In this week’s Monday Minute, Jennifer shares about a time in her life when she experienced the powerful way youthful hearts teach more seasoned women.
Youthful Hearts Teach
by Jennifer Wake
Mentoring can be a scary term. What does mentoring look like? Who do you choose to ask to be your mentor? Will you be asked to be a mentor to someone? I have been in several mentoring relationships. The one that surprised me the most was reminiscent of an account from the Old Testament.
It began when they asked me to serve on a local PWOC board. The President-Select was a young newlywed named Haley. When I say young, think twenty or twenty-one. I, on the other hand, was over forty at the time. The exact age is on a need-to-know basis. Haley was a quiet, fun-loving, prayerful leader. Serving with her taught me about prayer, fasting, and holding my tongue. I know God used her to teach me his truths about being a godly woman.
Ruth and Naomi
Looking back at this time reminds me of the story of Ruth and Naomi. A quick recap from the beginning of the book of Ruth starts with Ruth as the daughter-in-law of Naomi. Naomi’s husband died and then both of Naomi’s sons died. This left Naomi with two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. They continued to live with Naomi even after all the men died. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem where her family of origin lived.
Naomi urged the girls to return to their families and look for new husbands. Orpah wept with Naomi and returned to her hometown. But Ruth refused to leave Naomi. She instead reminded Naomi of her commitment to her family.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
Ruth 1:16-17 ESV
Ruth was from Moab, a country that did not know God. Most theologians believe Naomi taught Ruth about God during their daily lives. These verses show the deep love Ruth had for Naomi. She physically followed Naomi to Bethlehem, but she spiritually followed God. Her dedication to God resulted in her marriage to Boaz and later the birth of a son, Obed.
After arriving in Bethlehem, Naomi changed her name to “Marah” (which means bitter). Ruth married Boaz after following Naomi’s advice on how to win his heart. God blessed Ruth with a son. Ruth reminded Naomi that God was still with her and blessing her. Even though Naomi claimed the name Marah, it was not given by God. Ruth taught her that she was indeed blessed by God.
Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
Ruth 4:14-16 ESV
God Uses the Young to Kindle the Experienced
By watching Haley, I learned more about God. Her quiet, prayerful spirit showed me the importance of time with God. While serving with her, I facilitated a class on fasting. Through this class, I learned how to use fasting to draw near to God. Fasting clears your mind of distractions as you pray every time you think about food.
Whenever I think about mentoring, I remember Haley. Though she was chronologically younger than I, in many ways she was spiritually more mature. Her dedication to the Lord allowed her to lead women who were older. She thought before she spoke, many times making us wait, which allowed God to speak to our hearts before she spoke.
She controlled her tongue while relying on God to lead her in every situation. God guided her when she met with the chaplain or led the body in prayer. He showed her how to lead more seasoned women so that we would learn from her example.
Her youthful love of God rekindled my love and desire for God. Just as Ruth’s love and devotion for God brought about change in Naomi’s heart. I am blessed because Haley’s example changed my whole life.
Read: The book of Ruth, it is only four chapters.
Reflect: How are you like Naomi? How are you like Ruth?
Respond: Who are people like Ruth or Naomi in your life? How can you encourage them this week? Which youthful hearts teach you?
Lord, teach me to be like Ruth, to follow and serve you with my whole heart. May my service to you help the world around me. Teach me to glorify you in all that I do. Amen.
If you are near Kansas City or willing to travel, don’t miss the opportunity to join young and seasoned military women at the Strength to Thrive Conference on April 4th.