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Recently, I lost one …
of my life mentors. Luanne. She struggled with cancer for over a year. She stayed with us much longer than the doctors expected. We were glad to have the time with her. I was thankful God gave us – and her – the time to say all the things that needed to be said before she walked into his presence.
“Thank you.” “I love you.” “You made a difference in my life.” “I think of you as my other mother.” These were some of the things I needed to say.
“I love you.” “I’m proud of you.” “I’ve always thought of you as another daughter.” “I’m so glad God put you in my life.” These were some of the things I needed to hear.
I first met Luanne many years ago when we were leaders together in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). She was wise and experienced. She loved God. She loved the word of God and knew it well. She was also a joker: a smart alec with a quick wit and a sassy tongue. She modeled a godly life, but kept us smiling and laughing while she did it. There were four of us who met for lunch after BSF almost every week: Luanne and her friend Marilyn, me and my friend Judy. Two moms and two daughters. Sharing life. Laughing. Loving. Learning. Supporting. Encouraging. Challenging.
Luanne was there for me during a particularly difficult time in my life. I cried at her kitchen table. I cried with her on the phone. She hugged me. She prayed for me. She loved me. She assured me. She encouraged me to trust God. And she challenged me to take steps that I might not have taken on my own: Like forgiving the one who had hurt me. Marilyn and Judy were there for me, too. I don’t think I would have made it through that period in my life without those women. I certainly wouldn’t have come through it with the same perspective.
Luanne was one of my spiritual moms. Whether we have a good relationship with our natural moms or not, we need those other moms. They model faith for us. They share the wisdom they’ve gained from living more life than us. They teach us. They make us feel significant. They help us grow, and they challenge us to step out in our own faith in ways we may not choose on our own.
In 1 Corinthians 4:15-16 (NLT) Paul said, “For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me.”
Luanne was like that for me. A woman who became my spiritual parent when she shared the gospel through her words and her life.
Who is like that for you?
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV), Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
It is Christ – first and foremost – that we follow. But, our spiritual parents can show us what it looks like to follow. We learn what it is to follow Jesus as we watch those ahead of us follow him. Who is it that you look to as a mentor and an example? If you don’t have people like this in your life now, I encourage you to find them. Sometimes they come to us naturally – like Luanne and Marilyn came to Judy and me. Sometimes we have to be more intentional; to look for those who model Christ well so we can follow. Make the effort.
We all need to be spiritual moms.
If I truly follow Luanne’s example, I will do as she did: become a spiritual mother to the younger women in my life. I will share my life and my faith with them. I will love them. I will encourage them and challenge them. I will model Christ for them and teach them about faith and trust and long-suffering.
I have several young women in my life whom I think of as daughters in Christ. They are my spiritual daughters. Who are yours? I know, I know. You’re worried about the flaws and deficiencies in your life. My friend Luanne wasn’t perfect, but she was authentic about her shortcomings and her mistakes. Paul did the same. He shared his struggles and confessed his weaknesses.
Don’t be afraid to be a spiritual mom because you aren’t perfect.
Allow women to watch Jesus change you as you confess and address those flaws and weaknesses.
Don’t be afraid to be a spiritual mom because your life isn’t perfect.
Watching HOW you suffer is often far more powerful than watching how you succeed.
Be honest. Be authentic. Allow other women to watch you wrestle with the tough stuff. As you rise from those struggles, your spiritual daughters will rise with you. They will grow as you grow.
Follow me as I follow Christ. Imitate me as I imitate Christ. This is what the Apostle Paul is to all of us as believers. This is what Luanne was to me. This is what I hope to be for those who are younger than I am; those who are less experienced in the journey of life and faith. I can think of no better way to point others to Christ, and I can think of no better way to honor my own spiritual mother, my mentor, Luanne.
How is God encouraging you today?