Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mentoring...the final installment

The man pictured here is one of the most wonderful examples of a husband mentoring his wife. (a little authoress bias? Nah...) If you know me well, you have heard me say that I have become the woman I am because of Christ and the amazing man I married.

Eight years ago today, my husband proposed to me on a snow-covered mountain…with surprise beach picnics, mountain-view dining and a red rose-lined path in the fresh snow…the story can rival any I have heard. (Just ask someday, and I’ll share all the amazing details!)

But that’s not where it all began…let’s go back a little further. It was our senior year at George Fox, when our courtship began. And it was then that the man I would one day marry began a lifelong commitment to mentor his bride.

His willingness to lead me, teach me and encourage me to grow have been life-changing.

He charts the course for our marriage & family…In our journey through Ella’s diagnosis, birth and ever-changing challenges, his strength and leadership were and have been paramount in the formation of my healthy and right thinking about our sovereign God and suffering.

He provides leadership and proactively plans for the future…the formation of our marriage constitution, the reshaping of our budget and his convictions on the attitudes & behavior of his children…are a few examples.

He is motivated & pro-active…staying in tune with his wife and household and staying ahead. He is not a man who would rather not be bothered in regards to “all the home-stuff” or “can’t we just deal with it when it comes up?”

Parenting challenges, financial hurdles or personal struggles are not annoying interruptions, but rather opportunities to properly lead, encourage and model for me the best way to bring glory to God in that situation.

He is vigilant…keeping watch over his family, his home and his wife. The things we read, watch, and dwell on are of great importance to him, and are topics we often discuss as we model and mentor our children.

Some of my favorite gifts are the books I’ve received from him. Titles like “The Ministry of Motherhood”, “Biblical Womanhood in the Home”, “Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God” and “Future Grace”, have filled my mind and encouraged my heart. Through these intentional gifts, he is often the one who “introduces” me to some of my most influential mentors.

He is confident in me, his wife…consistently affirming my gifts and encouraging me to follow through with the leadings the Lord has placed upon my heart...whether they be in parenting, my friends or my vocation.

And my mind is flooded with many other memories in days past where he has taught me, guided me and asked questions of me that opened the truth to my mind. And more importantly, encouraged me to seek Christ and know Him more.

Now let me reiterate one of my first comments…this mentoring did not start after we were married or about year 3…no, it began when we were courting and it has never stopped.

The Lord has used this man to bring me closer to Himself.

And that is the greatest blessing of all.

Happy Engagement Anniversary to you my husband, my mentor, my love.
I love you.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing with the word,

so that he might present the church to himself in splendor,

without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25-27

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mentoring...Part III

One of my most recent mentors has been Ruth Bell Graham. I was gifted a great little book entitled “Celebrating An Extraordinary Life” (from another woman I would consider a recent mentor, Sono Harris). It is a compilation of observations and notes on the life of Ruth Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham. Some notes are by her, but most are from those around her, closest to her…those who knew her best.

Although I am not married to a world-renowned & famous man of God (while this may yet be his calling!), I am still gaining wisdom and insight on how to manage a home, engage the culture and handle the different challenges that come with marriage to a man in full-time pastoral ministry.

One of my favorite portions is this recollection by her daughter…

“The way she thinks, the way she talks, and the way she encourages is based on her faith. The Bible is truly her favorite book. How do you become that way? She was forced to make Jesus her best friend for a lot of reasons: because she was alone a lot, because she had to be private. I’m sure that desire grew and it just became natural to her…”

Since her husband was more or less a “celebrity”, Ruth kept her life and that of her children very private. Not many friends, not a lot of outings, etc… And her husband was sometimes gone as much as 9 months out of a year.

I don’t know about you, but I am blessed to be married to my best friend. And in these past months of him being gone half of every week, I have not always sought my Savior as my best friend.
There have been times that I have been quick to do so and the fellowship with my Lord has been sweet, the encouragement almost tangible, and the blessings remarkable.

But there have been other days when I think selfishly, “I just want my husband to be home…and I think I want him to be a plumber”.

Obviously this is not my true heart’s desire, for I know the talents and calling the Lord has placed upon my husband and I joy in being his wife and supporting him in serving the Lord.

And I am finding joy more and more in seeking the Lord as my best friend and only constant support. Especially in those times when my husband is away.

For He is never gone and never busy…His love is unconditional and His promises are true…my greatest joy is in Him and He will never disappoint.

And really, seeking Him in these days is one of the best ways I can serve my husband. And cherish my Lord.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mentoring...Part II

My father-in-law should be the “poster-boy” for mentoring. He thrives on it, teaches it, lives it and has seen it work over and over. I remember hearing him speak about the mentors in his life. Each one for a different topic…time management, theology, finances, ministry, family, etc…

And I remember thinking, “He hasn’t met half these guys, in fact, most of them are dead”.

My thought had always been that a mentor had to be someone you knew. But no, a mentor is someone whom you allow to speak into your life, either by being physically in their presence or through their books or teachings. It is someone you admire and want to emulate, usually in their area of expertise. You see their fruit, and want to grow your garden the same way.

My father-in-law has filled his mind with reading, information and teachings of countless men, each an expert in their field. And he has taken their things to heart and they have changed his life. He has allowed himself to be mentored by them.

And then, he mentored his sons in this passion for mentoring. And each of those sons is in turn mentoring their wives…and their children. (I am speaking confidently because I know Carey and Tarah will mentor their little one-on-the-way!)

To prove my point, and to add some credibility to my thoughts, I would encourage you to
click here to view a recent blog by my brother-in-law, Carey. (His second point is a favorite of mine.) He is speaking of and exemplifying the exact things his father taught him.

They are challenging. And they are good.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The video...

Well, I figured it out...the quality is not perfect, but the sound is priceless.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Mentoring...with guitars???

"The Three Macs"

The big jump at the end...

Oh yeah...
These pictures capture some serious mentoring going on in the McPherson basement. Levi is obsessed with his guitar and wants to be just like Daddy & Uncle Mac. He wants a pic, a capo…whatever daddy & Uncle Mac have, he needs.

I'm trying to post a video of the latest jam session (once I figure out this whole YouTube thing!)...these concerts are taking place most evenings before bed nowadays. What a great way to end the day.

Levi picks up new things everytime…a new way to strum, a jump at the end, a cool new facial expression…

He’s learning, he’s paying attention to his daddy and uncle and doing everything he can to be like them.

And thus in the process, he is being mentored. Okay, so it may sound like a strong word for such silly pictures…but the concept rings true.

Levi is seeking someone older, with experience and expertise in the thing he wants to be good at and is learning and imitating all that he can.

Don’t worry, we’re mentoring him in other things as well. You know…hunting, fishing, bravery, protecting his sister. Good old boy stuff. :o)

But it is a good way for this mother to be reminded of the influential little minds that sit under my teaching, my mentoring, every day.
They will probably act like me.
They will view Christ the way I portray Him.
They will judge others by how I speak of them.
They will value God’s Word based on the impact it has on our daily life.
And they will handle suffering the way it has been modeled to them.

Whoa. The thought is motivating to say the least and is what causes me to be on my knees, breathing prayers for wisdom as we parent these little ones in our care.

And mentoring…influence…imitating, is not limited to the mothers and fathers I know.

The young woman, maybe in her teens or college years, should be seeking out a woman whom she admires…to learn from and listen to. Another woman of influence, along with her mother.

The young nurse should be observing and approaching a veteran to ask questions, build support and learn all she can as she starts a new career.

The “older” woman, whose children are grown, should be seeking young women…maybe newly married or new mothers…to mentor, support, pray for and love, passing on the experience and knowledge of their years lived and challenges faced.

The husband, should be leading, mentoring, assisting and encouraging his wife to grow into the Godly woman he knows she can be. Being a gatekeeper for his home and protector for his wife.

The opportunities are endless and the excuses are almost as many.

I have been challenged, encouraged and convicted in recent days on the benefits and long-term effects of mentoring. Mentoring has always been important to me and I have benefited from many mentors in my life.

I’d like to take some time to reflect on some of them individually over the next couple of days.
Rock on...