Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to one of the friends I wrote about in the earlier piece on Mentoring and Discipleship. Jenny Bernthal was my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher. I was also working at the school at the time. I remember some of us from school doing a Bible study together, I believe on the Psalms of Ascent. Years later, Jenny would lead my daughter and her friends in a Bible study in her home, and now my daughter has the gift of babysitting for Jenny’s children every so often. Her husband likewise has invested in student ministry at church and even came over to help move some furniture when my mom moved here a few years ago. On goes the circle of generational mentoring, discipleship, and friendship together.
I asked Jenny if she would be willing to share with us, and she has written how God used mentors in her life. Thank you, Jenny, for this challenge and encouragement, and welcome to the blog today!
When I think about mentoring in my own life, I am so grateful for all the time my parents spent with me, encouraging me, listening to me, calling me up, having fun and sharing their own lives with me. I’m also so grateful that they encouraged other mentors in my life and I’m sure prayed for them for me.
A handful come to mind…each such a blessing in different seasons of life. Two awesome Bible study leaders in high school who listened and encouraged. One took my friends and me through The Bride Wore White, a book about purity. She took us to a beach for fun one day, and while we were there I remember her telling us to lead a study with young girls one day.
A high school teacher who, after having kids, stayed home, started using me as a babysitter and then moved down the street from my parents! She told me she always wanted to be watching for someone to be reaching up towards and pulling up- older and younger. She pulled me into their family life of raising boys, even taking me overnight to her parents’, who at the time lived blocks from where I would one day live with my husband and boys! I learned so much from how she parented her boys. I still draw on it to this day.
My Intervarsity leader in college was out of this world. A little firecracker full of love and energy for God, she spent an hour with me each week in college, praying with me, talking and walking through the Bible together. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She also pulled me into her life. Each year she had my mom and me stay at their house during mom weekends at U of I, making it into a bed and breakfast experience, complete with a basket full of treats and soaps and toothpaste and all by our bedsides. She would ask me, “What are we doing in this huge house?!” (Her husband was our pastor.) But she said they just gave everything in their lives to God, and He constantly filled their home with people and His work. Her time with me and the window she gave me into her walk with God were huge.
She cheered me on as a Christian at a huge university and gave me a place to bring new friends who didn’t know the Lord through Intervarsity. She was such a support to me as I befriended sorority sisters and classmates… and that fruit goes on and on. (I get to be in a Bible study this year with two of those U of I friends who are now walking with Jesus!)
God put it on my heart to do a Bible study with some former students, and what a blessing that was!
We just weren’t meant to go alone, and I thank God for all of the people He has put into my life that are walking testimonies of what He has done in their lives…pictures of lives marked and changed by Him.
Who comes to your mind when you think of those who have been a mentor to you… or someone to whom you could give your time?