Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring

Friday, May 6, 2011

Authentic Mentoring 101

She sat across from me, her sunglasses hiding the redness of her eyes.  Sally was sipping her recently purchased frap trying not to let the tears flow. She had phoned me saying that she wanted to meet. We were casual friends from the same Body of believers. Our paths had once crossed with frequency but less during the past two years. So this meeting was purposed. Sally was frustrated, "p.o.ed"  and sad...very sad. No gushing, no frivoless chatter was going to occur at this interchange; Sally was at the end of her spiritual rope, hand slipping, almost ready to just let go.

Sound desperate? Yes. Sound overstated? No, not to Sally. Sound like an isolated case? Those of us who have stepped into authentic spiritual mentoring would respond with a firm, "No!" Church buildings are full of "Sallys", people who have 'done everything right, have attended all posted meetings, who purchase all the current books...and yet are still left with that inner question that haunts them, "Is this all there is to following Jesus Himself?"

Authentic spiritual mentoring. What is it? What isn't it? Good questions! As one walks the pages of the Gospels, as one pauses to observe the Master Mentor, as one is drawn near to Him herself to listen, muse, ponder His questions for herself, one, almost unknowingly, steps into the realm of authentic spiritual mentoring. And then, as that same one looks up and sees other pausing, musing and pondering, it is only natural that they begin walking, together, on this Journey of Life.  Authentic spiritual mentoring is earning the right to partner with Who the Holy Spirit is being in the life of another to then infuse Truth into their reality when it is appropriate to do so. It was appropriate to do so with Sally as she sat there trying not to cry.

"Ele, thanks for meeting with me. The boy are at school and I have some open time." "It's good to see you, Sally. Been awhile, hasn't it?" I responded, quietly slipping into the chair across from her. "What's on your heart?"

At that question the tears began to flow anew. After a pause in which she tried to compose herself, Sally began sharing, her eyes continuing to be hidden by her sunglasses. "I'm worn out, exhausted, disgusted, scared, disappointed..all rolled into one!" She exhaled. "I've been trying to be a good Christian every since college and you know, I'm about ready to just drop it all...the weekend services, the Bible studies, the Sunday school thing, the small group...' Her voice trailing off as hope worn thin.

"From where comes the pain, the weariness?" I queried.  Sally paused as she pondered the question. "From where comes the pain?" she repeated. Sally adjusted her glasses up with her finger as she dabbed her eyes, catching in the softening tissue the new flow of tears. "Hummm...well, it has to be from disappointment, from being so very tired of being a 'church player.'...Ele, the only reason I keep up this charade is for the sake of my two boys and Jim. Jim loves the rhythm, the safeness of attending and being known in our small group. The boys enjoy their friends and most of the activities. But I..well...I can take it or leave it right now.  I'm ready to leave it.

Sally's pain is not unique to Sally. Just the other morning I found myself at my computer with my customary piece of toast and cup of hot green tea. I was at my face book page and there was a note that had come in sometime during the night. It could have been from Sally, but it wasn't. Melinda had received the book "Transforming Together' in the mail that day. She was excited to open the package from Amazon. As she crawled into bed, Dave, her husband, looked at her over his reading glasses. "New book?" he mumbled. "Yep!" was Melinda's quick reply. She wanted to begin reading, so, snuggling in a blanket she opened the cover and began to read. Three chapters later David gently suggested that she 'turn out the light, please.' Reluctantly she obliged him.  However, an hour later she awoke only to find herself still ruminating over the book...especially one sentence in the book. That sentence was the reason for the three a.m. face book message. "Ele, you stated that there was a time in YOUR life when you secretly whispered, "God, is this all there is?" And then Melinda added, "Is this all there is to You, to following You, to being a Christ-follower? Meetings, filling in the blanks,discussions, attending..If so, You know, 'thanks', but I think I'll pass." "Ele", Melinda wrote on, " I'm reading your book as one who is going under for the third time. I'm desperately trying to do all the right things to have that 'abundant life' we're told about. I'm dying, little by little, but refusing to roll over and be dead..IF there's a breath of chance that there's more to being a Christ-follower than I'm experiencing now. I'm needing to be rescued. Help me."

The organized church desires to be helpful, to be available, to teach well, to instruct fully. We offer classes, purchase bible studies courses, encourage seminars, sell DVDs..but do we mentor? Do we feel the heartbeat of another, hear their unspoken words, envision their dreams with them? "Transforming Together' takes the reader to those possibilities. The pages invite the ready to stop and sit at the feet of the Master Mentor, Jesus Himself. From that perspective, at His feet, one is introduced to organic mentoring; heart to heart, soul to soul, spirit to spirit. And after breathing in the fresh air of authentic mentoring one just may decide to stay.

Staying,  Ele


Blogger Pamela said...

I love your blog -- found it through searching for your book. I wanted you to know I highlighted it on my blog.

May God bless your ministry abundantly.

May 7, 2011 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Ele Parrott said...

Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words, for highlighting it on your blog as well. I'm going to YOUR blog right now!! :)
May the Lord continue to bless your ministry as well,
A sister in Jesus,

May 9, 2011 at 8:40 PM  

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