Authenticity · Vulnerability

Something Changed

Something has changed.

It was a slow change. From childhood when I was adored, to that awkward stage in between cuteness and puberty. Then again in youth (when I was the center of the world… and quite possibly the universe), until I became a young mom, who people wanted to help. And EVERYONE is eager to help a teen mom. (No, I’m not being sarcastic, this is my experience.)

I mean there were sometimes when I actually yearned to have some independence!!

Now I’m thirty-two.

Faith-filled. Strong. Steady.

But, somehow, more alone then I’ve ever been before. For where there once were people and mentors to guide me, there is a void. A big, empty chasm so deep I can’t see to the bottom. Where there once were mothers who poured into me… now I am the mother, pouring out. Teachers were filling me with knowledge, now I am that teacher filling others.

A funny change, when one becomes grown. A sad change, to do so much on our own. But a necessary step, I suppose. Independence certainly isn’t what I imagined it would be, back when I dreamed of the days it would be mine.

Being mentored.

Who would’ve thought that something children so often take for granted, would become something so precious to me in my older years. For now I truly see how it is the people who showed love and care, who sat with me when I was alone, who offered comforting words of wisdom, who lent a hand when it was needed and gave much needed parenting advice… those are the people who I now think of as I try to live and love those around me.

But there has been a shift these past few years. Where I once mourned and wished to find a mentor, I am now finding the positives in the lonely place I am. Not that I would refuse advice or an older woman’s input, but I am comfortable and at peace being on my own.

When I was in my 20s there were a few women that I would often call for help, or for prayer if I needed anything. But to be suddenly alone, with no one to ask, that was unexpected for me and threw me into a very raw season where I felt completely paralyzed to do anything. I felt helpless!

Until I realized that I have many mentors, they may just look different than they once did.

Each book I open, a new mentor speaks. Some who lived centuries ago, others who are my age. Some who went through the worst trials I could imagine and came through victorious. Some who lived through famines and wars and came through stronger. Some who died for what they believed in, others who were tortured until almost dead. Those who lost husbands or children. Those who lived a lonely life, unloved.

These mentors speak to me. They share wisdom. They share correction. They give perspective.

And best of all, I can take or leave their advice and they don’t know any different. I can take the time to meditate on their stories and assess if what they say is applicable for me. It’s wonderful. It’s freeing. I am becoming “me” without being swayed this way or that to please people or try to impress those I admire.

I am becoming quieter, as I listen to these mentors. Where I used to feel that the world needed another “truthful voice” – I now realize that it needs far more someone to listen. I used to want to be known, now I yearn to know those who are unknown and alone.

The change was slow. The change is deep.

It’s a letting go kind of change, and a change of embracing a new sort of perspective: It’s not about me.

It’s not about me.

I used to say those words and believe that I was living them. But now I know that I am just beginning to understand them.

So I ask, my readers, what are you learning lately? Has there been a change in you? A shift? Do you long for a mentor? Someone to depend on? Or do you love independence?

I truly want to know. Because these days, the best part of my blog, it’s not the stuff that I write (who cares about that 😂)… it’s the people I meet.

18 thoughts on “Something Changed

  1. I can so relate! Growing up has been so different than expected. I went through some hard seasons regarding mentors. I’m in a good place I’d say now and have some people I can call on as needed. But it took time. I wrote a blog post about finding a mentor actually. I’m curious what you would think if you want to check it out. I love your point about books being mentors!

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  2. It may sound strange, but only three months from age 69 and recently retired again, I would like a mentor to show me how to be useful as a senior citizen. We need mentors or people to socialize us in every new phase of life, but I don’t even know where to look. It’s like starting a new job and no one is there to actually tell you what you are expected to do. But, I trust God to lead me through this time, as He did in other phases. Do I continue to preach, when offered, or is there a time to let the young people do the work?

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    1. That doesn’t sound strange to me at all! In light of this post, I know that some young men may also be looking for a mentor. Perhaps that could be one way that you can serve God? And personally, I find it refreshing to hear sermons from retired pastors or seniors. You have such life experience and wisdom that is meaningful for a younger generation. Praying that you find someone to walk through these transitional years with you 🙏🏻

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    1. I’ve thought about that often! 😊 I used to have one older lady in my church that I saw as a mentor. She had some major health issues and has basically cut any ties with me as she refused to see anyone other than family. Unfortunately I go to a very large church which segregates groups by age. Add to that fact that right now I’m not even able to be closer than six feet to anyone other than my family when I go to church, it means that I have no opportunities to even introduce myself 😔

      It’s really impossible for me to find anyone right now, under the current circumstances. I’m encouraging my church to make changes and I myself am mentoring a group of 10 younger moms, who still teach me lots about life. But sadly, though I’ve reached out many times, there is no older woman I know of who has a passionate desire to do so for me. I’m still praying though and trusting that God will provide someday soon.

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  3. Heather, it’s funny, I was just having a conversation around the table about mentorship this evening, with my husband and extended family. I long for a mentor too. I have for quite some time and been praying about it. I have also noticed the segregation by age and wondered if that is the best way. Have we so disrespected or ignored the older generation, or insisted on our own independence and competence, that they are hesitant to guide us or speak to us, or to see themselves as mentors? But I love spending time around women who are older. I had the opportunity once by fluke while attending a retreat at our church. The retreat was great but a large part of the value for me was being around these godly, older women who had already walked through a lot of what I am currently experiencing. It’s like they had this wonderful aroma…I wished I could have been with them longer!

    And I’ve been feeling a gentle prodding that I need to get out of my own head once in a while and reach out to people more. Not necessarily as a mentor…but to just be available for interaction, to think about and listen to other people besides myself.

    A wonderful, thoughtful post. ✌️

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    1. I love your thoughts here, about how maybe our own treatment of elders and society’s treatment of them is the reason that not as many want to reach out. It’s terrible that growing old has become one of the most dreaded things! Think of the money and time we spend to “stay youthful”… when past cultures HONORED their elders. In my past, I had many opportunities to be mentored. That was the most difficult transition when I came to our church. I noticed it immediately, no older women mentoring younger ones. Just everyone grouped in the same stages of life. Even youth were mentoring youth. I specifically asked our leaders for a group of older women and “joined” the Women of influence for women over 30… imagine my surprise when they put me with a table if 30 year olds 🤦🏼‍♀️, even though I desired to move across the room to the older tables!! I felt a loss, but also a call. And I have SO been enjoying my relationship with these young moms I lead. Why, they have taught me SO much about the importance of support and encouragement!
      I am still waiting for a mentor. But like I said, I do now feel peace about the fact that God has given me a different sort of mentor for now. No doubt, one day I will find myself with more older women in my life again.

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  4. Sometimes, I think about the fact that “I am the adult now,” especially as I teach at a school. However, I realize that we can all “mentor” and be mentored, it’s just about having a teachable spirit. I think children have such a curiosity and willingness to learn that they can find mentors anywhere though they are not conscious of it. When we get older, it seems that our independence might pull us away from mentorship because if we don’t express our desire to keep learning, others may not feel the pull to mentor you. Why take a mentee who is not willing? I do like the verse about older women in the church teaching younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Ministry is important for both young and old.

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  5. Great post! You articulated what I was thinking recently when I was comforting my kid after a bad dream. I became the person who is doing the comforting. I used to take so much comfort when my mom would tell me everything would be ok when it didn’t seem like it. It takes courage to be the consoling character in your children’s lives.
    I enjoy my independence, but it comes with a lot of anxiety in figuring out what to make of it. I don’t have a mentor now although I wish I did. It’s not like I can actively search for one, so in the meantime, I read, write, listen, and remember what I’ve learned and am learning about life.

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    1. Yes it takes a lot of courage! Sometimes we have that kind of courage and other times we feel like we could use the comforting 🙂 it is a hard season, for sure! You have a great attitude about it though. Hopefully, you can find some encouragement with connections online as well!

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