Making Mentoring Personal

Mentoring only makes a difference if it gets personal.  The way most of us live life today insulates us from getting very personal. In fact, there are more ways than ever to create the profile that we want the world around us to see.  A status update and profile picture present the “me” we choose to show our family and girlfriends. If all else fails, we can add highlights, polish, Spanx, or Photoshop to carefully craft our avatar (That’s the little picture that represents “you” online). But a mentor gets past all that.  A mentor gets personal.

The arrival of young Mary at the home of elderly Elizabeth gives us a real-life view of a mentor relationship blossoming. Groundwork must have already been laid, since we’re told that right after her visit from God’s messenger, “Mary arose and went with haste” (Luke 1:39) to the home of her older relative. Elizabeth had clearly cultivated the kind of comfort level with her young kin that inspired Mary to want to be together in their miraculous, shared season of pregnancy.

Elizabeth could have been jealous at Mary’s coveted role of carrying the long awaited Savior. She could have been tangled in frustration that her husband Zechariah was silent. She could have even complained about how hard pregnancy is when you’re “old” compared to Mary’s youthful plight.  But there’s no record of selfish pre-occupation. Read the whole story here, but you’ll find that Elizabeth received Mary with blessing and affirmation. The two would spend months together in Elizabeth’s home, preparing their hearts as their bodies changed. A mentor has the power to build up.

This unique mentoring relationship served to ready these two mothers-to-be for the special calling each had received from God. As Mary prepared to bear, raise, and grieve the Son of God, her Heavenly Father used an earthly mentor to build her up. Each woman benefits from the spirit-minded friendship of another woman. God uses mentors to walk alongside us as we bring our roles as wives and mothers into alignment with His plan.  And that gets really personal.

The mentoring friendship of Elizabeth and Mary:

  • Mentoring is practical – it needs to take place where we do life, including in our home.  Here is where we can model, be accountable, and see the “real us” behind the profile picture.
  • Mentoring is personal – it needs to deal with our relationships, husbands and children. Imagine how much Mary learned about marriage as she watched Elizabeth relate to her silent (his own fault) husband Zechariah.
  • Mentoring is purposeful – it needs to flow out of and back to our walk with God. From the beginning of her visit, Mary heard encouragement laced with God’s truth from her mentor (Luke 1: 45).

If you want to be a mentor who makes a difference in the life of your sweet friend, you have to get personal. Peel back the status update and look deep. Don’t be afraid to get practical in her home and your home. Get personal with your own relationships and hers. And as Elizabeth shows us, always start and go back to God’s truth.

If you want a mentor to make a difference in your life, take off the polish, comb back your roots, and open the door of your heart and home. Don’t be afraid to share the truth, shed tears, or show your trouble spots.  Get personal with your mentor.

7 Ways to Make Mentoring More Personal

  1. Meet in your kitchen or bedroom
  2. Have dinner at one of your homes with your families
  3. Celebrate a holiday together
  4. Go on a vacation together
  5. Help each other clean house
  6. Do childcare for each other
  7. Grocery shop together

Mentoring makes a beautiful difference, because mentoring is personal.

If you’re looking for a mentor in your life, one way to start is by clicking “Ask a M.O.M.” here at the Mom Initiative. We would love to open the doors of our hearts and our online home to you!


Julie Sanders

Julie believes moms can know peace to pass understanding. Bible teacher and Women’s Ministry Leader, she has a passion for strong marriages, crossing cultures, and teaching children well. She just sent her oldest to college and is savoring the days left with her youngest. Julie uses God’s word to refresh women with truth for life. Join Julie at Come Have a Peace, on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, and don't miss Marriage Mondays. She invites you to contact her about speaking at your women's event or mommy meeting.

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  1. Sometimes we are stuck but don’t know where to go, and even if we have an idea, we may feel the need to almost ask permission to move forward.

    Getting a mentor takes care of both of these issues, as the mentor has such a clearer perspective of where we are, and can offer wisdom, grace and correction. I certainly could have used that as a young mom!

    Not that it isn’t useful at any stage. :-) I have a mentor right now for my business, and I love having that wisdom and leadership!

    Thanks for great suggestions on the hows and whys of mentoring!

    • You’re so right. It IS useful at any stage. I loved the perspectives my mentors have given me, though some of the sweetest wouldn’t have said they were “officially” mentoring me. Nevertheless, they left their mark!

  2. Julie ~ I LOVE this reminder and I love how practically personal you make mentoring. Mentors aren’t just teachers. They’re friends! Mentors don’t just become a funnel of information, they form relationships and pour out wisdom from a heart of love. GREAT POST! :-)

  3. So much more than teachers – yes. And “from a heart of love” is key, isn’t it? That’s something I love about the Mom team!

  4. Julie,
    Thanks for the great reminder that mentoring is a relationship not an information funnel. I have loved the times of coming alongside; folding laundry together, pulling weeds, walking for exercise whatever the friend to friend activity: sharing life is truly where mentoring takes place. Great words of encouragement!

  5. Tara Dovenbarger says:

    Thanks Julie for this! So very true, what a gift from God a mentor like this would be!

  6. In today’s world of Facebook and texting, it is hard to remember that in order to truly mentor we need to get involved in others lives, face to face and heart to heart.
    What a wonderful post!

  7. Very true, Missy … “face to face and heart to heart.” There are lots of illusions of intimacy today, but real influence has to get personal in our lives.

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