When Did I Become the Older Woman?

by Judi Chow

My sister told me her pastor asked her to consider mentoring some of the younger women at church since the Bible (Titus 2:4) teaches that older women should train up younger women. My sister’s immediate response was, “When did I become the older woman?” A few strands of gray hair might be her qualification! After the pastor’s somewhat comical and embarrassed laughter, my sister gave it serious thought. She decided to clean up the junk that is overflowing in her house. What’s that got to do with mentoring? Being a practical person, my sister felt a fairly tidy house is essential if she were to invite those younger women to her home for any kind of interaction. How true it is, if we are to be good models, the outside as well as the inside of our live has to be put in order.

Come to think of it, I have been looking without success for a mentor for myself as well as for other missionaries. Could it be that no one wants to admit being the older woman? Maybe the thought of being a mentor requires the level of dedication to which people are not ready to commit. The fact is, a lot of us talk about mentoring, but only a few are doing it. Maybe we are not sure how to go about doing it. The uncertainty usually scares people, because we are afraid of what we might get into.

Mentors actually can be friends, relatives, coworkers, or teachers. A mentor usually is a more mature person who acts as a role model, challenger, counselor, or guide. The mentor offers the younger person an opportunity to share his/her dreams, spiritual journey, and life situations including school, work, ministry, or interpersonal relationships. It can be a predetermined time frame, say a year, or as flexible as both parties feel comfortable and agreed upon. An older person with valuable life experience, wisdom, and insight is in a unique position to give the younger person advice, access, and advocacy. Mentoring can also be called life coaching.

If every missionary or minister has a mentor to seek counsel, to be accountable to, to share his/her joy as well as struggles with, I am sure we shall have a greater number of mighty servants of the Lord witnessing victoriously in every corner of the earth. The question is, am I willing to take the time, to get involved, to share my life experience, to be a role model for a younger person to follow? It is a tall order, but who said I have to do it alone, and who said an older woman is an old woman?

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