A Note from Chris Adams: Today you will find the last in this 3-part series written by our LifeWay Women training event intern this summer, Savannah Ivey. You can read part 1 and part 2 here. Savannah addresses some aspects to consider and adapt into our relationships with college women. I am SO grateful to her for serving with us this summer and for her heart for the Lord and for ministry with women! God is using Savannah and is going to continue use her in mighty ways all her life. We were blessed to work with her!
As we continue to discuss mentoring relationships for college women, I hope to address some ideas in the area of the content of your meetings.
Once we have established a trusted relationship, these are some things that I believe young women in college hope to find in their time with a mentor.
1. Embrace vulnerability.
From every young woman I asked about this topic, the common response for what she looks for in a mentor was vulnerability. To quote a friend, we want to be mentored by a woman who can be “genuine, real, raw, and unmasked.” My mentor lets me see real life struggles and hurt that she walks through. She doesn’t just share the places in life where she has it all together, but she also shares the places where she is figuring it out. By sharing her stories with me, I am able to see an applicable connection to the Word of God and what He is teaching her. There is a sigh of relief that comes with a mentor’s disclosure of the hard things in life; it lets us know that we have the freedom to bring our walls down in return.
2. Listen and respond with grace.
Once our walls are down, be ready to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. College is an interesting season, and there is so much we are trying to figure out. In Organic Mentoring, authors Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann explain, “When the mentee hears her own thinking, she begins to see the problem and the door opens for spiritual growth.” I’ve watched my mentor graciously listen as I talk myself in circles. She isn’t quick to point out my flaws, but reminds me that I am fully loved and accepted by my Father. Then, when I realize the foolishness of what I have said, she tenderly smiles and offers guidance and her perspective in moving forward. Whether you agree or disagree with us, show us grace in knowing that we aren’t there yet. None of us are. We have all made mistakes. There is so much grace, and we need to be reminded of that.
3. Provide accountability in the process.
Where there is grace, there is truth. As you provide a space to listen and develop intentional conversation, we also hope for you to step into that space with truth. With the constant stream of decisions, challenges, and temptations in college, we long for someone to walk through those thought processes with us. We want you to listen and give insight and encouragement as we voice our fears and try to navigate through the unknowns. As a mentor, we want you to hold us to be the women the Lord has called us to be. A great way to do this is through questions. If we say something that poses concern, ask us about it. Simply asking, “What do you mean by that?” causes us to dig deeper into our hearts and minds, and provides room for you to share what the Lord is pressing upon your heart to speak.
4. Open your Bible with us.
If you are looking for study material for your meetings, start with the Word. Organic Mentoring notes that it is always the responsibility of a mentor to bring God’s perspective to the table. There is such richness found in opening God’s Word together. I love reading the Bible with other women because their perspective is always different from my own, and they bring fresh insight to Scripture. Whether you walk through a book of the Bible together or focus on one passage, we gain so much from you leading us in the study of God’s Word. Also know that the time you spend in the Word with a young woman may be the most exposure to the Bible that she gets in her week. Our generation is desperate for a deep love of God’s Word. We long for you to show us what that looks like.
I hope that these things give you a glimpse into the hearts of the college girls in your life. We are longing for women to lead us and point us to the Lord in this crucial time of our lives. We love you and are so thankful for you.
Savannah Ivey is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Psychology. This summer, she worked with Chris and Mary Margaret as the Women’s Leadership Training Intern, assisting with the YOU Lead and Women’s Forum events. She loves working with young women, coffee, conversation, and music.