The Power of Availability

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
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I can’t emphasize enough that mentoring ministry does not require advanced degrees or unusual skills. More often than not, it looks quite simple—lingering after a church service, at the kitchen table, over coffee, on the phone, throughout the week. It happens in casual but meaningful conversations that start with showing interest and asking questions and proceed by listening, caring, saying, “Let’s pray about that.” With even the tiniest bit of intention—a reassuring email or text, a shared link or Scripture verse—relationships grow. Teaching happens. And all it takes is being available, sometimes on the spur of the moment . . .

Several years ago a woman approached me after hearing me speak in another city. She began to pour out her heart about some intense challenges she was facing in her marriage and family. I knew she needed more than what I could offer in the few minutes we had available to talk. Just then, I saw my friend Bonnie out of the corner of my eye. Bonnie was an older woman who lived in that city, a woman I knew to be wise, compassionate, and biblically grounded. I beckoned to Bonnie, introduced her to the younger woman, and encouraged the two to get together in the days ahead.

A short time later, the younger woman and I had occasion to reconnect, and I asked how she was doing. She couldn’t say enough about how helpful Bonnie had been to her in the three times they had met. “I’ve never had anyone do this for me before,” she said. “This has been more valuable than nine months of counseling!”

Another woman shared similar feelings with me in a recent email:

I am twenty-five and have only been a Christian for two and a half years. My mentor’s name is Carole. She is always seeking the Lord, and when she talks about the Lord you can see the joy on her face. She has taught me so much, been patient, caring, and loving. She loves her husband and family, and it is just beautiful. She has been a godly example and seeks to do the will of God. I was so lost. No one ever taught me about Jesus or took time to show me God’s love. I will be thankful for her as long as I live. Hopefully I can be a Carole to someone some day.

And that’s the goal of these mentoring relationships. As the apostle Paul said to his young disciple Timothy, “What you have heard . . . entrust to faithful men [and women] who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

Over the years, I have watched my friend Holly Elliff become an incredibly effective mentor and discipler of younger women. She has never advertised her services. But younger women flock to her side, eager to learn from the insight she has gleaned through decades of knowing God and walking with Him through a wide variety of seasons and life experiences.

Holly has often shared out of her life and wisdom on the daily broadcast of Revive Our Hearts, the ministry where I serve. Some time ago, one of our listeners—a younger woman—wrote a moving letter, thanking Holly for teaching her what is good:

When Nancy first had you as a guest on her program, my soul was so famished for help that your calm, seasoned advice brought me out of a deep, dark place.

What helped was my sense that your knowledge wasn’t theoretical. It sounded like the words from someone who learned it in the trenches—marrying, raising a family, cooking meal after meal, raising each child, and glorifying the Lord in it.

“Older woman…never underestimate the impact your life can have on other women.”

Thank you for giving warm words of godly counsel, for standing on the Lord’s commands to us instead of compromising. You cannot know how that has made a real impact on a life and soul so marred and scarred by sin and without any godly women to turn to.

I’m sure when you were changing diapers, or listening to the same story . . . again . . . you could not have known that those were the very things that would make your advice so weighty and true for me—a single woman. When you speak, it’s from the point of view of someone who’s lived it, who has raised a family and had to work out the Scriptures in close quarters. The Lord’s Word has molded you so your life is sending out such riches.

Please let older women know that the most valuable thing they can do is to develop in righteousness, not the career or beautiful home. It is the life of righteousness that alone can help redeem broken lives. I never thought I would come to value God’s ways above the world’s or actually see how beautiful holiness is, but I have, and I thank you for being part of the Lord’s way of revealing Himself and His loveliness and the beauty of living a godly life to me.

Older woman, you may never be asked to stand on a platform to speak or to teach from behind a mic on a national radio broadcast, as Holly does at times. But never underestimate the impact your life can have on other women—life-to-life, adorning the gospel, wherever He may have planted you.

And younger woman, this is something for you to aspire to— beginning now. As you learn what is good and are trained in righteousness, your life in turn will put the loveliness of Christ on display for those younger women who are coming behind you.

The words Paul wrote to Titus some two thousand years ago are timeless in their impact and relevance. More important, they are God’s recipe for the thriving and fruitfulness of His women, essential for the successful passing of truth to the next generation and to our world.

And it starts with you and me—imperfections and all—available to teach and to be taught what is good.

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by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Known for her wisdom, warmth, and knowledge of Scripture, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has encouraged millions through her books, radio programs, and...

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