Podcast: How to Pursue Meaningful Mentoring Relationships (Melissa Kruger)
This article is part of the The Crossway Podcast series.
The Importance of Relationships
In this episode, Melissa B. Kruger, author of Growing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests, discusses the importance of mentoring relationships for all Christians. She reflects on her own experiences learning life-changing lessons from older women, highlights some of the core aspects that should be in place in every mentoring relationship, and shares advice for overcoming the imposter syndrome that so many of us feel when it comes to helping others follow Christ.
Melissa B. Kruger
Melissa Kruger offers a springboard for mentoring discussions between mature believers and newer Christians, setting the biblical basis for mentoring from Titus 2 before outlining 11 lessons that guide their time as they grow together.
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- Personal Experience with Meaningful Mentorship
- Mentorship outside of the Home
- Core Aspects of Mentorship
- Temptation to Mold Mentees into an Image
- Going Deeper Than Just Prayer Requests
- Letting Our Guards Down
- Two-Way Honesty
- Structured vs. Informal Time
- How to Pursue Mentorship
- Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
- Owning up to What We Don’t Know
- Time Investment
- Supportive Husbands
- Practical Advice
Personal Experience with Meaningful Mentorship
As you think about your own life and think back into the past, is there a mentor who stands out in your mind when you think about your journey towards understanding the importance of mentoring relationships for your life as a Christian?
There are actually two, and I'm so thankful because they were two very different types of mentoring relationships. I first started really walking with the Lord when I was in high school. I was at a large public high school, and there was a Christian teacher there and she ran a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at the school. It was pretty amazing when I look back on it because, like I said, I was at this large public high school and yet, that FCA had such a big impact on the school at large. My soccer team, we prayed before every single game. And again, this is a public school. And so she had this amazing impact and it was in a lot of ways because she was already there as a teacher. So kids knew her well because she was on campus every day and she wasn't coming in from some other place. She was there, she knew the students. I got to know her even during my freshman year—my brother would drag me to FCA. I didn't really want to go, and then slowly I started really enjoying it. I got to know her, and then by my senior year I would go up to her classroom at lunchtime and we would just chat. She was just such an example because she just lived her Christian faith in her job as a public school teacher. She gave us advice all the time—which was so good and so wise—but this whole group of us were all just so attracted to her because she really cared about her students. And she still cares, she's still teaching. She is an amazing teacher and just cared for kids so well and loved them with the gospel. It was great to see. And then when I went to college, my university staff worker met with me every single week for three years, and we would study the word together. And so it was a more formal relationship in some ways because we met every week and we had our time and we ate at the same pizza place for about three years. But both women just invested in me a love for God's word, a love for God's people, and a love for the church. They left their mark on me in some profound ways. I'm so thankful for both of them.
Mentorship outside of the Home
I'm struck by hearing you talk about those two women and, as I think about my own life and think about conversations I've had with other Christians as well, I'm struck that oftentimes it seems like some of the most significant mentors in our lives are people who aren't part of our family, or even our parents. I wonder, even for those Christians who grew up in a strong Christian home—and it's probably impossible to overstate the significance and the positive benefits that come from growing up with parents who love the Lord and who point us towards Christ and the gospel and God's word—but is there something to that? Is there a unique importance to mentoring relationships that aren't your parents?
Absolutely. In fact, it's one of the things I really prayed for for all of my kids is that they would have mentors outside of my husband and myself. We hoped to, in some sense, instill in them a love for God's word and his people and the church and all these things; but I also recognize that you need Christians who are in some ways maybe even a little closer in age, who perhaps haven't known you since you were born, and can round out your Christian experience. Mike and I, my husband, have one Christian kind of experience we're giving them, but I do think it's good to hear from people who have come from other backgrounds and other kinds of church experiences. It even expands my kids' understanding of the church at-large. They saw one little slice of it in the church they grew up in. What's been wonderful to see is the Lord open those doors. In fact, my daughter has been mentored so well by a ministry here in town—it's actually a soccer ministry—and they work with various immigrant communities who have moved in. Because soccer is a universal language internationally, they really invest in communities. My daughter got really involved with that in high school, and those women mentored her even as she was serving in that ministry. It was wonderful to see and was such an answer to prayer. I think they just need a place that they can talk—probably sometimes even talk about me! I want them to have that space where they can go and talk to other people about faith and life. And it should be both in our family and outside of our family. I think that's a really healthy thing.
Core Aspects of Mentorship
You've addressed this already, talking about the two relationships that you've had that loom large in your mind and even your daughter's mind, but I think one question people might have often is What should a mentoring relationship actually look like? It seems like you're saying there's probably different types of relationships that are all valuable in different ways, but would you say there are some core aspects that need to be in place for a mentoring relationship to truly be a real mentoring relationship?
We need friends to walk alongside us and enjoy life with. What I like to say about a mentoring relationship is typically it's someone who's been in the faith longer coming alongside someone who's maybe newer in the faith and helping them grow in their relationship with Christ. I think one really important thing about that is neither of the women who mentored me expected that I would be little mini-me's of them. They were always pointing me to something greater, which is Christ. They weren't saying, Be a follower of me. They were saying, Be a follower of Christ, and they were showing me that by no means did they expect that I would be like them. That wasn't the goal. They were just just pointing me to Christ. It's kind of like John the Baptist—”he must become greater I must become less” (John 3:30). I think that's the goal of every spiritual mentor in our lives is that they're pointing us to Christ, understanding that the way our faith leads us may look differently. Not everyone's going to be a teacher in a public high school. Not everyone is going to be a minister on a college campus. They didn't expect that I would become like them; rather, they wanted me to become like Christ. I think that's really vital in any mentoring relationship.
Temptation to Mold Mentees into an Image
Do you think that's a particular danger or temptation that mentors can face in a relationship, to try to mold the mentee in their own image?
I think absolutely. If we aren't holding really loosely to even our own call within the body, I think we can begin to think, Oh, everyone should be a thumb like me, or Everyone should be the elbow. Everyone should be the foot. What we see in Scripture is such a beautiful picture of the body, and so when we really embrace that the pinky is really needed, as is the kneecap, and all these parts are working together. When we really embrace that, we have a right view of both our importance and our insignificance, if that makes sense. The kneecap is completely and utterly insignificant if it's not connected to the body; however, connected to the body, it's completely and utterly significant. So both things are very, very true. And so I think when we understand that body mentality, we have a really different way of how we look at the people we're investing in and how we're being invested. That's really important because the head is Christ, and so we're all just serving our head. We're all making that body work and we can really celebrate that beauty when we have a right view of what we're doing in mentoring.
That's such an important thing to emphasize. It makes me think another way of saying that is even though, as a mentor, I want to share things that I know, that I've experienced or learned, good wisdom that I have, there's a certain amount of humility that I need to always keep in my heart in to keep myself in check because even though I might have things to share, I need to be careful in that.
Absolutely. And that especially comes through in our practical lives. If you got married at twenty-two, or if you got married at thirty-three, it could be really tempting to kind of push someone into your mold because you could say, Well, I'm so glad I got married at thirty-three because I learned so much during those years of singleness. And you could maybe tell a twenty-two year old they shouldn't be getting married so young, or things like that. But really, you just have to look at each person as an individual and how the Lord is at work in their lives, rather than trying to make their choices look like your choices. But yet, you can celebrate what the Lord has done in your life and share that. But I think when it comes to those specifics, it's really good to hold back and say, What's the Lord doing in their life? And that takes a lot of prayer and humility, like you said, on the part of the mentor. It's really important to have that wisdom to step back and say, What is God doing in this person's life, not what do I think God should be doing in this person's life?
Going Deeper Than Just Prayer Requests
The subtitle of your book is “Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests.” You kind of alluded to that already in our conversation, but what are you getting at with that kind of language?
To be clear, prayer requests are great.
Yeah, you're not anti-prayer.
We should definitely be praying for one another, but sometimes I would say the nature of our prayer requests can be very surface level and very small talk. When we're talking about our great aunt's cat who's sick—there's just a level at which you're like, Surely there's something going on in your life that we need to wrestle with more than the pet of someone you haven't seen in twenty years.
So it's not that those things might not be valuable or important, but just that there's other things that are getting left out?
Yes, there has to be deeper things going on in our lives and than these surface things that sometimes we can spend a lot of time talking about. I would even say the busyness that we talk about a lot of times—I know sometimes I sit down with women and there's this whole list that comes out when you ask How are you doing? Even though it is what's going on in their lives, it's still the surface of what's going on in someone's life. So the question is How do we get to what are some of the root issues that might be causing the stress in our life or that might be causing maybe a misguided perspective of what's going on in our life? How do we get past what's happening in my life? to How do I grow in my faith in this life I have? Everybody's life is, I think, legitimately busy and there are hard things and there are struggles—and there's a real! I'm not saying those aren't real, but sometimes we can spend all of our time on the outer things that we never get to the inner things of the heart. And so my hope in this book is to help provide that pathway to get there without it being awkward, because sometimes you're like, Oh, can I go there? Can I go that deep with this person or do we just want to say on the surface? And so I think sometimes by saying we're gonna do this book together, you both bought in. You both said, Yep, we're gonna go here together. We're going to talk about real things together. And there's a lot of freedom in that.
Letting Our Guards Down
I think that's something that probably most of us want. On some level we want that type of close and transparent and open type of relationship where we can just be ourselves; we can really share what we're feeling, what we're struggling with, and where we don't feel guarded. But I think for most of us it also feels very difficult to get to that point, or maybe elusive. Maybe we had that in a relationship once, but we don't have it now and we wonder, How do I get back to that? Is there a core key, or a core mentality, that has to be there to allow two people to arrive at that place? What would you say about what it takes to actually get there?
That's a really good question. I would say the root of any honest, open friendship has to be the gospel. And what I mean by that is there has to be a right understanding that each of us is fallen and each of us has sin in our lives. That has to actually be seen as the reality so that then it's not so shocking each time I'm sharing about my sin. There has to be this basis of Yes, I am a sinner; and yes, there is grace in Christ so that there is that freedom, because there's no condemnation now for me in Christ. But if I'm feeling condemnation from this person, well then that's not going to be rooted in a gospel friendship. So it's got to be this understanding that you know what? You aren't where you're supposed to be. It's got to be more than a friend who is just our cheerleader. It's got to be both people having the right understanding I am not all that I can be in Christ, but he is making all things new. There's got to be this hopeful view of I'm not stuck in who I am; but yet, the Lord can really change me and really grow me and make me new. But that's going to be a process. So we're going to have to walk with each other in our sin. But I have to have a willingness to admit I'm a sinner, and a willingness that we're going to both be patient in that walk with one another, that we're not going to expect perfection after one conversation with each other. So I think to have that soft place to fall, there has to be this sense that we both really understand—or especially the mentor understands—the gospel; that Christ is at work in this person, but they are not yet all they will be. But he, by his Spirit, can change them and that's good news. But it's going to be by his Spirit. It's not going to be by my perfect advice. It's not going to be because I do everything right when I talk to this person. If I'm mentoring a younger woman, her growth isn't happening because of me; it's happening because of the Spirit. And so that understanding that it's God at work in a person's life that will change them and grow them, I think, is probably a necessary ingredient to understanding any true spiritual mentoring relationship.
Would you say it's important for both the mentor and the mentee to be sharing honestly from their own life and asking for prayer and just sharing what they're struggling with? I can think of a couple relationships that I've had in my life where this person was mentoring me and they were giving me really great advice and pointing me to the gospel, pointing me to the Bible; and yet, they never really shared—at least what seemed to me—honestly about things that they were struggling with. I think that made it harder for me to want to open up to them. So do you think there's an element where there should always be a back and forth? Or should it be, at times, is it appropriate for the mentor to be the person with the right answers?
I absolutely think there needs to be the back and forth. Any woman I mentor I want them to know up front: you're not getting perfection over here. I do think it just brings those walls down. It's funny; the first book I wrote was on envy and contentment, and just yesterday I was talking to a friend struggling with envy. It's just embarrassing! I've spoken on this topic for ten years, I know it's a problem, and I speak about it all the time; and yet, here I am—I'm still struggling. We have to be able to realize, as women who mentor other women, we are still needy of grace. You never graduate from your need of grace. So therefore, they need to hear that you're still going to the same fountain you're telling them to go to. I still need Jesus. I'm never going to not need Jesus. And the more that they can see Oh! She messes up too, but she knows where to go when she messes up: she goes back to Jesus and she repents and she returns. And in some ways that's what the Christian life is: it's this continual repentance, this continual turning back to Christ, remembering that he's the fount of all goodness. I'm going to be doing that until I go home to heaven. This walk is a continual battle with the flesh and I think they need to see not perfection, but that we're in the battle with them and that we may be a little farther along in that battle, but it's just positional—we're still in the battle with them. I think that opens up that honesty and that ability to really share your hearts with one another.
Structured vs. Informal Time
So what's the right balance between structured time together—sitting down and we're going to read our Bible every time and we're going to pray together and we're going to meet for an hour a week—versus a more unstructured, informal way of building that relationship? Is one better than the other or preferable?
What I would say is helpful for any mentoring relationship where you're naming it that—if that makes sense. For example, if you go to someone saying, Will you mentor me? or if you're the older woman and you're saying, Would you like to be mentored? What I think is helpful to have are clear parameters for that relationship. And the reason I think that's so helpful is so that you don't fall into both of you having different visions of what you thought the time was going to look like, and then you both end up being disappointed. I do tend to say, Can we walk through this curriculum together? Can we do this book together? And I give really clear expectations for how often we'll meet. Will we meet once a week? Will we meet once a month? Will we meet for an hour and a half or for one hour? I actually go ahead and put it on my calendar so that we're not in this awkward relational Is she supposed to check in with me, or am I supposed to check in with her? I try to do all that on the front end so that it's really clear, because I think the places where I think more women feel hurt in relationships is when expectations aren't met; but sometimes they just weren't communicated upfront. So I really do think if you're going to have what I call a more formal mentoring relationship where you're actually calling it that, that's really helpful. However, that being said, I also think it's completely good to just have relationships with older women in the faith who you admire, and you can just ask for time with them when you can get it. It doesn't have to be formal. You can say, Hey, can we go get coffee? I have some parenting questions I want to ask you. Or, Hey, I know you've been in the working world all these years, can we get together and talk about how you share your faith in your work environment? I think we can get mentored in a lot of different ways. I never want to say there's a one size fits all, because every person is different and our time is different. So I think it's really good to even start with a couple of those coffees before you ask for something more formal. For example, Hey, can we do this once a month? I would both feel it out and say, Hey, could we get coffee? I have some questions for you. If you're longing to be mentored, one thing I would say is come to that relationship with specific questions you're asking that older person. If they're someone that you're interested in knowing they probably have friends—that's the reality. They're not looking for someone to go watch movies with on the weekend, but they're probably really happy to help you with your prayer life or with reading the Scriptures or with how you choose a church or things like that. They're very willing to give that time if they can even know specifically what it's about. But it's an intimidating thing to say, Hey, will you mentor me? You're may ask, What does she mean by that? And so I do think having some structure is helpful. However, that being said, I'm a big fan of informal mentoring as well and just having relationships with people who are older and wiser in the faith. That's a huge blessing in anyone's life.
How to Pursue Mentorship
What would you say to the person who does have that desire to be mentored in some way, maybe doesn't have all of those specifics figured out right now, but they just have the sense that I really would love an older woman to walk alongside me and help me in my Christian life and how I think about things. Maybe they've never had that before, no one's ever reached out to them and offered that. What does it look like for that person to then start to pursue a mentor?
That's a great question. I usually do tell people to start with, Hey, can we get coffee? because that's a lot less intimidating than, Hey, will you be my mentor? Here's the reality I would tell any younger woman wanting to be mentored: older women don't feel like they know anything more than you do. That's the reality. I was just asked this past year to mentor someone and I have to admit, I have written this book mentoring but I was like, I have nothing to offer her. That was my first thought in my mind: I have nothing to offer her—why does she want me to mentor her? So often the older women in that equation don't feel like they are bringing much to the table. I would say that's the reality. That's what I've heard from a lot of older women. They're like, I don't know what she wants me to do with her! So they're intimidated, too. That's one thing I would say. So going in with that understanding of how they might feel completely unqualified. They may look at their past and say, If she knew what was in my story, she would never want me to be her mentor. And so they're dealing with that reality, too. So that's why I think it's good to say, Hey, can we get coffee? and to come with some really specific questions for them that you're hoping to grow in. And then also to the younger woman what I would say is make sure you want the right things from a mentor. Are you looking for someone who is going to point you to Christ? Are you looking for someone who is going to be willing to confront your sin? Are you really open for that? Are you really ready to be there? Are you looking for someone who's going to push those places in your life that maybe need some work? Because if you're just looking for someone who's going to be your friend and just kind of be there for you, I would say look for a prayer partner; look for a friend. Those are very different things than what you're hoping for in a mentor. And so I think we have to have the right expectation as we even go out looking for a mentor. And that's tough because sometimes we just want a nurturing figure in our lives, and that's a good desire; but it's not necessarily a mentor.
Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
That's a really helpful distinction. Maybe speak a little bit then to the other category: the older Christian woman who has been in the faith for a long time and doesn't know her Bible and is mature in the faith—as far as she would consider—but maybe struggles with that imposter syndrome that you were referencing before that you even acknowledged that you sometimes still wrestle with. What would you say to that person? How do they move through that and still pursue other people to mentor?
The thing I am constantly telling myself even is all I'm doing is standing beside. In the book I share an example of when I was young I remember my dad came out and he was doing something I'd never seen him do before: he was taking this young tree that was bent over because of a storm that had come through. He tethered it to a larger tree. I asked him why he was doing that. He said, If you tether it to this bigger tree it's going to help it grow straight so it has time to strengthen. And it's that image that I really keep in my mind when I think about mentoring. It's simply a tethering of two people together for a specific amount of time. That image frees me because I'm standing beside the person, but I'm not the sun and I'm not the rain. I'm not making this younger person grow. I'm simply standing beside and offering the years of strength that the Lord has given me. In some sense, the years that he's allowed me to thicken, so to speak, because he has grown me. That's what I'm offering to this younger person. So the reality is if you've been a Christian a year, you've got something to pass to the person who became a Christian yesterday. If you've been a Christian for three or four years, take what you know and pass it on to the person who's been a Christian for a year. And if you've been a Christian for thirty years, goodness! That's thirty years of walking with the Lord! Surely you have tons more than you even realize to pass on to these younger women. And so I think we all have to just take a breath and say, Oh! Can I tell them about what Jesus has done in my life? Yes, I can do that. I can stand beside and not have to have all the answers. I don't have to know how the canon was formed necessarily. I don't have to know all of church history. But I can tell them about the truths of Scripture and what Jesus has done in my own life. I can stand beside and I can be there. When I keep that image in mind, I'm a lot less intimidated by the concept of mentoring.
Owning up to What We Don’t Know
That is such a powerful image, that of two trees tethered together, and that reminder that we're not responsible to make someone else grow and also have the freedom to say I don't know. How important is that—just those three words-being willing to say I don't know?
I think it's important in every part of life. And it's really funny, my husband is a New Testament professor, and so he clearly went as far as you can go in the study of the New Testament, in some sense educationally. I'll still ask him questions about the New Testament and he'll quite comfortably say, I don't know. I'd have to do some research on that. And I'm sitting there thinking, You're supposed to know everything about the New Testament—this is what you studied! It's almost as though he knows enough to be really comfortable saying I don't know. And it's kind of wonderful when we see leaders being able to say I don't know. And I think there's a lot of freedom in that. So when this younger woman hears you say, I don't know, let's find out together then they understand Oh, I'm going to be growing all of my life. We're studying the infinite God of all the universe—surely we all have something left to learn because we're finite creatures trying to understand this infinite God who knows all and is all-powerful and is all good. He's so great that we're going to spend eternity understanding him. And so when I think about it that way, it makes it really much easier to say, Oh, I don't know. That's a good question. I think there's a lot of freedom in that. And again, it's just that humility that mentoring does not mean you know everything. It just simply means you're willing to stand beside.
So what would you say to the person listening right now who, in theory, would love to be in this kind of a relationship, whether as a mentor as a mentee; but maybe just as they look at their life—they look at their family life and their work life and their church life—they just can't imagine how they would find the time to actually invest in someone like this or be invested in like this in this intense, intentional way. What would you say to that person?
I think that's a really good question, and one thing I learned from the woman who mentored me from my high school, she just did it in the midst of her regular job. She was available in the midst of her work. One thing I realized, when I was raising three small children, I felt like Who would want to enter into this mess, because my life feels like chaos! I don't feel like I have any time, and these three young people want me all day long. One of the most significant friendships in my life developed during that time with a younger woman who was single, and she actually loved coming into our home. When my kids would see her, they would all yell and scream, Miss Angela! She was in this season of singleness, and being part of a family was actually a delight to her. And for me, I was in this season of talking two-year-old talk. She was in seminary at the time, and so for me it was so great to have this friend to talk about ministry and theology with, and we would have these great discussions and it got me out of my mommy world, so to speak. Yet if you looked at our lives, there was no natural overlap. She was a seminary student. She was single. I was married with three young kids. And yet this wonderful relationship developed even though the time wasn't necessarily there, but we just opened up our home. She was in a small group Bible study in our home that we were already doing. She would come over for dinner often. She would just be in our life. We didn't have formal sit-downs—regularly there were children crawling all over her or me when we were meeting—but there was just a desire to have real relationship with one another. And so it happened. And so one of the easiest ways I would say to do that is what are you already doing that you can invite someone into your life who's younger to do with you? So if you're already involved in a ministry—it can be serving in the nursery—and you say, Hey, let's do this together. Then you have every week of serving there together and you get to chat while you're doing ministry together. If you're serving in some other way—if you're on the finance committee—asking another woman to come along and say, Hey, would you want to do this with me? If you teach a Sunday school class to other women, maybe having a younger woman who seems really interested come alongside you and help with even the logistics of it. It's in doing ministry that I've so often found younger women to mentor and vice versa. So I would say if you look around your life and say, What am I already doing? and then invite someone in, it's a great way to find that space.
Speak to the husbands right now listening—or maybe the significant others in some of the women's lives who are listening right now—what can they do to help encourage and support women in their mentoring relationships?
I would say just acknowledging the importance of it in your significant other's life, that they need relationships like this to help them grow. First off I would say as you look at your wife to know that the thing she needs is always going to be growth in Christ. That's the primary thing that's the root of all the things we think we need. We may think we need a break. We may think we need a day off. We may think we need rest. But I would say the more I have grown in the Lord—and I hate to say this because it sounds so cold and hard—the more I have understood theology, the more freedom I have had in my daily living. It sounds kind of like this hard thing, but I just mean the more I understand how God is at work in the universe, the more I have a right understanding of Scripture, then the more I have right expectations of what life should be all together. So I would say to the husband out there, the more you can encourage your wife to be growing in the Lord, that's going to bless your whole family and that's going to be a blessing in her life, and encouraging to her to have time alone in the word and to have that time to be with other women who are spurring her on in the faith—that's just a huge blessing to be able to encourage that in her life. To give her the space and time for that is a really good thing and it will bless your entire family.
Maybe as we come to a close here, what are three practical next steps that you would give to the person who would love to be mentored, but maybe just doesn't know how to ask for that or how to start—what would be the next three things they could do to start down that road?
The first thing I would say is to pray. Pray that the Lord would give you eyes to see someone that you would even want to reach out to you for coffee or things like that. So the first thing I would definitely say is pray and ask the Lord. Tell him your desire—it's a good desire—tell him your desire to grow in him and ask him for someone to help you grow in the faith. The second thing I would encourage you to do is look around at where you already are. If you're in a Bible study or if you're in a small group in your church, look around and say, Who in this world that I'm already in do I really look up to? Who do I hear wisdom coming from that really resonates with me? Who's a woman who I look at and say wow she really knows her Bible? And then the third thing I would do—so I'd pray, I'd look—and then I'd ask. The third thing I do is I would ask someone, Hey, could we get coffee? and just start the relationship that way. Those are three pretty simple steps, and most people I think have space in their schedule for a coffee at some point. So I would pray, I would look, and I would ask. Those are the three that I would do.
So what about then for the woman who thinks that she could mentor someone else, who thinks she could reach out—what would be three practical steps for her?
Actually, I think they would be the exact same steps. I would tell her to pray for someone to invest in, and then I would look around her normal life. And the other thing I would tell an older woman to do is maybe look for a group of younger women who are friends together, because I do think sometimes mentoring can be actually less intimidating when it's not one-on-one, but maybe one-on-three or one-on-four. Then it's kind of like you are taking this group along together. I think that can be a really good thing. So I would, again, look in your own world and maybe you have some younger women who are coming to your Bible study, or maybe you have some younger women who are in your coed small group, or something like that. And then I would invite them into your life in some way. Maybe have them over for a coffee, or maybe have them over for dinner, and just get to know them. And that is a huge kindness in their life just to have an older woman seeking them out. An older woman at my church who has done this so well to me, after church on Sunday all she did was say, Hey, how can I be praying for you this week? And it was such a kindness to me that she took the time to ask and then she followed up with me and told me she'd been praying. It meant the world to me, just her pursuit of me. So again, I would say pray and I would say look around and then I'd say pursue other women.
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