Rachel doesn't remember who said it, either, but--a few years ago--we were in small group at her house when someone started talking about mentoring relationships. This person encouraged anyone who wanted a mentor to pray for one and wait for God to reveal that person. She stressed: the relationship should never feel forced, always organic. She suggested, basically, that the right mentor would just sort of show up, and both parties would feel it.
I have two women in my community who mentor me to a certain degree, and, oddly enough, they're very close friends: a fact I didn't know when I fell in love with each of them, separately. So I've never really prayed for a mentor. I don't know whether or not Rachel has, either, but--just over a year ago--she lost a mentor to cancer.
I almost didn't include this part for fear of overwriting the post, but I know in my spirit: it's an important part of the story. I loved Rachel's mentor, too, and few times in my life have I felt as burdened as I did during his last days. It's hard to explain, but it was almost as though two loved ones were slipping away because I grieved not only for myself, but also--on a completely different (but equally intense) level--for Rachel.
Rachel and I joke that we take turns going through difficult times, and, praise God, it's more than halfway true. But--just over a year ago--we were both low, and I felt like I had nothing to offer my friend. I happened to be reading a blog, and the smiling face of the blogger captured my eye. I remember thinking: I'll bet she would pray for Rachel and me. I felt prompted in my spirit to e-mail this person I didn't know, and I did. I dumped the truck on her, through e-mail.
She responded by e-mailing a prayer so beautiful that it makes me cry to this day: especially because, now, I'm far enough down the pike to see all the ways in which God has answered it.
And, since that time, my blogger friend Anne has proceeded to fill a void in my life that I hadn't even recognized. A homeschooling mother...a mother of seven!, she's offered so much through the wisdom of her blogged words, alone. She hosts "Pages in Our Heritage of Faith," a weekly link-up through which she encourages bloggers to record the ways in which God shows up in the lives of their families. I started blogging for my children, and Anne motivates me in writing out my faith for them.
Anne has carved out time for me through e-mail, and she's poured her prayers over me, on the phone. Her children know my name and my brother's name, and they pray for us. Before I spoke, last year, at my first retreat, I e-mailed Anne my outline. When I took a pregnancy test last month, and Jim asked me to share the positive result with only one person, I reached out to Anne.
Now, let me tell you something about Anne. She won't much let a person brag on her without saying: "It's all God." And it is. It is God. But Anne allows God to speak, through her, into my life.
That's a powerful, praiseworthy thing. I'm so thankful for God's gift of a mentor!
You can visit Anne's blog by clicking the button below. Also and by the way, this post is the newest of many I've written about my closest friends and the specific gifts they bring to my life. You can read the others by clicking the tiny label, below, that says "Gift Project."