A note from Kelly King: Like today’s author, Jessie Seneca, there are so many things to love about the first Christmas. Like Jessie, I love the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. It’s such a great reminder that we need both older and younger women in our ministries. Each brings value and insight to the relationship. If you’re seeking a mentor in your life, read ahead for some great tips on qualities you should look for in someone else.
Isn’t there something special about grabbing your favorite hot drink, your Bible, and a warm blanket to cozy up to the story of the birth of our Savior? No matter what the year has dealt you, I hope you will be able to see the wonder of the greatest story ever told.
Let’s start at the beginning. An angel and two women. The angel, Gabriel, brought the news of Elizabeth having her son, John, who would go as the forerunner to make people ready for the Lord. Then Gabriel came to Mary, the favored one, with the good news of the Savior’s birth: “Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Once Mary heard the news and accepted her lot, she arose and went in a hurry to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was six months ahead of her. She was a young woman seeking advice, wisdom, and care from an older woman.
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew she needed to talk to another woman who could relate to and understand her situation; she needed a spiritual mentor.
Thankfully, Elizabeth accepted Mary with open arms in her time of need.
No condemnation. No judgment. Only love.
Imagine for a moment all that may have transpired within their three months together: late night discussions of body image, her feeling the first flutter, encouragement as Mary would need to go back and face her family and community, lessons on how to swaddle a newborn, and talking about the fun games you play with boys. Not only was Mary going to be a new mother, but she was going to be a newlywed. So, how to treat her man right was probably at the top of their conversation, too. I even wonder if Mary was with Elizabeth for the delivery. I don’t know, but how cool would that have been?
Here are some important characteristics to look for when seeking a mentor like Elizabeth:
- Walks worthy. Choose someone who walks with the Lord. Elizabeth was a great mentor because she had been taught to walk with the Lord. Her lineage went back to Aaron, the priestly lineage. She followed God’s guidance and married a priest herself.
- Righteous character. Not perfection, but upright in the way she lives.
- Filled with the Holy Spirit. Watch for her to display the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control (Gal. 5:22). Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She had the Lord’s wisdom, and as a result, she recognized Mary’s concern.
- No sign of jealousy. Elizabeth called Mary blessed and encouraged her in her faith through her own example. Elizabeth was wise and knew God’s power to work all things for good. She recognized the Lord’s hand at work in this situation.
- An advisor. Elizabeth was quick to advise Mary, to encourage her, to strengthen her faith, and to help her through this difficult time in her life. She has the experience that Mary lacked. As a result, Mary was encouraged to bring the Son of God and Savior of the world into the world for the good of all mankind.
- Older and wiser. Just as Elizabeth was older than Mary, you want someone who has gone ahead of you and has the gift of hindsight. Find someone who will encourage you to be the Titus 2 woman: “In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.” (Titus 2:3-5)
Mentoring is not always a program. A lot of times it organically happens as you meet women who pour into your life. This type of mentoring is a true gift that may take time to develop.
I like to call it Sistering.
My dear mentor and friend, Linda says it best:
Sistering is two women coming together to share their hearts
and lives, and when they depart from their time together, each
one believes they were the one that got the greatest blessing.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing”
(1 Thess. 5:11).
“Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart” (Prov. 3:3).
Oh, won’t you and I take seriously the care of the generation behind us and watch for moments to be that older, wiser women and pour love into them with grace?
Jessie Seneca is the founder of More of Him Ministries in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has been leading women in the local community and churches for over twenty years. Each year, Jessie offers SHE Leads, a women’s leadership Conference. She has also worked with LifeWay as a Living Proof Live City Coordinator and Northeast Simulcast Specialist. She enjoys seeing women get into the Word of God and the transformation it brings into their lives. Jessie’s passion and wisdom is to use the gifts God has given her to speak into the lives of her listeners and now readers through her Bible study, The Secret is Out and book, Road Trip. Her newest book is Abound: A Call to Purposeful Servant Leadership. She is a wife and mother of two young adult daughters.