Table Mentoring: Blessed to Be a Blessing

As a young mom with babies and dishes, laundry piles growing and lots of dreams for what lay beyond, I’ll always remember a woman in my church approaching me with an idea that surprised me.  She wanted me to teach and encourage her teen daughter, and she wanted her daughter to grow a heart for serving others, and a mindset of learning from a woman a few steps ahead of her on life’s path.  My church friend proposed sending her daughter and a friend to my home one day a week.  During that day, the girls would help however I needed; they could change diapers, wash dishes or fold laundry, play with toddlers or whatever I could come up with.  In exchange, I’d spend part of that time encouraging these two friends.  We could do a formal Bible study or just spend time talking and praying together.

 

Honestly, I was surprised and humbled (really, more like awed and a little terrified).  Here was a woman I respected, willing to trust me with offering wisdom to her daughter at a crucial time in her life.  I wasn’t long married and much of my day in that season involved helping my husband with ministry projects in between nursing babies and trying to whip up healthy and edible meals for the rest of the family.  I found it painfully difficult to squeeze in ten minutes to read a passage of scripture and even more difficult to actually think about it in depth.  I was frankly unsure I had much to offer; in that season it was a lot about survival.  🙂

 

But I said yes, and I’ll always be grateful I did.  The simple act of spending time together built a sweet friendship that still stands to this day.   Having a “responsibility” to interact with those girls in a meaningful way was just the kick in the pants that I needed to open my Bible, to seek wisdom, to pray for our time together, to model kind parenting or faithful housekeeping looked like.  And those girls were really a missionfield – an opportunity to invest in the life of another with forever in mind – and they came right to my living room floor.

 

A few months ago, I connected with a sweet “big sister” in faith via a Facebook post.  She was writing about the power of “table mentoring,” and her words resonated with a passion I have – inviting others to join me at our family table, so that we can invest in each other’s lives.  Sue Moore Donaldson has written a book that dives into the nuts and bolts of what mentoring another woman can look like, and it’s filled with sweet and encouraging stories, biblical truths, and challenges to put feet to our faith in Jesus.  One thing I love about Sue is her humble sense of humor and candor about the lack of need to have it all together or to impress, in order to mentor someone a few steps behind where we are in life.  She doesn’t hold back: everyone needs to mentor and be mentored, she says.

 

 

As a recipe-developer (ok, really I’m just someone who loves to play with food and flavor!), I especially love how Sue shares recipes she loves, and funny little anecdotes about using food as a vehicle to invite sweet communication.

 

 

One of the biggest things I think holds us back from seeking out a mentoring relationship is fear.  What if I don’t know enough?  What if it’s awkward?  What if the other person is not what I was expecting?  Each chapter addresses some of our fears or concerns and asks probing questions to get us thinking as women, about entering a mentoring relationship.  Here are a few that might help you!

  • Do I love Jesus more today than ten years ago? One year ago?

  • Do I trust Him for the unknowns in my future?

  • Do I know some of His promises in His Word?

  • Do I live like I trust in those promises?

Sue says this: “If you answered: ‘Sort of.  I’m working on it,” you are ready to mentor.  Paul wasn’t perfect, just pressing.”  Then she says, “If you know one promise in God’s word, you are ready to mentor that one promise.  Ask God for someone to share it with today.”

{Excerpt from Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside, Sue Moore Donaldson}

 

Sue’s writing style is no-nonsense, but she makes you feel like you’ve settled in next to a long-time friend for some wise advice and a comforting presence. It’s pretty much how I hope to come across to you as you read here! And I think, like you, I fit that description.  In any given season, I may feel like I have one promise from God that I’m holding on to – one thing I can share with someone who’s coming alongside.

 

And do you know what amazes me?  When I look for someone to learn from, when I seek to share something I’ve learned from someone else, God always multiplies that.

 

Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside, is available on Amazon now.

 

 

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