Faith, Uncategorized

When You Can’t See Ahead: The Value of Mentors

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”

— John C. Maxwell

Sunday evenings as a high school senior I showed up at church. Hard chairs formed a circle in the side room. They were always there along with us girls.

E563AB2A-F76D-4A1E-A115-69964EC09947They shined light through our dense fog of relationships, college decisions, school, and family situations. They hugged. They prayed. They sacrificed time and listened.

They were two moms, Darlene and Cheryl, and their sons were also high school seniors.

One cold, December Sunday I arrived heavy with a decision I needed to make the next day. I was confused. Flustered. Overwhelmed. Darlene and Cheryl gracefully walked me through my jumbled brain and helped me see the bigger picture. Their presence calmed, inspired, and motivated, and I left knowing the decision I needed to make.

And 21 years later, I sat across the table at Starbucks with a friend from that circle. Time hadn’t passed. It couldn’t have. For an hour, we were back in those hard chairs. Darlene and Cheryl’s influence seeped into our conversation as we shared life and stories of God’s faithfulness through the past two decades.

What if Darlene and Cheryl hadn’t shown up week after week in a critical time in our lives? What if their to-do lists were too long, and they were too busy to enter our emotions and craziness? I’m sure it was risky and uncomfortable to move from sideline observers to joining us in the middle of our games. It always is. But I’m grateful they took the chance.

Each Sunday a deposit entered the bank accounts of our hearts, and the return investment continues to pay dividends. 

As this new year begins and a blank slate appears, I look around and am inspired to say “yes” to the things that truly matter. The true beauty comes not in necessarily seeking it out, but in faithfully taking the next step that’s in front of us, and maybe, just maybe, we can be a Darlene and Cheryl to someone when it’s least expected.




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