Podcast 018 – “Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization & What It Means For Us” with Marilyn McGraw

The term self-actualization was first made famous by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1950’s and is the ultimate goal of his hierarchy of needs (see below).  The theory, which describes a process by which an individual can reach his or her own full personal potential, plays a fundamental role in current education, health, and social justice practices.

Our podcast guest today shares insight into how we as followers of Christ can analyze and understand a secular theory like this one. What does it mean for a Christian to self-actualize?  How, if at all, can we glean truth from research and concepts that aren’t rooted in scripture? What role does the gospel play in Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, and what might this mean for the church?

Join us as we uncover the theory and seek to better understand self-actualization from a Christian perspective.

 

Image by: https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

 

Digging Deeper:

Consider reading through these scriptures in light of Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. How do they contend with or complement the theory? What do they imply about our aspirations and gifts? How and for whom should the goal of self-actualization be?

  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”   
  • John 18:36 – “My Kingdom is not of this world.” 
  • Philippians 3:12 – “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6 –  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
  • Matthew 10:29 – “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will lose it.”
  • John 13:34-35 – “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

About Our Guest: Dr. MarilynMcGraw is the Founder/CEO of Excellence At Work where her role focuses on individual and corporate coaching, speaking engagements, training, meeting facilitation, and retreats. Dr. Marilyn has developed a “just do it” style that motivates and encourages clients to achieve higher levels of personal and professional effectiveness. She is the author of Running Away for Three Weeks, an inspirational autobiography designed to prepare readers for maximum effectiveness in the workplace; creator of Discovering Your Workplace Gifts, an assessment to help individuals identify the gifts they were motivated to discover; and author of Six Steps to Excellence for Leaders, a road map to personal and professional excellence for all leaders.

God’s Grace, Your Grit

Our family of three recently returned from a few trips in the last month where our two year old son slept in our bed most nights. It wasn’t a normal routine for him and we figured it would be a little hard to transition him back into his own bed when we got home. In reality, it ended up being much more difficult than we expected. He didn’t want to be away from us, day or night.

Our efforts to have him sleep in his own bed required 2 hours to put him to bed, then getting up 4 to 5 times a night when he would scream. He also learned the dreaded skill of climbing out of his crib during this time. I would hear a huge crash and scream at 3am that jolted me out of bed and hurried me to his bedroom to make sure he wasn’t hurt. Once the crying settled, then it was trying to go back to bed after an adrenaline rush. We were starting to feel like we had a newborn again and were already exhausted from the traveling we did the weeks before. 

One particular night I found myself on the floor next to my son’s crib, rubbing his back after I had been in his room for close to an hour and a half. I felt myself getting angrier and angrier that he wouldn’t for the love of anything just go to sleep already! I wanted to be out on the couch watching TV or literally doing anything else besides being trapped in his room. It had been weeks since our regular schedule of his 2 hour nap and 8 o’clock bedtime and I was ready to have it back.

And that’s when I felt the Lord ask me: “Are you not physically able to do this right now or do you just not want to?”

Like many questions the Lord asks, it stopped me in my tracks.

My honest answer? Of course I was able. I had a deep well of physical capacity to accomplish the task at hand. I just didn’t want to. 

As someone with a history of ignoring my own needs and boundaries, I had swung the other way on the pendulum where many things were about me and what I wanted to do. The balance between self-care and self-denial is always changing and I do my best to stay somewhere in the middle, but it’s hard!

Have you ever come across a mom who’s more joyful about motherhood than you? I’m talking about the moms who, through the good and bad, easy and hard, are still joyful about their work. It’s convicting and curious at the same time. Like, what am I missing here?

The Lord’s question to me revealed that CHOOSING to serve my family as a general attitude, no matter the circumstance, will bring me more joy than wishing I was doing something else.

In the past I have had a fear of becoming a slave to my family. I didn’t want to be run over or unappreciated. Can I really enjoy giving to my family without feeling like a slave to others?

I have since realized that I’m nobody’s slave if I choose to do it.  

There were many times I had decided in advance that I didn’t want to read more bedtime stories or clean up the kitchen or cook dinner, even though I was fully capable. 

Other than the Lord, you are the only one who truly knows the attitude of your heart. Choosing to serve your family isn’t about ignoring ALL of your needs ALL of the time. It does require you to have boundaries and it does require you to uphold them. 

Practical Suggestions for an Attitude of Willingness

Asking a few questions when you’re not feeling like giving anymore helps get to the heart of the matter.

  1. Is this something I can’t do? Or something I don’t want to do?

Sometimes we have a hard day emotionally. Or a lot of hard days emotionally. Sometimes our emotional capacity is maxed out while we still have more to give in our physical capacity. It can help to focus on the area that we are strong in at the moment, physical capacity, rather than your weakness and complete the task at hand. Be sure to circle back to your emotional needs at another time when you are able.

    2. What do I need to implement more or less of in my life so I can maintain an attitude of willingness? 

Do I need less screen time? Can I do less activities outside the house? More planned time away from family? More time with the Lord? Can I hang out with other moms that have a heart of willingness and be encouraged? 

Be Encouraged by the Word

Reading the Bible is to our benefit. Marriage and motherhood takes a lot of our grit and elbow grease to keep digging in. Our perseverance and passion need continual stoking. There are many verses we can cling to when it comes to giving to our families. Reflect on the scriptures below and consider how they apply to your circumstances.

    • “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
    • “She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.” Proverbs 31:13
    • “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
In The End

The decision to serve our family is one that is noticed. Our family members enjoy our happy-hearted giving, just as we enjoy theirs.

It’s hard to keep the tension of self-care and self-denial – That’s what God’s grace is for. Together, we use our grit and God’s grace to stay in a willing place of self-sacrifice without killing ourselves.

My Prayer for Grit and Grace

Lord, I need your grace to help me dig in today. Help me want to give to others. Help me to see and think outside of myself. Lord, I know that sometimes I have a bad attitude about the work I do, help me to get to a place where I can enjoy this today. Give me reminders that my work is important and cherished by you. You see the grit I put in and appreciate it. Help me to know when I need to rest and when I need to dig deeper. Show me quickly when my heart has turned away from serving and steer me back towards loving my family with my whole heart.

 

About the Author:  Hi there! I’m Lynnaea and I am mama to one little man named Remmik and married to my favorite guy, Dave, for almost 5 years! I enjoy fresh air in my lungs and anything with the mountains, trees, or ocean. I was raised in the Pacific Northwest but have lived in the beautiful town of Homer, Alaska for the last 3 years. You can find more of my writing on the Rosebud Blog.

 

 

Come As You Are, But Don’t Leave the Same When You Go

So real talk. I grew up in the church, heard bible stories, sang songs, did Awana, all the things. But until my early twenties I didn’t actually understand that Saul was Paul. I was reminded of this on my visit to Rome last summer, where Paul spent some of his time as documented in Acts and in his letter to the church in the book of Romans. It was interesting to see where that reflection led and how there’s some major tie-in with a concept God has been teaching me for the last eight years or so. The Saul/Paul faux-pa of mine reflects the major theological concept of sanctification in two different ways. 

The first was personal. For most of my life I was showing up to church and encountering the truth of who God was, but wasn’t being transformed and changed by what I was learning. It wasn’t until different trials, encouragements, relationships, and even ego-shattering events lead me to desire God more deeply. Only then did I begin to realize there was more to the Bible than just reading the words. There was more to my relationship with God than just showing up to church on Sunday. 

In Christianity, the transformation that comes as we encounter Christ, obey him, and seek to live our lives based on His call to holiness is part of an important process called sanctification

This new knowledge changed many aspects of my Christian walk. God continued to show me how important it was to truly study and understand his written word. Not just plug in pretty verses, or magical 8 ball bible flipping when I was in a struggle. But like ACTUALLY study it. Then ACTUALLY put it into practice – However God led, through conviction to change, encouragement to do something more, or clarity to align what I may think was true to what he says is true through the Bible. 

The second reason my Saul/Paul realization is borderline comical, though, is because of the documented sanctification process that Paul went through in the New Testament. 

It’s a concept revealed throughout the Bible, but I’d never really noticed it before: God never leaves a life unchanged after encountering Him and surrendering to His truth. 

Paul’s dramatic testimony as a man who hunted down and murdered early Christians transformed into a man dedicated to supporting early churches and writing at least seven books of the New Testament is an extremely encouraging example. He didn’t just meet Jesus and follow him, his life was truly changed by the truth he learned. 

So why does this matter? 

It’s important because we can get half of the full truth by studying scripture certain ways. This not only affects our understanding of the Bible, but our personal walk with the Lord. How we study the sanctification process and it’s biblical implications forms our outreach, verbiage, and most importantly, our understanding of who God is. 

One of the major taglines I hear in current church culture is, “Come as you are.” One of the closest verses I see in the Bible that talks about this is in Matthew 11: 

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, ESV) 

The verse is such a comforting and loving picture of how Christ knows we’re struggling and how He wants us to come to him for rest. It’s beautiful. 

It’s easy to walk into churches that proclaim, “Come as you are” in an effort to reach people who desperately need Jesus, who need rest, who need perfect love, and feel encouraged by this response to just come. All are truly welcome. But focusing on only one side of this scripture and concept can leave out the very important other side – We are also called to be transformed. The Bible isn’t a halfway picture, and further reading reveals more of the complete story. Matthew 11 continues with: 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11: 29-30, ESV).  

In this passage, Jesus describes how we’re to learn from Him, do as He does, encounter and take His yoke upon us. We’re to lean in close with Him and walk through life learning from His ways. In being called to change and learn from Christ, we don’t stay in the same place. We leave different than who we were when we first came.

Here’s what’s on my heart: There’s grave danger if we leave out half of the picture when reading or studying the Bible. Claiming to simply “come as you are” doesn’t reflect the change encountered when we allow God full access to our lives. I’ll save touching on specific topics, but we could insert any hot button people group and it would reveal why this tagline can be popular to relate or invite people in. It’s so very broad. 

In reality, all of our lives and sins fit into what needs to be conformed into God’s ways. 

God doesn’t leave us unchanged once we encounter Him. We’re called to learn how Jesus lived, learn how God calls us to change through studying the Bible, obey the truth of His precepts, and surrender to the sanctification process. 

And let me tell you, it is amazing. 

And it is painful. 

But it is part of God’s design and the wonderful work He does as we learn how to live life the way He wants us to. 

God’s perfect love doesn’t just call us to come as we are, it calls us to not stay the same as we go. 

 

Seeking change alongside,

Amanda

 

About the Author: Amanda lives in Portland, Oregon and is a cardiac ICU nurse. She has a heart to live out the Great Commission in both her workplace and in the city at large. She loves the Bible, and wants to see her own and many others lives continually transformed by the solid truth of God’s word. She enjoys hot tea, baby goats, and adventures in the mountains. Seeking & serving Jesus while being made in His image is her core desire.

 

3 Surefire Ways to Labor in Vain

My sister-in-law was tired, weary, and in extreme pain delivering her firstborn when the doctor paused and said, “It’s called labor for a reason.” Though insensitive and borderline cruel, the obstetrician was right. Labor is hard.

Webster’s Dictionary defines labor as “the expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory.” As followers of Christ, there is no way around it. We were created for hard work. For labor. For toil. From the time God set Adam and Eve in the garden to care for the land and subdue it, Biblical narrative reveals that action is expected. We are workers. Whether laboring as stay-at-home parents, students, teachers, landscapers, artists, truck drivers, accountants, or lawyers, each and every one of us is called to a life of productivity. 

King Solomon introduces us to vain labor in Psalm 127:

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2)

To toil or labor in vain means to waste our work – To nullify it or make it void. Solomon knew that unless God was overseeing and at the core ambition of building, the final product wasn’t even worthy of a watchman. The house was useless. The work – however difficult, cumbersome, emotionally draining, yields a worthless result.

Prophets shared the same lament of useless toil as they warned a godless Israel to repent: 

You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword. You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine. Micah 6:13-15  

Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine. Zephaniah 1:12-13 

You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.  Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, ‘ says the LORD. ‘You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Haggai 1:6-9 

There are ways we as followers of Christ can yield worthless results as well – Approaches to work that leave us “busy with our own house” (Haggai 1:6-9) while effectively producing nothing. Here are three surefire ways even followers of Christ end up laboring in vain.

1) We Follow Our Passion

Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford’s 2005 graduation ceremony was legendary. Many believe the catch-phrase “follow your passion” came from Steve’s poignant call for students to “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition” and to “find what you love and do it.” 

There is nothing inherently wrong with doing what we love. It’s freeing and beautiful when God’s will and our passion projects collide, but a simple look at the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles reveal that labor for the Lord doesn’t always mean we’ll enjoy it. Rather, it may land us in Ninevah, a flaming furnace, or with the beloved John exiled to the island of Patmos. 

Labor for the Lord means serving who we love rather than doing what we love. There’s a stark contrast. One leads to selfish ambition, temporal gain, and earthly reward – A possible shifting from one thing to another as we surmise that, ‘If I don’t love it, I must be on the wrong path.’ The other promises everlasting life and bountiful fruit. 

Following our own passion without prioritizing Kingdom needs, God-given gifts and talents, and where He is asking us to go may yield immediate pleasure, but following Christ’s passion ensures true satisfaction – A life of purposeful toil rather than worthless labor.

 

2) We Work For Our Own Glory

Paul’s message to New Testament believers was clear: Whoever you are and whatever you do, do it with grit and a heart that’s invested. Be ALL IN, but not for earthly gain.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

But as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Ephesians 6:6-7 

If we truly work for the Lord, we won’t require human glory, appreciation, or approval. Daily surrender as service to Christ Jesus may not bring earthly recompense, but we’re promised the greatest reward possible: A share in the Kingdom, everlasting life, and a forever home with our worthy God.

So when we study, we study for the Lord. When we sing, we sing for His glory. When we raise children, we raise them in an effort to please Him, and when we build a home, we build it for His purpose.

 

3) We Diminish the Significance of Our Work

I’ve said it more often than I want to admit: “I’m just a stay-at-home mom,” or, “I used to be a teacher.” I minimize the value of my labor and have heard some of you do it, too. 

We need to remember that ALL of our work is ministry work. Each dish washed, coffee served, class passed, corporate deal secured, house sold or lesson taught is for His glory. Every aspect of our labor is significant. Our toil is important. No work surrendered to His purpose and for His glory is in vain.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul argues that an attitude of selfless work for God’s mission should make us glad and cause us to shine as lights in this dark world. We don’t complain about our work because we know how valuable it is to the Kingdom.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

We rejoice as a “poured out drink offering” not because our work feels significant, is enjoyable, or fulfills a void in our lives. We rejoice because our labor has Kingdom purpose and forever consequence.

So when we feel overwhelmed, empty, bored, threatened and weary in our labor, we need to remember who we’re really working for. In the words of Paul, we must “hold fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ [we] may be proud that [we] did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

Toil for His passion, work for His glory, and believe that your efforts matter for eternity. 

For Further Study

Read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 4.

In what context was this passage written (pay attention to the “therefore” at the beginning of the chapter). Who wrote it and for what purpose?

  • Based on the text, what can we expect from a life in service to Christ? Consider making a list in the margin of your Bible or in a separate notebook.
  • If everything in the list you created is true, why should we “not lose heart” (v. 1 and v.16)? What will we receive?
  • Do you find yourself laboring in vain? Unsure of why or for whom you are working? Take time to write a prayer of confession and determine a plan of action. Remember, we must be “doers of the word, and not just hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Lisa loves the local church and is proud to call Summit View Community Church in Vancouver, WA home.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

 

Not Sure What Bible Study to do this Fall? 13 Ideas to Get You Started

It’s the time of year when small groups and churches select Bible study curriculum for the upcoming Fall season, but finding theologically sound resources that accommodate a particular timeline, group dynamic/need, or topic can be difficult. We want to help!

Below is a list of options we think will help women better understand the Word, the character of God, and the purpose He has for our lives.

The list is not at all exhaustive, but we hope it will serve as a starting point for choosing your Fall studies.

(Click directly on the titles below to view and purchase the resource from Amazon).

 

God of Creation: A Study of Genesis 1-11

  • Author: Jen Wilkin
  • Timeline: 10 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1–2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

God of CovenantA Study of Genesis 12-50

  • Author: Jen Wilkin
  • Timeline: 10 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1–2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

No Other Gods: The Unrivaled Pursuit of God

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 8 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not absolutely necessary

Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not absolutely necessary

Daniel: Lives on Integrity, Words of Prophecy

  • Author: Beth Moore
  • Timeline: 12 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

  • Author: Beth Moore
  • Timeline: 10 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

The Armor of God

  • Author: Priscilla Shirer
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story

  • Author: Angie Smith
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not necessary 

Finding I Am: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart

  • Author: Lysa TerKeurst
  • Timeline: 6 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not absolutely necessary

Follow Me: A Call to Die, A Call to Live

  • Author: David Platt
  • Timeline: 6  Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

Mercy Like Morning: Discovering Truth is Seasons of Waiting

  • Author: Jane Johnson
  • Timeline: This book/guide is designed for individual use. It empowers the reader to prayerfully and accurately study the Bible using context clues, word studies, and a variety of other techniques. The book includes 7 chapters with follow-up examples and practice.

 

We also love Precept Upon Precept and Bible Study Fellowship classes. These are facilitated by trained instructors all over Canada and the USA. Click on the links below to find one near you.

Precept Upon Precept

Bible Study Fellowship

Expository Bible Study: Unfolding the Wisdom of God

Who is the wisest person you know? What do they do to make you believe they are wise? How do you feel when you’re around them?

Wisdom is hard to find in this life. We often equate wisdom to knowledge, but those who have knowledge don’t always do the wise thing. There are a lot of brilliant fools in the world. 

A quick Google search finds multiple lists of the character qualities of a wise person: Open-minded. Compassionate. Reflective. Always learning. The list goes on. Yet not one of these lists hints that we are born wise. We innately know that human wisdom is valuable, is learned. It comes with experience and study.

Biblical Wisdom

The Bible doesn’t define wisdom the way humans define wisdom. 

In Psalm 2:6-7, David tells us that it’s the Lord who gives wisdom – That he stores up sound wisdom in those who walk with integrity.  

The wise are those who are able to see the big picture and align their actions to reach the main goal.

This is the long game. Not just the experience in the now. True wisdom is seeing the past and having the foresight to know how it will affect the future.  

Charles Ryrie describes it like this: “The wisdom of God tells us that God will bring about the best possible results, by the best possible means, for the most possible people, for the longest possible time.”

God doesn’t have to learn wisdom. God has no need to learn or experience life to be wise. He is the embodiment of wisdom. 

The whole of the Bible is God’s wisdom unfolding. 

When you read the Word of God, His perfect wisdom is being revealed. Everything God says in scripture is said on purpose.  But sometimes it is hard to uncover what God is saying when we read the Bible. 

How can we truly understand God’s wisdom as we read Scripture? 

Using an expository method to study the Bible is a great way to uncover God’s perfect plan. We get to dig into God’s word ourselves and work to uncover the big idea of each passage. What a privilege! 

The goal of this way of studying the Bible is to explain it, prove it, and apply it to your life by looking at Scripture verse-by-verse. This type of approach is time-consuming, yes. But if something has to be consuming your time, why not let it be the pursuit of wisdom and truth?

The Three Steps to Expository Bible Study

Prayer is the most vital part of any scripture reading we do. The Bible is a living work, and its truths will be revealed over and over when we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and reveal meaning. Remember to ask His for wisdom and discernment when working through these three steps of Expository Bible Study.

1) Explain it: Begin by figuring out the context and purpose of the text you are studying. Who is the book addressed to? Who is the author? What is the historical situation? What is the major subject? Is there a “therefore”? – If so, there was likely important information that came before. Go back and read the verses or chapter before your section.  

2) Prove it:  Underline any words or places that you don’t yet know, then look them up! You can do this in your own Bible if it has maps and resources, or find trusted Bible sources such as word study books, a concordance, dictionary, Bible handbook, or lectionary. The Read Scripture app is also an excellent resource. The grammar and geography research will guide you into a deeper understanding of when and why this piece of scripture was written.

3) Apply It. I love this part! Our God meets us where we are. We need to ask ourselves – Why should I apply this Scripture? And how should I apply it?  Each verse in the Bible has one truth, but the application of that truth looks different depending on who is reading it, their culture and stage of life. 

Take Isaiah 40:31, for example: “But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall walk and not faint.”

I have this verse underlined in all of my Bibles. The truth of this verse is the same for everyone – That if you are faithful to God, He will give you the perseverance you need to keep on going. However, when I underlined it in high school it meant that I could run my cross country race with confidence because God was with me. In college, the application of this verse was that I could survive these undergraduate years and it would be worth it at the end of those four years.  Currently, I apply this verse to my life through my calling to be a Bible teacher – Knowing that if I stay inside of God’s will and His calling that He will sustain me when I feel weak and under-qualified.

To expositionally study the Bible is to dig deep into God’s Word. It is to find treasure beyond price. 

 This is not the quick way. 

But if you are longing to deepen your relationship with God through a more technical study of his Word, then Expository Bible Study is worth your time.

 

For a quick-reference printable guide and worksheet, click here.

 

About the Author: Sarah Delamarter Benson is a wife and stay at home mom to her three young children. She is “somewhat organized” and is “ always singing and always dancing” per her children. She enjoys all kinds of music, most kinds of fitness, bible study, reading and caring for her small menagerie of animals.

She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Biblical Exposition program at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a passion for pointing women and girls to Jesus through the truth of God’s Word. She is the founder of RagtagWarriors.com, an online community of women doing life together with grit and God.

Stuck Up a Tree – One Mom’s Reflection on Raising Godly Boys

A Boy, a Tree, and a Fireman

It was Easter weekend and my husband was out fishing the last of the spring salmon run. Like a normal weekend during fishing season, I’m often home alone with my boys. With a bye off t-ball, I decided to catch up on a months’ worth of laundry. I work full time and laundry sucks the life out of me, so I often procrastinate doing it. 

I shooed the boys outside and they took the opportunity to run out and play on the first dry day we’d had in months.  

Now, let me tell you a little bit about my boys. I ALWAYS need to be one step ahead of them. I have just now started showering alone, and my oldest is six. Even locks on the doors don’t keep them in. I constantly need to make sure they haven’t scaled the fence to go play with the neighbors or started the power tools in the garage while I’m distracted.  

I started in on the mound of laundry that was covering my kitchen table – Suspicious that they may find trouble.  “Marco-Polo” is a game we taught the boys to trick them into letting us know where they were – Occasionally yelling “Marco”, so they would respond with “Polo.” I started shouting to keep track of them outside (the neighbors think I’m crazy, but at least I know where my boys are). 

The response “Polo” was coming from a 65-foot-tall Ponderosa Pine in our backyard.  I could see Bridger, our youngest (age three), at the bottom of the tree and Tucker (five years old) in the tree.   

Tuck had never gone higher than 15 feet in a tree, so I let them play.  As a mom of boys, I have to walk a fine line in allowing them to explore and have fun but not hurt themselves or others in the process. Their nature is to climb and get dirty any chance they can.  

It had been about 30 minutes and I was making a good dent in the laundry when I heard Tucker calmly shout from the direction of the tree. 

“Mama. Call 911. Call the fire department. I can’t get down.”

Honestly, I thought I would head outside to find him 10 feet in a tree and only a little bit stuck, so I started videoing to capture the moment. 

“Tuck, where are you?” I asked, looking around for him. “I can’t see you.  Where are you?”

“I’m up here,” he replied.

Panic started to hit. I couldn’t see him. Anywhere. 

I went under the tree and looked 20 feet up into it. No Tucker. I backed away and strained to finally see a tiny little face – 60 feet up in the Ponderosa Pine, sitting on a branch looking out over the world.  

This was not at all what I was expecting. 

I rushed to call my brother in law, but it went straight to voicemail. I called my sister: “Is Otis home? I need his help getting Tuck out of a tree.”

Her response, “Just tell him to climb down” led me to pull out my phone and put her on Facetime. Her panic immediately echoed mine as she saw her nephew so high in the tree. “You may need to call the fire department…”

I looked for a neighbor or someone on the street that could climb up and help us. No one was home to help me. NO ONE!  

So I did what any mother whose 5-year-old was hanging on for dear life in a Ponderosa Pine tree. I called 911.  

“Hi, yeah my son is stuck 60 feet up in a tree. Can you please send the fire department to get him out?”

Those were words I never thought I would hear come out of my mouth. But when raising young boys I have said many things I never imagined, so I’ll just add this one to the list. 

All of this happened in a matter of 5 minutes. My youngest son fled up and over the back fence, taking advantage of the chaos,  and was running down the street to the neighbors. I reminded Tuck not to attempt climbing down at this point, and left to find the three-year-old. My sister lives in the neighborhood, so as I ran out the front door to track him down I saw her running toward my house in her socks carrying her 5-month-old in only a diaper. 

The fire department arrived and four men chuckled a little as they walked through the door.  Surely they thought I was an overprotective mom that called them for something minor. Boy were they in for a treat!

“Where is he?” The first one asked.

I pointed to the top of the tree, but it took a while for them to find him.  

“Oh! He’s way up there!” One said in surprise and pointed out Tuck’s location to the others. They stood there for a second wondering what to do when the youngest firefighter said; “I’m just going to climb up as far as I can and see if I can get to him.”

Let me remind you that when I started doing laundry I hadn’t changed out of my PJ’s and had kicked the boys out into the backyard before a morning cup of coffee. There I was standing with these men in my pajamas in my backyard.  And to top it all off, I recorded the whole thing. I just knew I needed to document this for my grandkids one day! 

Back to the story.  The fireman climbed about 10 feet in up the tree when I heard Tucker say, “OK, I’m coming down.”  

Insert facepalm here…  What? You could get down the whole time?!?  

I was relieved when the fireman told him to wait so he could guide him down on the strong branches.

Step by step, the young fireman led my 5-year-old down from the tree (jacket in his mouth because he knew mom would be extra mad if he left it up there), and safely to the ground. No boom trucks needed, just a little extra boost of confidence that came from having someone there next to him – To guide my young son and assure him that if he slipped, there was someone to catch him.

Lessons Learned

As parents, we want to give the world to our kids.  We want to cushion everything so they won’t feel pain.  We want to set them up for success at any cost and shelter them from all things that might hinder their future.  

But what if our job in raising little humans is establishing the grounding principles so they have the tools to move forward on their own?  Maybe we are just the extra boost of confidence – A guiding hand in case they slip?  

The fireman stood below Tuck as they climbed down together branch by branch, guiding his way, but I was the one who taught him the basic skills of climbing (well, my husband was the lead on this one), and the skills of listening and respecting the person giving him directions.  

I often revisit this experience and can’t help but liken the young fireman in Tucker’s story to the Holy Spirit. He is there to guide our children down the tree – Holding them every day as they maneuver the difficulties of life. But WE need to be the ones to teach them to listen and obey – To feel the Spirit’s gentle embrace leading them to the strong branches. 

Giving Roots

“Then he told them many things in parables saying:  ‘Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and birds came and devoured them.  Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, the thorns came up and choked it. Still other seeds fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. Let anyone who has ears listen.’” Matthew 13:3-9

“So listen to the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground – this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. But he who has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away.  Now the one sown among the thorns – this is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and deceitfulness of wealth chokes the word, it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground – this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what he has sown.” Matthew 13:18-23

I look at the parable from Matthew 13 about the sower and the three different types of soil, and can’t help but think of our experience with Tucker and the tree. 

My job as a parent is to prepare good soil for my sons’ roots to grow deep when they are young – So they can take all God has to offer them and yield much more in their life then we ever thought possible:  “But the one sown on the good ground – this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what he has sown.” Matthew 13:23

I need to be careful that I don’t extinguish the ambition and God given gifts out of them while tilling the soil to make it good for planting.  But if I can teach them to harness these ambitions for good, like Tuck’s climbing skills, ability to listen, obey, and respect authority, then God will do something amazing with them.  

In the End

We cut down the tree.

Tuck tried to climb it again the next day (ripping a huge hole in his pants five minutes before we had to leave for Easter service). 

Knowing that we would never be able to keep him out of it, we decided that the best thing to do now is take it away until he is old enough to handle the responsibility and safely climb down on his own. Sometimes helping our kids establish deep roots means providing boundaries and measures so the roots have time to grow. 

A Humble Prayer 

Dear Lord,

Let me mold my boys in a way that creates a soil for you to sow a harvest that multiplies.  Give me the insight and wisdom to parent my kids that gives them the foundation you need to shape them. Allow them to produce your fruit.  

It’s sometimes hard for me to parent in a way that is glorifying to you and I often lose my patience or am tired at the end of a long day.  Lord, please give me grace and fill me with a light that resonates out to my children, so even when I fall short they see that you are working in me the same way I am trying to teach them that you are working in them.  

Lord, please speak to me right now as I sit and listen (take a few moments to listen to the Holy Spirit) and give me a word that I can work on with my children this week.  

Thank you for your never ending grace and wisdom.  Thank you for blessing me with the responsibility of raising the future generation of your Kingdom.  I know you picked me to raise my boys for a reason. Help me live that out to fulfill the story you have for me.  

In Jesus name,

Amen.

 

About the Author:  Nikki Duke is a speaker of truth and seeker of justice. God has given her the gift of raising boys – A task that is not for the faint of heart. With a stirring in her soul over the last year, God has led her on a journey to change the fate of the world by changing the hearts of the next generation of boys – Teaching them to empower, respect and protect women to be all God has created them to be.  Embarking on this new journey God has led her to speak and teach about the lessons the Holy Spirit has taught her on the path of motherhood.  

Along with writing, Nikki runs “My Friends Are Not For Sale,” an organization that raises awareness about sex trafficking here in our communities.  She is a mother to three, a wife, a full time working mom and a Daughter of the King. She is not content just sit still, but believes God has made each and everyone one of his daughters to do something extraordinary to make this world a better place.  Arise, my daughter, Arise.

 

 

First Fruits

We just finished the last jar of homemade strawberry jam and are anxiously awaiting the new crop of strawberries.  It promises to be a good crop this year because of just the right mix of sunshine and rain.  My 94 year old mother and I make enough to fill the freezer, supplying all the siblings and grands (and now great-grands) with sweet jam throughout the year.  

So we wait excitedly for the crop of the first-fruit of Pacific Northwest strawberries and then the bounty that will come.

There is great meaning to the term first-fruits in scripture and it is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament.  There are seven Feasts ordained by God for the Hebrews to follow listed in Leviticus, chapter 23.  Four in the spring and three in the fall.  And each of the Feasts signified something that had happened in Jewish history but is also a glimpse of what was or will happen in the future.  They point to Christ, they were fulfilled by Christ or will be fulfilled by Christ, in the age to come.  God’s entire plan of salvation is outlined by these feasts which are also related to Israel’s agricultural seasons.

The Feast of Passover, in the spring, is the start of three feasts over eight days: Passover, Unleavened Bread and First-fruits. Passover enacts the night the angel of death passed over the Jewish homes that had been marked with the blood of a lamb, but did not spare the houses of the Egyptians. It stands for justification by faith in the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus ate the Passover feast on the evening He was arrested and He died at 3pm the next day, the same time as the daily evening sacrifice of the lamb at the Temple.   In 1Corinthians 5:7b Paul tells us “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (ESV) 

The following day the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins and lasts for seven days.  Historically this was when the Hebrews left Egypt, it signifies that they left in haste not having time for bread with yeast to rise.  Yeast in the Bible is symbolic of sin, so unleavened in Hebrew (matzah) means sinless, and is a picture of Jesus, the only human without sin.  This is the time Jesus spends in the grave, He who conquers the grave, He who had no sin is the Bread of Life.

Next comes the Feast of First-fruits: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  ‘He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Leviticus 23:9-14 NASB). 

It’s significant to remember that the Feast of First-fruits was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering in the desert eating Manna. It was observed in faith and obedience that God would lead the people to the land of ‘milk and honey’ he had promised.  After settling in Israel, no grain was to be harvested until this offering was brought before the Lord.

The Feast of First-fruits was a way for Israel to convey to God that all good things come from Him and that everything belongs to Him. It was also a way of expressing trust in God’s provision; just as He provided the first-fruits, so He would provide the rest of the harvest. Jesus arose from the dead on this day.  His resurrection was like a wave offering presented to the Father as the first-fruits of the harvest to come.

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming”, (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NASB)

So while first-fruits speak of a harvest of crops it also speaks of a spiritual harvest.  In Jeremiah 2:3 “Israel was holy to the Lord, the first-fruits of his harvest.” (ESV)  Israel was to be a promise of a greater harvest, as she would experience God’s redemption and then be a witness of this redemption to the nations; that they too might come to know the God of Israel.

And it’s expanded in the New Testament where Paul uses the Greek term aparche, which is an agricultural term to show we will be like Christ.  Just as first-fruits indicate what the harvest will be like, all Christians are dedicated to God in the manner of first-fruits.  We are told in James 1:18, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits (aparche) of His creatures.”(ESV)  We need to be mindful, just as God wanted Israel to be mindful, that we are redeemed and are to be a witness to others of that redemption.  In Romans 8:23 Paul says that as redeemed people we possess the “first-fruits (aparche) of the Spirit.” (ESV).  Just as the first-fruits of the harvest provide hope for the future, the fruit which the Spirit produces in us now provides hope that we will one day be like Christ.  The Feast of First-fruits is today our Easter.

Lastly, is the Feast of Pentecost, which means 50.  This was celebrated fifty days after the Feast of First-fruits, to commemorate the end of the barley harvest.  It was on this day the Holy Spirit came and the fearful disciples became bold men and the first of the spiritual harvest came in when 3,000 Jews heard the Gospel, believed and were baptized.  Two loaves of bread were offered as sacrifice in the Temple, on this day.  The number fifty signifies freedom and liberty. The number two signifies the number of witnesses, in this case both believing Jews and Gentiles that make up the Church, thus fulfilling the Feast of Pentecost.

So, just as we await the first-fruits of Pacific Northwest strawberries and the bounty that will come, we as the first-fruits of God’s harvest await the bounty of our resurrection and Heaven.  Remember the next time you eat strawberry jam that you are redeemed, the first-fruit of God, and a witness of Christ’s redemptive work.

 

About the Author:  Ellen Newman was a registered nurse for 45 years and is living proof that you are never too old to go back to school. She returned to college at age 60 to get a degree in Biblical Foundations from Multinomah University, and has a passion for seeing people engaged in the Word of God. Ellen has worked as a Community Pastor for Women at Summit View Church in Vancouver, Washington, and is a seasoned Bible student/teacher.  This picture was taken in Israel – A place she has visited multiple times and is dear to her heart.

Podcast 016 – “The Art of Mentoring” with Vicky Dillon

Gospel-centered living means we admit our inadequacy, know we need support, and learn from others further along or stronger in their faith journey.  But how do we enter into these relationships and what expectations should we have?⁣⁣ In this podcast, host Lisa DaSilva and longtime mentor Vicky Dillon chat candidly about their own relationship and expose some of the joys and challenges in mentor partnerships.

Noteworthy Quotes

What is mentorship?  “When people come along side each other, encourage, teach and disciple. ‘Go and make disciples’ were Jesus’ parting words.”

“There’s no magic formula. One person has something to share from their own experience and they give that and share it with somebody else.”

“We’re meant to be in relationship with one another.  We’re created that way.  There is something beautiful – a blessing that can happen when we invite others into our world.”

“You were willing to learn, teachable, humble.  It doesn’t happen overnight.”

“Talk less.  Listen more and listen with a discerning heart.”

“Typically, things we struggle with, others struggle with as well.”

“Part of being mentored is being willing to be really honest.  When you mentor someone, you also need to open and vulnerable.”

“It takes purposeful effort to press pause and really evaluate, ‘where is my heart?'”

“How can we be honest with others if we aren’t honest with ourselves?”

 

Scripture References

Ephesians 4:7,11-13

“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”.

Titus 2:3-5

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

1 Corinthians 11:1

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

2 Timothy 2:2

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

                                                                                                                                    About Vicky Dillon: Vicky lives in Camas, Washington and is the wife of a pastor and mom of two adult sons. While she’s trained as an accountant, Vicky has served in vocational and lay ministry for the majority of her career. She is currently the board chair of Journey Theater – A local theater group ministering to youth here in the Portland/Vancouver area. She also serves on the board of SHAPE NW-a summer camp program for kids. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, tennis, snowshoeing, puzzles and game nights with friends and family. 

Coming Alongside – 5 Helpful Hints to Successful Mentoring

She lived in a basement suite not far from campus. We chatted in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil and I took my time choosing tea from a basket overflowing with options. A candle burned in the living room as we settled under cozy blankets and began talking.

Sue was the Director of Student Ministries at my university and I was undoubtedly nervous to be alone with her for the first time. I’d watched her from a distance my entire Freshman year and admired her faith, relational prowess, confidence, and strength. She was the woman we all wanted to be around – To learn from and laugh with. I secretly longed to know her and for her to know me.

And not just the me everyone else saw, but the me hidden under layers of hurt and secrets. I wanted her to pray for me, love me, and cover me with truth. I wanted to trust her, and for her to trust me.

Invitations for conversation over tea would become more of a norm over the next few years, as would chats in her office and walks around campus. She asked me hard questions and seemed genuinely interested in the answers. We kept in touch as she moved from singleness to married life and transitioned out of vocational ministry when pregnant with her son.

The life lessons Sue taught by simply allowing me to come alongside her were invaluable, as were the things I’ve learned and gained from other mentors in each season of change. There were teachers who invited me to babysit and stay for dinner during tumultuous and broken teenage years, Bible Study leaders who patiently answered my many questions in an effort to draw me closer to the Lord, and a pastor turned sister who has mentored me for over a decade. My life has been blessed by more experienced women coaching, instructing, listening, and challenging me along the way.

This is why I believe so deeply in the power of mentoring relationships and why I seek to come alongside others in their journey to Christ-centered wholeness.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in the process:

1. Be brave 

Mentorship begins with boldness. See someone in your church community, Bible study or school social circle you’d like to meet with and learn from? Ask them! It might feel scary, but the worst that can happen is they say no or not now. Just think of the fruit that may come if they say YES!  I think it’s worth the risk.

And to those of you being asked, please don’t shy away from the opportunity and responsibility. Women are longing for your wisdom. Share it. Let them watch you and learn from you.

Do you know the Word well? Teach it! Read scripture together and model your study strategies.

Do you have the steadfast patience of Job in difficult circumstances? Allow someone going through a rough season to see how you do it. Tell them about your journey to deep, sustaining faith and let them be a firsthand witness to the Lord’s strength in you.

Have you raised children? Great! Share what you’ve learned and experienced with a mom of little ones who’s still knee-deep in the trenches, or one who is battling the teenage years.

I understand the fear and trepidation that comes with trying to fit one more thing into an already full schedule (really, I do), or the anxiety associated with believing you have little to give (yup, major hold-up here). Just know this: There is no prescribed method and you can create a relationship with expectations that work for both of you.

2. Be flexible and creative

When I was a young mom I often chatted with my mentor Vicky when she was driving. I’d put the phone on speaker mode and make lunch, wash dishes, or fold laundry while we talked. Before our relationship evolved into a more natural one, we had monthly scheduled meetings that included legitimate homework and tools to help hone my leadership and ministry skills.

During what I refer to as my striving season, Kim and I laid on the couch and listened to worship music or read scripture out loud because she knew it was just what I needed. She’d check-in throughout the week to make sure I hadn’t added more to my already overflowing plate, and came over to help me make chili and cornbread as we puttered around my messy kitchen reflecting on how best to balance (or get rid of) the expectations I’d placed on myself.

Fast-forward a few years and I’ve found myself in more of a mentoring role. I may visit a young mom and sit on her living room floor to chat and pray while her babies play and crawl around us. Sometimes we just text – unable to find a time that works, but unwilling to lose touch.

Morning walks or coffee dates are my current go-to for engaging with young women – The added bonus is that they know the BEST quaint cafes and have introduced me to some of the cutest spots in the city. My current role in women’s ministry allows opportunities for valuable time with sweet millennials, even if just for a quick one-time meeting at my counter, over coffee, or for a quick lunch.  They have SO much to offer, and I always leave more enriched and filled than when I came.

There doesn’t always have to be a schedule or process – Just a willingness to engage, grow, and be used. Go ahead and get creative!  The possibilities for getting together and learning from one another are truly endless.

3. Get real 

When beginning a mentoring relationship, be honest about your fear, time limitations, and even expectations. In a more organic relationship these conversations may come about more naturally, but they’re essential to sustaining ones that are more systematic and planned.

Once a rhythm and trust is established, I’ve found that the deepest growth comes when both people in the mentoring relationship are open and aware of their weaknesses. All of my mentors have been beautiful fruit-bearers whose lives testify to their faith and walk with the Lord, but they don’t pretend to be perfect. I love and admire that about them. My greatest lessons were learned when they shared dark moments, sad times, “not-knowing,” and even personal struggles – All the while believing God would give them the strength to overcome. The best mentors are aware of their inability and serve out of a deep-assurance that Jesus really is their everything.

4. Pray (out loud)

No, really. Do it. I didn’t understand or value the power of praying out loud for people until I was mentored. When Sue asked how she could pray for me, she actually DID IT. Immediately after I answered.

Vicky always ended our Wednesday afternoon calls with heartfelt prayer for me – Right there over the phone while I paced back and forth across the hardwood floor with open hands accepting her intercession.

It was and continues to be the most powerful part of our relationship – Inviting God into the mess or praising Him for provision. So now I do it, too. Anywhere and at anytime. Because that’s what they modeled, and my greatest hope is that the women I love and mentor will benefit from laying everything at His feet the same way they taught me to.

5. It’s OK to end it 

Not even the best things last forever, and some (likely most) mentorships involve a season. When Kim agreed to meet with me, we knew I needed her skill and gift for a time – That when I had grown, changed, and developed the necessary skills to be more patient with my children and stop the unnecessary striving (spoiler alert – It’s all about a relationship with Jesus and staying in the Word), she would begin the necessary process with someone else. It’s not that we stopped loving or liking each other – She will always remain a cherished part of my life and I’m forever grateful for her influence – But her call was to mentor many women in the ways of Christ. It would have been selfish for me to hold on to her for longer than necessary.

The same is true for Sue. Her role on campus ensured she had dozens of mentees, and she continues to mentor women in her role as a counselor and lay-minister even today. I was blessed to have her for a time, and while I still love seeing her and count it a joy to talk on the phone or touch base online, Sue has other women to attend to. Her role was to guide me in my college years and I’m so very thankful she did.

Sometimes, mentor partnerships just don’t work out. You may have had different expectations, values, or learn that you don’t connect the way you thought you would. It’s ok. Really it is. Love each other anyway, appreciate the lessons you learned, grow from the experience, and find someone else.

Because here’s the thing, I’m a living testimony to the transformation that occurs through mentoring relationship. They work, friends. Really they do, and I want you to benefit from them as much as I have.

Fast-Forward

It’s been 24 years since I first met with Sue in her cozy basement suite. We talked on the phone the night I was writing this article and she prayed for me (out loud) and offered the sweetest encouragement (along with some much-needed guidance).  We don’t get to see each other much anymore, but I’m forever grateful for the influence she’s had over me.

And If you ever find yourself at my house for an impromptu or scheduled chat, I’ll likely offer a tea basket filled with a myriad of options, light a candle, and make sure there are plenty of blankets by the sofa.

For His glory –

Lisa

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Lisa loves the local church and is proud to call Summit View Community Church in Vancouver, WA home.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

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