A Godly mentor can change your life as well as the life of your family! I am a living testimony to that fact. As a young child, life was filled with prayers, Sunday school and church, Christian camps, youth group activities, and lots of family stories of God's faithfulness. I accepted Christ into my life at a young age and was glad that I belonged to Him. I had the privilege of having many strong believers pour into my life at different points and they each planted seeds of truth into my soul, and showed me what it looked like to have "the joy of the Lord" up close and personal! However, my constant mentor, friend, and example of how to live a life filled with faith in God has been my mother.
I have watched her live through many family crises, deaths of loved ones, disappointments, her own health issues, as well as those of family members; basically 82 years of the things life throws at each of us. She has taught and modeled for our family what her parents and grandparents taught her about trusting God and keeping our eyes on Him, despite any and all seemingly disparaging circumstances.
In John16:33, Jesus tells us, "In this world you have tribulations, but take courage; I have overcome the world." Seeing how others often respond to life's severe storms and tests with fear, anxiety, questioning God, and pleading with Him to grant their desires, is a stark contrast to how my mother navigates tough times. Her father taught her that when severe storms and dark nights come in this life, which they inevitably will, to model Paul's behavior during a shipwreck; throw out the anchors and pray for the day! (Acts 27:29) God will hold you steady.
Mom often reminds me when I am discouraged or fearful that, "This too shall pass. Next week, month, or year, things will not be the same." Praise God that each dawn really IS a new beginning.
Last week I was feeling discouraged over a recent relapse of Ryan's pericarditis. Thank God for reminding me through Mother that we have so much to be thankful for, even in this. Despite managing his pericarditis for the past year, Ryan has done well at a new job in Oklahoma City, made friends, found a church home, and has a life he is excited about and enjoying. TODAY is reality, not what we may imagine for someday in the future. We will choose to take our stand in praise and thanksgiving for God's plan for Ryan's life, the mighty works He is accomplishing that we can't even imagine, and that He continues to stretch and grow and call forth deeper faith for all of us in this situation. WE WILL TAKE OUR STAND IN TOTAL TRUST IN GOD'S WAYS. After all, if Jesus is in our boat, what is to fear in any storm?
Seeing my mother's response to trials has shaped the way that our family thinks and operates. We work to encourage each other to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. . . "the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
I am so thankful to have such a mentor, who will keep me on the path of faithfulness and praise even, and especially, when I veer off. If you do not have someone who is farther down the path in life than you are, whose relationship and faith in God you admire, look and pray for such a one. This is one amazing gift that money can not buy!
One of our family's favorite verses in good times and bad is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Often, I have recorded God's blessings through tears, and that is OK too... To God be the glory!