This weekend we visited Eden Wesleyan during a trip to Boiling Springs to see family. Justin’s friend, Brady, spoke about the importance of having someone that is pouring into your life and also mentoring those younger than you. The message really made me appreciate some mentors that I have had in my life.
I grew up in a Christian home with a mom and dad who were telling me about Jesus and living it out in front of me, but my parents also knew that wasn’t enough. They were gracious enough to share my journey and growth with others. This week, I would like to tell you about three relationships that I truly believe have helped shape my walk as a woman in Christ.
1. My 9th grade year, we got a new youth pastor… and a really cool youth pastor’s wife. Stan and Kristal Bray moved into a house right across the steeet from us, which was basically the best thing ever. I remember Mama having to remind me to text Stan or Kristal before I went over there because I literally wanted to spend all of my free time at their house! I was fascinated with how Stan and Kristal worked together in marriage, raising a family, and in ministry. Kristal was Stan’s right hand, and for me, she was definitely a role model. We became very close friends, more like sisters. We were family. I spent many high school nights walking around the block with Kristal or watching movies at their house. She listened to my highs and lows and helped guide me in big decisions like college and career choice. There are so many times being a pastor’s wife now that I think, “What would Kristal do?” I model being Justin’s partner after years of seeing Kristal walk not just with, but alongside her husband.
2. After college, I began working at LifeJourney Church in children’s ministry. I started to get to know Quinn Pearson who was on staff… and his amazing wife, Amber. Amber was a wife, did ministry with her husband, was a teacher, kept a home… all the things that God had placed in my heart to want. We would go for walks, sit and chat for hours in their living room, go to Zumba together… she became a very close friend of mine. Another sister. When Justin and I were engaged, our talks and walks seemed more frequent and long as I had tons of questions and she had tons of advice to offer.
3. After moving to the Charleston area, I felt a little lost. I was working at a new school, a part of a new church, had a husband now, and was hours from my family, friends, and “sisters” like Kristal and Amber. I spent many months craving what I had back home and not knowing how to start over in a brand new place with brand new roles. During our first year of marriage, we moved into our home in a neighborhood called Okatee and decided to host a Block Party to get to know neighbors. Nick and Keri Snyder and their three precious kids joined us. I knew almost instantly that this Keri girl was something special. Keri has a strong marriage, parents well, enjoys crafts, blogs and writes… she represents a godly woman… and lives right down the road! I have so much appreciated dinners with the Snyders and craft nights with Keri. Her heart is to seek after God and help others do the same. Her family is becoming “family” to us.
None of these women asked to be my mentor, they just became one. Maybe they have never even considered themselves my mentor. We didn’t necessarily have weekly coffee or go through bible studies together… we just did and do life together. They were all a little into the “next stage” of life and chose to invite me into it. That is discipleship…. friendship that is intentional and meaningful for the kingdom. I am very thankful for what these women have and do mean to me and pray that I can have the same influence on younger girls that God brings into my life.