Tumbling Mentors

Post a Comment » Written on July 14th, 2013     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Written by Rev. Gricel Medina (OWS)
BGE Chairperson

mentorsRecently I was curious of how exactly do stones become smooth. Weather and erosion are just some of the causes and effects. However, it is the tumbling around other rocks that causes the stones to become smooth on all sides. I love how God gives us such vibrant visual life lessons.

We all have stories to tell of seasons that have tumbled us. Dealing with difficulties in life is about making quick adjustments. David in the Bible was a tumbler. His encounter with Goliath is a story many children learn in church.  It is not just about defeating a great big giant. David was overlooked many times. FYI…especially during his formidable years by his own family. He overcame great adversities.

stonesIt is so interesting that he chose to carry 5 smooth stones before he faced a giant who arrogantly defied God. Defeating the giant bought David to the forefront of success. Success also came with the high price of unexpected adversaries inside and outside the palace. This is how he felt in the winter season of his life.

Psalm 71:18
O God, You have taught me from
my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

The word mentoring is being tossed around in different circles like it is a new thing. Mentoring has always been a vital tool in ministry and it is not just males that are called to mentor or need mentoring.

Doing volunteer work at a Title 1 school for over 4 years has allowed me to be a multi faceted mentor. At times it has been young children who have taught me the most significant lessons on the benefits of mentorship. I have also encountered the many giants marginalized children face daily. Some of these children, have been tossed around from a variety of painful occurrences.  They have moved from one neighborhood to another. It is hard for some to quickly adapt and make friends. Kids can sometimes be very exclusive and ostracize others that are different.  (Please note that teachers that work in these schools are commendable mentors.)

As a pastor it has been especially rewarding to see some of these same kids defy the odds. We are living in a time where people are having to relocate frequently for many unexpected reasons. Facing the giants of an unstable economy, death of a spouse, divorce, illness or financial setbacks (to name a few) can send many over the edge.

It is very hard to adjust when life is tossing us around. It is often during these moments that people can become angry and even withdraw from others. It is so important for mentors to sensitively undergird and lend a helping hand.  For me the most rewarding thing is to see people come out of a seemingly hopeless situation to a place of victory and hope.

How quickly some of us forget the times of tumbling. We also often neglect to realize that for some, the tumbling around in life has been going on for a long time. The way we personally deal with being tossed around in life is so important. It is also crucial to note that everyone deals with giants differently. David was ill advised to put on an armor that was inappropriate for him when facing the giant. Thankfully he faced this formidable foe with a sling shot. Odd? Yes it was… but it got the job done. We often expect others to handle giants the same way we do. David learned early in his life that every battle was different. Some were won and some were lost. God sent him mentors that came from a variety of backgrounds to challenge and encourage.

How often we place unrealistic expectations on others. Do as we say not as we do… It is unfortunate that we so willingly celebrate our own victories and those of others but we often shun those who are experiencing the pain of tumbling.

The way we deal with failure is just as important as how we deal with success. How can the church do better at empowering those who are losing the ground beneath them? What are ways we can truly advocate for those who are tumbling? How can we stop justifying our apathy? What are ways we can bring words of hope to those who are facing difficulties?

The good news is that tumbling can make us stronger and smooth our rough areas. The not so good news is that it can be overwhelmingly difficult to bear. Tumbling can knock the wind out of the strongest of sails. It can also make us bitter. Read the Book of Ruth. There are times when what we feel and proclaim to others is MARA…

If you are going through a difficult tumbling…you are not the only one. Be encouraged…You may feel alone but the reality is that God is there. God is aware of your tumbling and He hears your cries.  It is a very hard thing to be tossed around. It is even harder when others seem to kick you down the road like an empty can. Thank God that HE is always so faithful to us at every season.

One of my favorite bible tumblers was Naomi. God sent her an unlikely advocate in a dark place. It was not what you and I would expect. Naomi did not always appreciate her daughters-in-law. One was Orpah and the other was Ruth.  They were both worldly Moabites. In this short but powerful book in the bible we see how God bridges the gap of culture and race. These three unlikely and very grieving women joined together in a tumbling mentorship relationship. Both daughters-in-law were sent home in the middle of their journey. One went back and the other remained. I often wonder what would have become of Orpah had she continued on the journey.

Ruth was fiercely tenacious. She faithfully encouraged Naomi back to a place of pleasantness. Naomi had to be a hard person to deal with at this season. She had lost her husband and two sons. She was far away from home. However, Ruth was persistent to stay with Naomi (even though Naomi bitterly urged her to go back to her idolatrous people).  How about that for an oxymoron of a believer? Ruth however saw what the cantankerous Naomi had forgotten. She saw the faithful Jehovah.

Mentoring is a vital part of the mission of Biblical Gender Equality. I have known the privilege of godly men and women who have sacrificially invested themselves in my life. My mentors have not been perfect (neither am I) however, the mentors God has faithfully brought to my life have spoken to me even in their pain. That is hard to grasp, but so true. Mentorship has taught me that valleys as well as the victories testify of the grace of God. For that I am truly thankful.

The church needs more mentors who will commit to walk alongside others. Unfortunately, many women today are lacking true mentors. Men are much more likely to be identified as mentors and seek mentorship from other men. (That is a good thing) However, for some women it is very intimidating to be viewed as a mentor. I have personally  learned that being a mentor is about grace not perfection. You don’t have to be over a certain age to become a mentor. Mentors are people who have something to impart to another. Women of God…we need you to mentor men and women inside and outside the church. We need trustworthy, safe women who are willing to share godly wisdom to the next generation. The church needs to educate and advocate for women mentors. We need more women as well as men who will commit themselves to stick with others on life’s journey.

The mentoring lines were at times blurred on the road with Naomi and Ruth. At times Ruth was mentoring the exhausted Naomi. Mentoring does not always happen when we feel prepared.  Many times it is in the valley that God calls us to mentor. It is vital to know that God can still speak through us even in our pain.

Today take time to celebrate joyfully the triumphs in life. However, don’t forget that there may be someone around you that needs a word of steadfast encouragement. Be just as willing to mentor those who are tumbling as well as those who are celebrating. Be very careful not to shun those who are hurting and are tumbling in life. God still has a plan. Even in the times we may not know it or see it clearly… God is always in control. There is always hope with God. Remember that life has many twists and turns. Show kindness and be compassionate. Speak truth in love. Do justly…but at the same time sow seeds of mercy. Become a mentor to someone. Be ever mindful that someday you may need a harvest of loving mentoring commitments when life tumbles you around…

I hope and pray this blog is empowering you. Share with us how this blog is helping you in your journey. Inspire us with your mentoring story.

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