As we conclude this month’s focus on generation wisdom and mentoring in the military community, Rachelle shares how God has been teaching her the importance of just showing up.
Just Show Up
by Rachelle Whitfield
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
Psalm 71:18 ESV
One fall I found myself once again the new girl at Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC). I had become a “seasoned” spouse, so I had done my research and started connecting shortly after we received orders. As soon as I know the Army has picked the location of our next adventure, PWOC is my first search. I hit the ground running, ready to build my tribe.
In addition, I was already in full swing of the job search, so I knew the evening program is where God would plant me. I don’t remember how I felt or what my first thoughts were but a few weeks in I was wondering why God had me here. I was surrounded by a group of women all at least a decade older than me some two or three. One evening an “old lady” called me a baby.
“WELL!” I was highly offended and assured her (probably with a little eye roll) I was in my mid-forties and by no means a baby.
My response to this offense validated her first impression of me. I had an internal temper tantrum and could not imagine how I could do any good for God with these women. They did not come with the pages of their study book filled out (so they could not possibly have done their lesson), we had nothing in common (obviously we were in very different seasons of life), and the list of grumbling went on and on.
When We Keep Showing Up
WELL, I kept showing up as God worked on my maturity, and they did, too. They showed up faithfully. They showed up and discussed every page of the study and what their hearts and heads knew from God’s Word on the topic. And they showed up with their tattered and worn Bibles representing years of use and love. It showed them to be godly military wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. They showed up to share their wisdom about what it took to be a military wife chasing Jesus. They shared how they stayed on their knees praying for their marriages of 30, 40, 50 years and for their children and grandchildren who were 30, 40, 50 years old. Most of all they showed up to love and support each other through the friendships they built over 10, 20, 30 and 40 years.
Three years later I cried like a BABY as I had to say see you later to my “old ladies.”
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28: 19-20 ESV
As you can imagine in the midst of this group of ladies, I felt under-qualified through experience and knowledge of the Word. But in hindsight through the notes and messages I continue to receive years later, God used me just as powerfully as he used them. All because we kept showing up.
Showing Up Doesn’t Have to Be Scary
One of my biggest fears to overcome as I began to mentor was my doubt in my knowledge of His Word and that I didn’t have life “ALL” figured out. What if they ask me something I didn’t know? What if they saw my struggles?
A couple of years ago I went through a mentoring challenge with IF: Gathering and the author of one of the daily emails said this, “Every one of us has a unique set of gifts and if you think back to your favorite teachers you’ll notice not one of them was good at everything. And it didn’t matter to the students. You were impacted because he or she showed up every day and taught using their own unique gifts.”
Now, I challenge you to show up. Show up in people’s everyday life. Run errands together. Change diapers together. Meal plan together. Have coffee together. Most of all, pray and read God’s Word together. He will do the rest; all he needs is for you to show up.
Read: John 17:15-21, John 16:7, Acts 1:4,8, 2 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 2:4, 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Reflect: Take some time to reflect on the truth we find in Scripture and pray over what this means for you as a mentor. Remind yourself…
- I can make time to disciple anyone.
- I don’t have to have it all together.
- I can trust God to lead and rely on his Word as I disciple.
- I am uniquely gifted and can lean into those gifts.
Respond: How do the truths from the verses above change the way you think about your ability to mentor others? As you move through your daily life. From your neighborhood or housing area to your unit or the commissary. Through the aisles of the PX/BX or in the waiting room at the clinic. Ask God to show you who needs you to show up for them.
Dear Heavenly Father, I ask you for the courage to show up and step out as you have commanded me to make disciples. Amen.
An interview with PR author, speaker, and mentor to hundreds, Brenda Pace gave us a glimpse of what it looks like when a mentor just shows up throughout our day. A Visit with Author Brenda Pace