Missional Mentoring

Back about 8 years ago, I was sitting in our rocking chair putting my toddler to sleep.  Crying.  Me, not the toddler.  It had been a hard day, and for no other reason than sometimes parenting is hard.  I had adequate resources, adequate knowledge, and more than adequate support, and yet I felt stretched to the limit.  That night, God started to break my heart for young moms, particularly teen moms.

I had been reading a book called The Missional Mom and praying about how God could use me on mission during this season of staying home with my children.  My mission field was definitely within my home and with my own children; however, I could sense that God had bigger plans for my time and gifts, plans that could also include my children on mission.  After all, I was aiming to raise kids ON mission, not just kids AS THE mission.  That night in the rocking chair, I began praying about knowing, loving, and encouraging teen moms. But I didn’t know any teen moms.

God first taught me I needed to know a teen mom to mentor one.  In the same way, when God calls us to serve the poor, the orphan and the widow, the first step is to put ourselves in a place to KNOW the poor, the orphan, and the widow.

In obedience, I signed up at a local Austin pregnancy crisis center to mentor.  I completed some training and met with my first girl.  After meeting me for the first time, she decided she didn’t want a mentor after all.  She quit me.  Discouraged – yes.  Defeated – no!

We soon moved to New Braunfels. Within a couple of months, I heard an announcement about YoungLives, a branch of Young Life specifically ministering to teen moms.  It turns out this is exactly where God wants me to connect with teen moms in a deep and life-changing way.

I started out with some incorrect motives of trying to “help” and “fix” lives.  Thankfully, God showed me that I could be free to listen well, extend grace, and teach Truth.  He will do His work according to His plans in His timing.  God has forever molded the way I see others by knowing these young mamas and hearing their stories.  Over the seven years journey of mentoring I have had the privilege serving in one-on-one and in a group setting at YoungLives events, camp, and Saint Jude’s Ranch for Children (SJRC), a foster home for teen moms here in New Braunfels.

So what does mentoring look like? Finding the girl with the impenetrable exterior and going after her with the relentless love of Christ.

That practically looks like showing up, walking alongside another, and truly aiming to KNOW a mom who is different yet similar in so many ways.  Extending the love of Christ through words and actions can mean going after those who are hardest to reach.

I have loved being part of a team in this ministry.  We collectively use our gifts and passions to reach the girls in a creative, relevant, fun-filled manner.  I could never go it alone! Being a part of the body of Christ is one of the best blessings in serving!

For me, ministry with teen moms has taken shape differently over the years.  For a while, it was meeting Justine for lunch at Canyon High School where she was a student.  It’s also been group visits and baby showers at SJRC New Braunfels connecting with the teen moms and babies living there in foster care.  Over the years, they have become “my people.”  It’s involved teaching 2 girls to drive and two more mamas just recently got their driving permits!

We also have the tremendous opportunity to spend a week of the summer with these young women and faithful volunteers.  I find myself signing up, again and again, investing another amazing week with “my people.”

More often than not, mentoring has been chats over food, talks in the car, texts about life and prayer, and girls going to the park with me and my kids.

One of my favorite parts of YoungLives has been hosting our Bible study on Tuesday nights. We have handed out many first-time Bibles while sharing the truth of God’s word. Sharing the love of Christ always increases my faith. Many of our girls have never heard it before, and I feel so honored to tell them about God’s great love. It is like salve on a wound, a light in the darkness.

We tackle depression, abuse, neglect, sexual depravity, poverty, homelessness and broken families with hope, love, truth, grace and the offer of salvation.  It’s my favorite thing.

My journey started with showing up.  How is God calling you to show up?  What nudge have you felt that requires a step of obedience?

The Springs will be partnering with YoungLives to minister to teen moms.  We are praying for four new mentors.  Could you be one of them? We also need childcare volunteers and meals once a month for our group meeting. And there are plenty of other ways to get involved!  Please contact me to have a conversation about how you or your community group can get involved with YoungLives.

Springs External Focus Liaison for YoungLives – Julie Earnest, [email protected]
YoungLives Coordinator – Cari Leach, [email protected]

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Discussion

  1. Brett

    Great message!! Awesome work God is doing !! Husbands- please support your wife is she wants to
    Help mentor. I confess I haven’t always done this with a gracious spirit, but the fruit is very real in the girls lives and in your wives. ‘Man up’ and be encouragers, and God will work In you too !!

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