One of my very dear friends came to visit yesterday, and she was like a breath of fresh air!
Tammy is one of those rare people who listens without judging and speaks words of truth AND grace without beating around the bush. She’s told me when I was being a negative ninny in my marriage and she’s helped me process my father’s absence. She offered support during the first few emotional weeks of bringing Carissa home and she’s celebrated with me the birth and growth of this creative outlet.
She is the answer to my prayers when I was looking to find a mentor. In so many ways, Tammy is my Titus 2 sister.
But I didn’t always have her in my life. In fact, there were many years when I really longed for an older woman other than my mom who could guide me through life’s tough seasons and rejoice with me over the big and little miracles. But everyone around me was either part of our ministry or not in a place to mentor a young woman.
So how can you find a mentor when there’s no one around to ask?
You turn to books.
Books As Mentors
Many of you know I grew up in Romania as a missionary kid.
I was (and still am) an introvert who is socially awkward and not very good at small talk. So in the absence of friends and mentors, in a culture I didn’t feel at home in, I took refuge in books.
Books became my companions. We stayed up into the wee hours of the night laughing at each other’s adventures, weeping over broken hearts, and learning important life lessons.
The Mandie Series was an instant win, followed closely by The Christy Miller series a supporting church had sent me as a Christmas gift. Gone with the Wind (which I snuck from my aunt) gave me an early education in sexual escapades much too early in my childhood, while Cheaper By The Dozen ruined me for life with its emphasis on elimination of waste motion.I began reading everything I could get my hands on.
I may not have had the best taste in books to start with, but my parents recognized my insatiable hunger for more books and knowledge, and my father especially supplied me with quality Christian reads.
The first books that first revolutionized my spiritual life were
- Leslie Ludy’s Authentic Beauty,
- Amy Carmichael’s Biography,
- Elizabeth Elliot’s Let Me Be a Woman,
- and Becky Tirabassi’s Let Prayer Change Your Life.
There were many more to follow, and I’ve since discovered gems like
- Andrew Murray’s Collected Works On Prayer,
- John Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight For Joy,
- Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling,
- Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages,
- and most recently Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Good News for Weary Women
- and Mike Erre’s Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God.
It’s true, not every book is an instant friend. I’ve wadded through many mediocre and heretical books, and I always approach a new title with a dose of skepticism.
But God has graciously used books as mentors throughout my life, teaching, admonishing, encouraging, giving practical answers and solutions. By reading, I’ve learned more about myself as a Jesus-follower, a woman, a wife, mom, daughter, careerwoman, writer, dreamer, money-manager, homemaker, and everything in between.
Read and listen to one thinker and you become a clone;
Read two and you become confused;
Read ten and you get your own voice;
Read a hundred and you start to become wise.
― Timothy Keller
God has blessed us to live in an era where we have more access to wise teachers than at any other point in history, whether through books, blogs, podcasts, videos, or face-to-face interaction.
I’ve met people who aren’t really “into reading,” and that’s fine. I’m not here to convince anyone they need to read. But if you’re longing for a mentor but you’re ignoring books, then you’re overlooking one of God’s answers to your prayers.
Photo Credit: seyed mostafa zamani