My Mentor(s)

“Mentor – An experienced, trusted advisor….”

Throughout most people’s lives, there will be numerous mentors; people we trust, people who mold us and shape us to the best of their abilities. I’ve had wonderful mentors, and I’ve had just the opposite of wonderful, people – mentors? – whose evil and destructiveness I almost didn’t escape with my life.

Our parents are our first mentors, guiding us through our childhood and teenage years. Parents can be be good mentors, showing us how to deal with life in a positive manner, or they can teach us how to live in ugly, disfunctional ways. Growing up, we – my siblings and I – were taught right from wrong, we were taught that actions have consequences, and we were taught discipline. (Yes, I rebelled against those teachings.)

Our teachers can be our mentors. I hope I never forget my first grade teacher, Mrs. Alexander, or my art teachers, Mrs. Homer in Sand Springs, OK, and Mr. Bond at OBU. They loved what they did, and they loved their students, drawing out the best in each of us. Jorge and Cynthia Fick, who taught me much about the elastic arts and life in general.

Some of the people whom I looked to as mentors hurt me; scarred (that’s scarred, not scared…) me, emotionally and physically. Eventually – I’m a slow learner! – I remembered the One Who wants to mentor me / us, and Who will never hurt me / us in any way. When we accept JESUS as our Saviour, we become a new person. At the moment of Salvation, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, becomes our Mentor and Protector for the rest of our lives.

“This means that anyone who belongs to CHRIST has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new Life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

Jesus becomes not only our Mentor, but He becomes the best friend you could possibly imagine, and better. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Happy is the house that shelters a friend,” and “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere and before him I may think aloud. The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.” Walter Winchell defines a friend as “one who walks in when others walk out.”

That’s exactly what JESUS does. He is the One that we can be completely honest and sincere with, because He will never disappoint. I can tell Him my deepest secrets, confess my most heinous sins, and He won’t reject me. He doesn’t judge me, He just Loves me. He is the One Who walks in, and stays in, when our human friends and family don’t. He is the One True Mentor, the One we can trust as the most experienced, most Trust-worthy, and Who will never advise us wrong. In 1855, a man by the name of Joseph M. Scriven wrote a song called “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” The first verse goes like this:

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!

“Fight the Good Fight for the True Faith. Hold tightly to the Eternal Life to which GOD has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

My prayer for you today is that you have the Ultimate Mentor in your life!

My Happy Place

The ocean calls to me with the rhythm of the tides as they ebb and flow. It’s something inexplicable; a feeling deep in my being. The sound of the surf breaking, the distinct smell of saltwater, the wind blowing in from the water, the incessant sound of seagulls….. it all serves to ground me; it’s my Happy Place. I’ve heard many people express their dislike of the sea, saying that it’s humid, noisy, dirty. Oh, the sea can be those things, but it is so much more. There’s a primal quality with the tides; a siren song as they call to our innermost beings. I’ve read that the sea is a harsh mistress, and I can understand that, but it can be a gentle lover, too, caressing and soothing. When I am at the ocean, and I experience the tide continuing it’s course, inexorably constant, the outgoing tide washes away my stress and worries while the incoming tide brings peace and contentment.

The tide is an apt analogy for how GOD works. When we accept Him, He washes us and caresses us with the gentlest tides. He washes away my cares when I rest in Him, while bringing serenity and peace into my life. The enemy throws storms at us, sending huge tides and monstrous waves at us, trying to wash us away – our LORD is our Anchor in the riptides and the maelstroms of life; without Him, we become like the wrecks at the bottom of the sea. Jesus said,

“I tell you the Truth, those who listen to My Message and believe in GOD who sent Me have Eternal Life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 NLT

“This Hope is a strong and trustworthy Anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into GOD’s Inner Sanctuary.” – Hebrews 6:19 NLT

Who Do You Trust?

“Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery. ….. Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.” – Proverbs 29:1‭, ‬25 NLT
“Then JESUS said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.‘ ” – Matthew 11:28 NLT

I have learned who and what to trust the hard way, in the school of hard knocks called Life. That’s how I’ve always done it: physically and verbally abusive relationships, demeaning bosses, condescending ‘friends’. I’ll probably continue to have lessons on trust for for the rest of my life. I have learned that there is ONE person that you can trust, implicitly and wholeheartedly, and that person is JESUS. He will never leave me, He will never forsake me, and He will never, ever, hurt me. Hear what the psalmist says:

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is Good! His Faithful LOVE endures Forever. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” – Psalms 118:1‭, ‬6 NLT

What can mere people do to me, he asks. Compared to what my GOD can do, people have no power. They can do harm to my physical body, they can take all of my worldly goods, they can hurt me emotionally, all in this life on earth – but in the overall scheme of things, anything that happens to me here pales in view of eternity with my JESUS. I may moan and cry and complain because that’s what we humans do, and I may ( okay, I do ) pray and even beg for deliverance from the circumstances. Deep inside me, I know that whatever is happening is temporary. Even events that drag on for years, uncomfortable things and memories that last a lifetime – it will all go away and turn to ash when exposed to the GLORY of my Saviour!

I may never trust another man, and I will continue to be cautious with new friendships because of my experiences. It is incredibly freeing to know that that ONE, the CHRIST, has my back and my complete trust. I pray you can experience what real trust through JESUS CHRIST means. As the Apostle Paul says, “May GOD our Father give you Grace and Peace {and TRUST}. We always pray for you, and we give thanks to GOD, the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ.” – Colossians 1:2‭-‬3 NLT

AMEN.