Once upon a time there was a woman with two mentors – mentors she didn’t know she even needed.
The two mentors had different styles, but each was critical to her survival in this overseas life. Both were the epitome of the Titus 2 woman. They were reverent and patient with her, able to build her up, teaching her good and admonishing her to live a godly lifestyle. They watered her with the Word in times of drought, prayed with her in times of loneliness, and walked beside her when the anxiety attacks raged within. Their investment in her was a living sacrifice, even until their final breaths.
Enter Peggy. She was the mentor who was there from the beginning of the journey. Her heart for all things Kingdom work was met with great compassion and so much grace. She was intentional in her reaching out to those God called her to serve and even as a complete stranger, she took the woman under her wing, embracing her, her husband and their two children as a part of her own family. Their bond grew over the years, like that of kindred spirits, and they would cherish the rare moments when life would bring them together face-to-face.
Peggy faithfully modeled seeking God first. Her eagerness to quietly spend time with God every morning was unmistakable. She had a gift for noticing people, a remarkable ability to discern their needs. And rest assured, God would honor her desire to follow through. Like the time she arranged for the woman and her husband to retreat and seek counseling at the foothills of those majestic mountains. It would be a time for them to not only re-connect as a couple, but to also get to the root cause of the woman’s anxiety attacks. That key intervention would lay the foundation of the woman’s healing, and oh my, was she ever grateful. But in His ingenuity, God knew that the woman would need someone physically present to continue the healing work that He had begun.
Enter Kandi. She was the mentor assigned with that task, though neither she nor the woman would have ever guessed the beauty of the journey that was about to unfold. Newly retired, Kandi’s husband decided to go back to Bible college. After graduating, and at an age when most are kicking back and relaxing, she and her husband obeyed the call of God. They relocated to serve Him on these 166 square miles that the woman had moved to nearly a decade before. They would soon find their purpose in ministering within the church was one-on-one discipleship and in the five years that they lived among the people here, they impacted many a life. But perhaps no one was more impacted than the woman whom God was rebuilding.
While Peggy would be the instrument God used in laying a foundation of healing, Kandi would be the instrument that He used to build upon it – because God never leaves those He loves in ruin. Kandi was an open book and her vulnerability easily gained the trust of the woman. They would spend countless hours in home bible studies together, would have countless conversations in prayer with and for one another, and would use countless Kleenexes in moments when the brokenness could only be expressed as a stream of tears. Moments of iron sharpening iron, wrapped in an unconditional love.
Much like Peggy, Kandi and her husband would embrace the woman and her family as their own. Their relationship became a safe space to share life. Laughter over coffee, venting while folding laundry, the impromptu shopping run, just to be able to spend time together. Kandi referred to it all as “divine appointments” and she was good at keeping every single one.
She also knew how to nourish a soul, but was no-nonsense in her approach. Many of their conversations ended with her saying to the woman, “But it’s not about you.” And as painfully annoying as those words were to hear, the woman knew it to be true. It wasn’t about her. It was about what God wanted to do through her – and still is. Through her pain and anxiety. Through the journey and the joy. Even through the grief.
In March 2016, within just three weeks of each other, both Kandi and Peggy passed away. Both unexpectedly. Both, without warning. Two beautiful women. Two faithful servants. Two incredible mentors. Gone to meet their Maker. The sudden void was smothering and left the woman bewildered. And in His ingenuity, God sent yet another mentor, this time to finish the healing work He’d started – in me. Yes, the woman is me.
Enter Jesus. He’s the Mentor they’d been pointing me to all along. The One who counts every tear, keeps lifting my head, and whispers from His Word:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
In my raw grief, the Lord compelled me to write a song that I aptly entitled “The God Who Sees Me” – a tribute to Peggy and Kandi and an offering of worship unto Him – because He never leaves those He loves in ruin. In what special ways have your mentor(s) impacted your life?