Friday, July 13, 2007

My Mentor Story

First, for my girls who are reading this---sorry, I know you have heard it before. But Shelly over at To Know Him--started this. If you have not been visiting her blog--you should. She posted yesterday a post titled--The call for Elisabeth's. It was great. Thus--my post.
Actually I was going to post today about one of my Mentee's and her need for prayer. I will probably mention her in the end.

My Story
I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were young Christians when I was born and they were learning to walk the walk. I do remember Dad sitting in his chair reading the Bible and praying--although we used to joke and say when his eyes were closed it was just an excuse for a nap. He was deep in meditation. :)
I remember getting up in the morning seeing Mom reading her Bible. They were both heavily involved in ministry. It was a Christian home, good-- but not perfect. But that is not what this post is about. Just want ya'll to realize that even when you grow up with these examples you still have so much more to learn.
Growing up,, I was very insecure and very fearful. I mention that because that fear as a young lady, married, and with a child---led me to look for someone who would help me. Now---I want to mention that I believe the road God had me travel was for a reason. But, that said I went to a former pastors wife and told her the problems I was having and that I needed help. None was given. For years I was angry with her and eventually at the church. And I walked away for 7 years.

I need to back up just a minute and let you know some details of my before marriage years.
I became a Christian at the age of 5. God was deeply involved in my life from a very early age---I wanted to be a pastor when I was about 9----but I had been born a female. Whole nother story. Gotta stay off of the rabbit trails.
I went to a Christian High School(I was considered a geek probably because I was much more interested in Bible study and Christian things and then the other students) went off to 2 years at a Christian Liberal Arts college in TN(while there started accountability groups that the college came to me to get info on so they could try and continue them when I left). After two years I transfered to LSU ---for a guy. NOT A GOD DECISION! But God was working.
I transfered after one semester and went to a smaller college where I spent another 2 and a half years dating a new guy--but no degree.Then a couple asked me to move with them to Virginia as their nanny while they got settled in. I went for three months and then-- my now husband came and picked me up and we eloped while there. We came back and kept the wedding a secret because my husbands Mom wanted a big church wedding. She passed away a week before that date. By this time I was almost two months pregnant. No one knew but Keith.
Our first years were very rough.
When money became tight--another rabbit trail-- I decided to go to culinary school so that I could get a good job in a fine dinning restaurant. I did great--as I look back I know it was God still guiding my footsteps. He was going to teach me some mighty lessons --even in the middle of my rebellion.
During this 7 years I turned my back on God. I was so empty. I figured that the whole God thing just did not work.
You have to understand that I knew so much about the Bible. I had studied it and been taught it--tried to do it--did it. But on the inside I was lacking joy and peace. And so I listened to the lies of the Devil and figured the world would have something to offer me. I was very successful in my culinary field. I won lots of awards and moved up fast in the field. I came into a fine dinning kitchen green--and within a year I was running the kitchen. So, I was going to culinary school and working 60 hours a week.
This led to my separation from Keith when our son was about 4. My mother was seriously worried about my emotional health. I worked hard, experimented a little with drugs and alcohol. God was protecting me because Satan could have really taken me down.
After a about a year- Keith and I started talking again. We went to a few sessions of counseling and he moved in with me. We made a decision for me to change jobs so that I would be working less hours.
This was a God move. When I moved to this country club as a manager I began to run into people that I had gone to church with. One of the couples began to take a little interest in me.
Now with a lighter schedule I began to get a Sunday off now and then. Because I wanted to give my marriage a try--I went to church. Can I tell you-- after having been out in the world and then coming back--the people I saw seemed so fake. They were so "playing the game". The same game I had been playing--most of the time anyway. I admit that during those early years I did love the Lord as much as I knew how.
We had been back together for about a year when we decided to have another child. My son was now 8 years old. We decided that I would stop working to stay at home with the new child. There is a whole lot more to this story--but that would be another rabbit trail.
God was really starting to pull me to Himself.
I began to read my Bible again. I was so hungry. I needed Him. I remember telling Him, "I am going to give you one more chance to show me that this whole thing really works. I want to know you". I began to passionately pursue Him.
And what does scripture say--if we search for Him--he will be found. Can I tell you---- He blew me away. I knew now that what I had been doing was trying to know about Him and do what I was susposed to do--but I was not having a relationship with Him. He was not my friend and I had no clue how loving He was. Or even how to love him.
During this time I read Titus. I wanted an older woman. I began to pray. I was asking God to bring a woman into my life that would teach me, care for me--be someone I could talk to. None came. I had reached out once before--I was very leery of doing that again. So I didn't. How strange would it would have been for me to walk up to a woman and say, "secuse me, could you be my mentor?".
I began to help teach a women's group. God was expanding my mind by leaps and bounds. I had an appetite for the word and researching topics---I learned a lot. I aggravated a few who wanted to stay comfortable. Excited a few who really wanted to get serious about this God thang. But--still no mentor for me.
In a series of God events--we left that church and started attending the church we go to now. It was a good church-- but I needed more. This is when I first heard about a teacher named Beth Moore. At first I was just looking to see if there were any other women out there like me. Women who wanted more than to be fed on Sunday by their pastor. Women who wanted to talk about the deep things of God. Needless to say---I FOUND ONE. Can I say that my heart soared when I sat through her study? I was not crazy. There was someone else out there who was not satisfied with a Sunday relationship with God. God used her in my life as a spiritual mentor. He showed me it was o.k to go ahead and pursue Him with passion. I thank God for sending her into my life.
Do I have a mentor now?
Am I still hoping that in the grand scheme He sees fit to send me one?
Why hasn't He?
I truly think that God wanted me to become fastened to Him securely. A mentor would have come between us. I have learned this lesson with some of my mentee's. If you are not real careful--they will become more dependent on you than on God. I have had this happen. It was a very painful situation for both of us--but God has healed and restored that relationship.
SO how did I find my mentee's? God gave me a burden for them. I approached them and God worked the rest out. I think you have to be wise taking on someone God has not appointed to you. I do think that sometimes Satan can send along some that just become a distraction. He sends then to sidetrack you.
Well I guess I will have to save something I wanted to share for another post. Let me just ask that if God brings this to your mind please pray about it. I have been mentoring a young recently married (previously Muslim) convert. She has been a Christian about a 1 1/2 years. Last week she left her husband and is now receiving instruction in the Muslim religion. Her name is Noha.
I will talk about her in another post.
Thank you if you made it to the end of this post.
Sorry it was so long.
If you are a mature Christian woman please pray for God to put someone on your heart to mentor. There is a "me" out there right now, who needs you.


My Heavenly Wings said...

Hey Sis! I read your post today and, even though I've heard your story many times before, it moved me to tears. I want you to know I am so sorry for all you've been through but I thank God for bringing you through it the way that he did because your story has touched me so many times throughout our friendship. I love you so much and thank you for letting God lead you into a relationship with a hardheaded nut like me.Ha-Ha! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Shelly said... heart is so full upon reading this post I don't know what part I want to comment upon.

I LOVED hearing your story. It is an amazing testimony of His tenacity and love for us. I love how He honors our pursuit of Him, even if feeble and weak at times.

I love that He redeemed your marriage and set you back in a church. Where you not only attended, but served. And I love how you warned against 'unhealthy' mentee/mentor relationships (per se) in suggesting that one or the other can become a distraction, a stumbling block in their pursuit of God as they lean more on you than Christ. I totally agree. You are so wise there.

Continue to fight in the heavenlies for Noha. His Word does not return void and I ask in the Name of Jesus that she fall to the authority He already has. May she return to her first love.

Melanie said...

I absolutely loved hearing your story. What a beautiful testimony you have. Thank you for sharing it.

Karen said...

I really enjoyed reading this Sharon. You've had a pretty exciting life I think, albeit having been through stuff, but it's very interesting. It's like you're being 'poured out like wine' for others, and it's a good place.

Nicki said...

Hey my friend! I loved this, I'll have to come back later and catch up on all your posts, but I wanted to sey hello to you today! Have a blessed day!!

Cindy said...

Hi! I found you via halfmoon girl, I think. Enjoyed reading your story. I'm praising God for bringing you through it all!

I also went to a liberal arts college in TN- any chance they are the same? Milligan? :)