I always had a heart for encouraging younger girls and sharing lessons of life with them. Even as far back as high school, I would take a few younger friends under my wing. Once I became a Christian in college and returned home, I settled into my church and began work with the youth ministry. Two years later, my husband and I began living and working at a boarding school. Living in a dorm with 40 teenage boys from around the world made me pretty desperate for girls of any age, so I slipped over to one of the girls’ dorms one night a week to “officially” supervise study hours while seizing opportunities to informally mentor.
It was amazing to see how God took the heart I always wore on my sleeve and began using it to minister to these curious young women.
Some of them came from broken homes and reckless relationships, full of fear about their futures. Others came from nurturing, Bible-steeped families, but had real concerns about what life would be like in college and beyond.
As a newly married twenty-something, I had a bit of credibility in their eyes, so they naturally sought my advice. I used these times of answering their questions to also share my testimony.
By giving them a piece of my life and sneaking in truths from my spiritual journey, God opened the doors to their hearts as I shared vulnerable real-life experiences and relevant truth.
I often wondered if it would be like this when I had my own children. Would my daughters, should God give me any, be as captivated? Would they have teachable hearts? How would I reach them as their mom instead of being only their mentor?
As I shared life with these teen girls, I was sharing Christ with them . . . through my story-telling but also in how I lived.
His story was written on my heart were revealing the ways of God and His purposes, not only for me, but also for them.
In the same way Jesus uses parables in the Scriptures to illustrate God’s instructions, my life stories painted a picture of how God works and transforms and makes new all things, offering them hope for their futures and often a new perspective on life.
2 Corinthians 3:3
Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
Over the years, my testimony has often been the launching point of my mentoring relationships. But it doesn’t begin and end there. As I walk with the Lord, my life testimony becomes greater than my salvation story. Each lesson learned is a lesson to share. Each act of God’s grace is an act to proclaim. Each moment of sin overcome by repentance is one to brag on God about.
Stories set the backdrop for mentoring relationships, offering a personal side with a biblical truth, which cultivates authentic relationships and a place for teachable moments. It is a natural process that marks sharing life together. All it takes is being willing to expose God’s extravagant grace, forgiveness, power to heal, provision, and love for the sake of building others up in the faith and pointing them toward Jesus.
These mentoring connections steeped in storytelling marked nearly two decades of my life living at the boarding school and working with teen girls. And, much to my delight, it’s also been the most precious part of raising girls (and a son, too). As share the stories I’ve learned through life along with the Scripture-drenched lessons God’s given me the privilege to learn, I’ve been able to pass them onto my spiritual children and those I’ve given birth to as well.
These stories fold into everyday life and become as much a part of my mentoring as they are a part of my parenting.
Real life offers the potential to illustrate biblical principles in ways that a sermon or study alone cannot accomplish. I use stories to draw my children and mentees into the Scriptures, translating parables into modern-day applications. It is amazing to watch the Lord use my fumbles and foibles to touch the hearts of the next generation.
Their curious minds are hungry for truth, but the pathway to their heart comes through story.
They want to be taught but not lectured, so why not share an experience? Why not reveal a struggle? Why not confess a lesson learned? Yes, we can confess even our sin-confess-repent experiences, without the gory details, to show them a pattern they’ll need for their own lives too!
Our stories aren’t about our glory. They are about His stories for His glory!
It’s about humbling using a Jesus-like approach to build deeper relationships and reach the hearts of our daughters, and the next generation at larger, for the glory of God.
Journey with you,
P.S. If mentoring your daughter and sharing your story feels hard, you don’t need to struggle along any more. I promise I’ve done everything I can to make mentoring super simple for you in the Impact Mentoring course. Learn more here.