I recognize that pleading longing in a woman’s eyes. I can almost hear her say: “Please help me cope with the daily-ness of life; guidance for a more satisfying marriage and steps to a deeper spiritual life.”
The story of Jesus and Bartimaeus continues to ignite my passion for mentoring. As Jesus and his disciples walked through the city of Jericho, they encountered a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing through the city he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People rebuked him and shushed him to be quiet, but Bartimaeus was desperate so he shouted again, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard this cry for help, He had the man brought over to Him and asked Bartimaeus this simple, yet poignant and direct question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
How I wish someone had asked me that question when I was going through my period of temporary insanity. I believe with all my heart that Jesus needs you and me to be His hands and feet to help answer that question in other people’s lives.
One gloomy, rainy day I met my mentee for a little picnic beside the banks of a peaceful, tree lined creek. We settled into our lawn chairs but soon we were caught in an onslaught of a downpour and we sat shivering under umbrellas. Soon my mentee’s tears flowed almost as furiously as the rain. She told me there was nothing left to salvage her marriage and she was thinking about moving out of the house for a while. As I listened to her pain, and the hopelessness, I asked her that moving question, “What do you want me to do for you?” She responded, “I don’t know, but I don’t think I believe in my marriage anymore.” Because I believe in the sanctity, beauty and covenant vows of marriage I responded, “Then I will believe for you.”
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Walking alongside of another human being, listening to their hearts and believing in them is one of the most powerful gifts we can give someone. Not fixing them, but helping them to believe in what God can do in their lives.
There are five questions I ask myself before I agree to mentor:
- Is there an authentic desire for the woman to be mentored? If not, then both parties are wasting their time.
- Do you like each other? If not, it will be difficult to reach goals and grow spiritually together.
- Do you both have the time and discipline to commit to this?
- Do you both know why you are doing this? Are there clear expectations?
- How long can I commit to this period of mentoring?
I’m happy to report that my mentee’s marriage survived and over time has healed and still thrives. We need to remind each other that, yes life is hard, but we are not powerless.