Mentor and Mentee
mentee and mentor

Scientists say it’s possible for us to see the light of a distant star, farther from the earth than our own sun, after that star has died. The star might be long gone, but we may still benefit from its light gleaming in the heavens today.

Mentee

This past week I lost such a star. Marilyn Gaeta was a godly woman who mentored me for almost ten years. The ultimate “Titus 2 woman” (Titus 2:3-5), Marilyn took this (then) young woman under her wings. I was barely thirty when she began encouraging and discipling me in every area of life: marriage, discipleship, ministry, teaching, speaking. Who I was as a wife and who I am as a woman, a Christian, and a ministry leader is due in large part to her influence.

Marilyn encouraged me in countless ways. And she challenged me to grow. She did not shy away from saying the hard things I needed to hear. But she wrapped the truth in love. Her desire was always for my eternal good and God’s ultimate glory.

mentor and mentee

And now this faithful servant of Jesus Christ is worshipping her Savior face to face before the Throne of God. Our loss is her gain.

Mentor

The same weekend I received the news of her graduation to heaven, I also received a request to mentor a young woman. She’s the third person to ask for a one-on-one mentoring relationship in the past several years. I say this, not to boast. Heavens, no!

Instead, I say this with continued surprise that anyone would view me in this light. I still see myself as the “younger woman” needing the mentorship of someone older and wiser than myself. Yet the calendar and multiplying gray hairs tell me it’s time to also embrace this season of life. And each time I speak into the life of another, I pray I will be an echo of what Marilyn was to me.

I haven’t—and none of us has—”arrived” in our spiritual walk. And we won’t, this side of heaven. But in the great circle of life, we will almost always find other Christians both ahead of us and behind us on this journey. Regardless of where we are, there’s always someone else we can encourage, disciple, and (dare I say it?) mentor. Don’t wait till you have all the answers. Sometimes the relationship is about seeking those answers together.

*What does this connection look like? For the younger woman, it begins with a willingness to ask and seek as the Holy Spirit prompts. For the older woman, it begins with being willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s prompts to be attentive and open to the younger women around her. And for both parties, it requires a willingness to be real, to be vulnerable, and to see the value in cross-generational relationships.

So where are you in this process? Mentor? Mentee? Or neither…yet?
Will you tell God you’re open to seeing how He might use such a relationship in your life? Then follow as He leads!

*Note: For more information about mentoring relationships, see the resources on the Revive Our Hearts website.


Nine Misconceptions of Love
misconceptions of love

We want love. We need love. More than one thousand song titles contain the word love. We write books about it. Recite poems. We chase it and sing about it and fall for misconceptions of love. And no matter what we do, we can’t get enough.

Maybe that’s because we don’t understand what love really is. And there’s no time when misconceptions of love are more prevalent than Valentine’s Day.

1. We think of love as something that happens to us, but it’s an intentional decision.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34 ESV).

2. We think romantic love must be young and sexy, but faithful love lingers long after our bodies begin to fail.
“So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:15 ESV).

3. We think a loving marriage is all about our happiness, but the Bible tells us it’s a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church.
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV).

4. We think love is about saying nice things, but true love is seen as well as heard.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (I John 3:18 ESV).

5. We think “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” when true love means we’re the first to apologize.
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2 ESV).

6. We think the goal of love is to make us feel special, when the goal of love is to put the other person’s needs before ours.
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (I John 3:16 ESV).

7. We think love is our idea, but the Bible tells us God loved us first.
“We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19 ESV).

8. We think we should only love those who love us, but we are to love even our enemies.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV).

And the biggest misconception about love?

9. We think love is just an emotion, but the Bible tells us it is a Person.
“God is love” (I John 4:8 ESV).

The greatest expression of love occurred when God gave the life of His Son to restore us to Him through the sacrifice of Christ. Receiving His love enables us to give it to others.

Love is to be treasured, whether we’re celebrating the love of family, a spouse, or a good friend. And the most costly manifestation of love was first extended by God to us. Let’s lay aside the misconceptions and treat love as the precious gift it truly is.

What other misconceptions of love can you add to this list?


The Best Defense is NOT a Good Offense

Thirty-five years ago, I stopped a pickpocket. It happened on Nassau Street in lower Manhattan as I watched a man match his stride with a woman in front of him. When he was close enough, he reached into her side coat pocket from behind and lifted out her wallet.

She was clearly oblivious to what was happening, so I said something. Actually, I shouted something. It wasn’t very profound. More on the order of, “Hey, you! That’s not yours! Give it back!”

The victim stopped and turned around. The thief did the same. Then he called out something I’ll never forget. “Mind your own business!”

That’s right. He chastised me for interfering with his “business.”

I had forgotten about that incident until recently. Before I canceled my landline I received a steady stream of scammer calls. You know, the ones where someone calls from “Windows” and says they’ve seen “suspicious activity” on your computer…and then they offer to help.

The frequency of these calls was beyond annoying. No matter what I said or did, I couldn’t stop them. So I confess to having a little fun at their expense. If I couldn’t stop the calls, it gave me a tiny bit of satisfaction to cause them grief, too. So I might have pretended to be deaf and make them repeat themselves umpteen times before I hung up. Or I might have feigned cluelessness about owning a computer, so how could they have received notification of suspicious activity?

But one call stands out from all the others. The scammer call came (again) and I messed with the caller (again). This time his response left me speechless…and reminded me of the pickpocket from thirty-five years ago. When he realized I wasn’t falling for his line, he chastised me for wasting his time! He had called me for fraudulent purposes, intending to scam me, yet he had the nerve to say I’m wasting his time?

Clearly the pickpocket and the scammer both subscribed to the philosophy, “The best defense is a good offense.”

Then I thought of how I often respond when I’m under the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Yup. The best defense is a good offense.

  • Lord, I know I’m supposed to forgive, but what she did is so much worse!
  • Lord, if I don’t get this job, then it’s your fault if I can’t pay my bills.
  • Lord, I know you said I need to put others’ interests ahead of my own, but if you want me to glorify you, I need that opportunity.

Sigh. What I need is humility. I need to call my behavior what God calls it. Unforgiveness is sin. Pride is sin. Selfishness is sin. The best defense is not a good offense. The best defense is humility and surrender to the Holy Spirit. Because, in reality, I have no defense for my own for sin. I only have the payment made by Jesus Christ on my behalf.

My best defense is my only defense. His name is Jesus.


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