When Your Struggles Are Used For Good

Growing up I never really understood the importance or the reason for someone older to “mentor” me. All I knew was that I was the oldest sister, so I was the one giving the advice and wiping the tears and being the strength.

Did I have people I looked up to? Sure I did. People I didn’t even know served as inspiration to me for different reasons. Hilary Duff, with her innocence and “So Yesterday” attitude. My mom with the way she cared for us. The older girl on the bus that took up for others when someone said a harsh word. My friend Heather’s mom that knew how to make the best sweet tea in all the land.

It wasn’t until I came to college that I saw the significance of mentorship. Over the past years I’ve heard more about the impact older women have made on my friends’ lives than I can count on my fingers. These women they speak of…they share their lives with them. They bring them along to the grocery store and let them listen in on conversations with their husbands and kids. They give Godly wisdom and share encouragement about stages they’ve already walked through and curtains already closed. And I crave that for myself.

It hasn’t been too long since God stuck a dream in me to mentor teenage girls. This is funny to me, as I haven’t felt like a teenager for a while. But I trust He knows what He’s doing.

I decided to start with one person. Not because I particularly thought I was capable or wise enough or had that much to offer her, but because I felt like it was the next step to respond to God’s dream in me.

It hasn’t looked like I thought it would – being that I’m learning as much from her as (I hope) she is from me, sometimes her learning from me is learning from my mistakes, and I also never thought it would awaken my spirit as it has.

I will never forget the day she first read my [previous] blog. That’s right, she’s that girl. She called me on the phone in the middle of me doing homework and just wanted someone to listen. She was in tears because finally she found someone that understood what she was feeling. And after a long and wonderful conversation, I paused to thank God because I felt incredibly used by Him.

Finally she found someone that understood, yes. But finally I saw a reason for my story – to share it with her.
 There’s something so purposeful and life-giving about some of our brokenness being the same so that we can heal and learn together. There’s something so sweet about God that He can use His story of healing and faithfulness in me to give her hope for hers.

I’ve heard it before but now I can really say it with good reason: Everyone needs a mentor. Someone that’s one stepping stone ahead saying, “I’ve been there and here’s how I got here.” Someone to give wisdom that God’s given to bless someone else.

It’s a gift, community. And I know now that every move I make can be used for His glory, stupid or not. If I do something right, she’ll see it and it’ll be a model for her. If I do something wrong, she’ll see it and it’ll be a lesson for her. It’s a win-win, folks.

I can’t tell you how to get someone to mentor you, because I’m struggling with that myself. But I challenge you to mentor someone –  to take them by the hand and offer to share your life with them. It brings so much life and even more than that, we were made for this sort of thing.

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