Just Like Breathing
We have seen the transformation that comes from women of different generations learning from one another and we hope for this experience for each one of us. Our mentoring program encourages women to bravely step out in willingness and say ‘yes’ to mentoring those younger than them and encourages younger women to allow someone who has gone before them to speak into their lives and walk alongside them. We hope this blog written by one of the mentors in our program encourages you right where you are at in your journey…
Mug of orange blossom tea in hand, Kyla plopped herself at my kitchen table and announced, “I need some serious help.”
She wasn’t joking. I glanced from her creased brow to her infant son, asleep in his bouncy seat at her feet. Kyla’s hubby was interning at a local church, preparing to be a church planter, an experience replete with its own set of stressors. This was not her first cup of tea at my table. After moving to the community, they had lived with us the first month until they found their own place, so we already had a comfort level with one another. Yes, I had more years of life experience, but no, that didn’t make me a guru.
I sat down and took a deep breath. “What’s up, Ky?”
“I’m spending too much on groceries,” she explained. “Can you teach me how to work a grocery budget?” Whew! I let my breath out. So much easier than world peace! Or domestic peace, for that matter. I think I have a shot at this.
She had done the math. The amount she had spent on groceries for the past several months was unsustainable on their meager income, so after a few probing questions, here’s what we knew: To feed two adults she was spending more than I was spending to feed my family of five. She was a foodie, trying several new recipes per week, the more exotic the better, and she never gave grocery specials or coupons a second glance.
Together we identified some starting points. I shared my weekly meal-planning strategy based on what’s in the fridge or pantry and what’s on sale rather than what might feel more inspiring or trendy. With the food pyramid as our guide, we compiled a list of interesting go-to menus that promised optimum nutritional bang for the buck. As a nod to her gourmet ambitions, she opted to allow herself two indulgent meals per month and we explored wallet-friendly substitutes for a few of the more spendy recipes she had lined up.
Then we scheduled some play dates. We picked berries and made jam. We transformed my bumper crop of apples into applesauce. Like two wannabes making a YouTube tutorial sans video cam, we redirected her creative cooking energy toward practical ends. To appease her inner foodie, we splurged on making half dozen pints of spiced apple rings and some dilly green beans.
The big bonus: All that peeling, chopping, measuring, stirring, and timing of the bubbling canning kettle provided endless hours for us to discuss life’s perplexities. Husbands, kids, goals for the current phase of life, pet peeves, priorities, boundaries, spiritual disciplines, what we’d like to be doing ten years from now.
And before either of us knew it, a mentoring relationship had taken shape. Just like that. Who knew it could be so organic?
It felt like breathing.
We never really formalized the terms of our mentoring relationship, probably because it felt so natural; we were both pretty straight shooters and trusted that neither of us would allow the other to take undue advantage. Also, I sensed that she was a strong enough person that I needn’t worry about over-dependency.
She proved me right. Her resourcefulness kicked in on its own power and she was soon compiling her own set of menu tips and savvy tricks to share with me. From food prep we branched out to wallpapering her bedroom. When we ran out of hands-on jobs we took walks with the stroller and shared what we were learning from scripture, where we were challenged in our own personal growth. We shared dilemmas we found difficult to reconcile. When no ready answers emerged we searched together for resources, often leading each other to a good book or a helpful article or sermon.
Alas, the day came when our family helped Kyla and her husband pack a U-Haul, waving good-bye as they headed to his first church-planting assignment. Kyla moved on, not just to a different state, but she also moved on to other mentors in her evolving life phases. As her family grew from three to six, she continued to work intentionally at becoming the woman she believed God wanted her to be.
Before she knew it, the woman she had become was sharing her own journey, mistakes made, lessons learned, fears conquered, goals realized, triumphs celebrated, with others in her sphere of influence. She found herself in that blessed sweet spot, being mentored by some while mentoring others. Taking in and giving out in the rhythm of her life’s routines. Taking in and giving out. In and out. Just like breathing.
Can you identify the people in your life whose personal input is helping you grow? Are you aware of those around you who could benefit from knowing more about your journey with Jesus?
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
Are you interested in being in a mentoring relationship? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the Collide Mentoring Program.