Coming Alongside: Blessed to be a Blessing
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Mentoring is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I have been blessed over the years with some wonderful mentors and I hope to be able to pass along that blessing to others.
I just finished reading Sue Moore Donaldson's newest book, Table Mentoring, and I loved it- so practical and inspiring.
It's a pleasure to welcome Sue to the blog today....
In my early 20’s I met Jeanne Garison. Jeanne was wise, gracious, funny, and for some reason, loved me. She showed it by pouring her wisdom into me, her time into my time, her life into my life. Living life with Jeanne alongside made all the difference.
I was a new college grad, starting my first whirl into the real work world—single and facing my first career, a new roommate, a new town and a new church family. Not floundering exactly, but needing emotional, practical and spiritual support.
I don’t remember how we first met one-on-one. I do remember sitting at Jeanne’s table, talking and talking, usually a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other. (It was good to have a pen when I spent time with Jeanne.) I also remember Jeanne’s response: spoken with a smile, a gentle word, often a chuckle of understanding--never a judgment:
“You know, Sue, this is how it was with my mother.”
“Sounds like you could use help in this area – let me get this organized for you.”
“The most important thing you can tell your students is that God is your most important thing.”
You see why I was grateful. Everyone needs a Jeanne.
In my late 20’s I met Karen and Carol, Debbie and Gerri. They were high school Juniors—smart, motivated, filled with dreams and goals, and for some reason, they loved me, too. I asked them one afternoon:
“Would you like to meet with me after school some day--say, Wednesday? We can talk about your dreams and goals, your guy-relationships, your mom-relationships, and most of all, your relationship with God?”
They said, “Yes” and off we went. We met three months, once a week, and then, I sent each on their way: to meet with a Freshman girl. Fresh from our three months, on to a new three months. Table mentoring, one-to-one, one-to-three. Passing on what they knew, what I knew and now, I pass it on to you.
Table mentoring worked. For me, for Jeanne, for high school girls ready to fly. And it can for you, as well.
Do you need a table to Table Mentor? No. But a table imbues intimacy—an elbow-touching-grab-a-hand-in-prayer type of closeness. Maybe not at the first meet-up, but definitely in the mix along the way.
Table, bench, back steps, dorm hallway, coffee house—choose whichever promotes the progress of a hearty sharing. The place or porch doesn’t matter. Taking the time to listen does. Tell a story, gently nudge, cry some, laugh a lot, and give all to the Mighty Counselor before and after and maybe in the middle. Coming together until the misery is out of the commiserate as you both sit at Jesus’ feet.
I love to describe MENTORING as “to come alongside” which is found in The Message version of I Corinthians 1: 3 and 4--
“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” I Corinthians 1:3,4
Two things to consider:
· We mentor another from our own experience of being mentored by God. As we experience God’s “alongsideness” in our up’s and down’s, joys and sorrows, we can more naturally share His overflow with someone who is where we have been.
“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times…”
· We mentor another by getting close enough so that mutual vulnerability is natural and trusted. Authenticity is the vanguard of artless discipleship.
“…He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just a God was there for us.”
You don’t need a table to be a Table Mentor. You do need an ongoing relationship with the Ultimate Mentor, and a bold desire to get close to someone who needs to hear what you’ve learned.
Excerpt from Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside, Sue Moore Donaldson
Sue has generously offered an opportunity to "win" a free 15-minute phone call with her regarding mentoring and the book. She has also offered to give one of you a free copy of the book!
For your chance to win this great package just leave a comment at the end of this post (make sure I have a way to contact you). I'll choose a random name and announce the winner one week from today (9/13/17).
The Delight in Doctrine series will be back on Wednesdays, starting next week! I'm excited to get back into some deep study and to share with you some of the essential tenents of the Christian faith.