesus Amen
Rebecca Jones says
Such a great story. I often read about women who have someone in their lives like that. I hope a can give a little of that from my blog, I don’t feel like I have a world of experience, but I have Jesus, and He is my world. I wish I had had someone when I was younger. I hope you enjoy England, I have a blogger friend Rachel Britton who from there, her son is in college in London, I believe.
I lost my Moira nearly 4 years ago when a life-long disease claimed her life, and haven’t truly found someone I can connect to the same way. Maybe it was Rachel’s laid-back, easy way of loving and sharing wisdom. I know there are other women out there, but I have a high standard after Rachel. I just desperately miss her, so very much.
SHARING! So good! Mentorship has been a big part of my training and time in the ministry of global missions. I am thankful to have found a mentor over here and to have begun mentoring a young girl who has come to our church. I am humbled that God would continue to both use me and teach me despite my many flaws.
Becky Keife says
Aliza, I was just talking about mentorship with a friend today in a similar vein! I love how you demystify what it looks like to mentor and by mentored — such joy and value in just sharing a slice of life and hearts together. So glad you have Moira and your younger heart sisters have you. xx
Am looking for a regular mentor. We are serving in India and feel alone and as we are mentoring people, I feel that I need one too 🙂