God can take something ugly (my past) and transform it into something beautiful (my future). My own testimony is a story of God’s redemption, transformation and restoration and upon reflection, it has been the women mentors in my life which God has used to transform me forever. Now I have the privilege to pass that knowledge on to others.
Titus 2:7 says “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.”
Reflecting back, I can honestly say that even before I became a Christian I have had mentors and have mentored other women. Through every struggle I’ve faced, God has strategically placed a woman in my life who has encouraged and guided me. But it’s the women he has place in my life after I asked Him into my heart who have helped me to become closer to the woman of God that I was created to be and in turn have given me the courage to share that experience with others.
As a recovering addict, God used me even before I even knew him to help other women break free from addiction. Yet there was a piece of the puzzle, the God-shaped piece, that was always missing. I could tell them how to not use but I could not help them become whole because I had not healed from the pain of my own past and was still so broken. Instead of seeing myself through the eyes of the one who created me, I still saw myself through the eyes of the guilt and shame of my past.
It wasn’t until I got saved that God began to place women in my life who have helped me find my identity in Christ and become the woman of God that He’s created me to be. Regardless of our walk with the Lord we can all get to a place where life is crazy. The enemy seems to know when we are at our weakest and it’s then that he begins to whisper the lies that make us feel less than, fearful, hopeless and never good enough. Having a person in your life that can speak the truth of God’s Word, bring you back to the cross and be willing to share their own story with you is such a blessing.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 says “So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
Before coming to the Father’s House I was entering a new season in life where I was feeling lost and a bit empty. My daughter was happily married, my son had left for college and I had just completed three and a half years as a High School Youth group leader, where God had given me the privilege of mentoring a few young ladies and watching them grow into beautiful young women headed off to college.
One morning as I was praying I asked God, “But now what? Where do I go from here?”
I began to pray that God would send a mentor into my life who could encourage and guide me in this next season. I reached out to Barbara Christiansen, who I had known since before coming to The Father’s House and what began as a few spontaneous meetings has turned into weekly more structured “walk, talk and pray” sessions. We discuss personal and ministry issues and she gives me encouragement along with strategies, like the Word of God and prayer, to face whatever the enemy tries to use to take me down.
Proverbs 27:17 says “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Regarding mentors and mentees, Barbara says they can be “for a reason, for a season” or “for life”. Sometimes if we have a temporary situation we are going through, we just need someone we can meet with over coffee and share how we are feeling and what is on our hearts. Simply talking to someone gives us the clarity to work through it (a reason). Other times we are going through a life change that requires meeting with someone on a regular basis for encouragement and can be more structured (a season). Then there are the people we connect with that remain in our lives forever (for life).
Last April, at The Father’s House women’s retreat, God laid it on my heart to create a mentoring program at the Father’s House. I was scared and felt completely unequipped for the task I knew God was asking me to do, but I put on my big girl panties, prayed and scheduled a meeting with Tracy Daugherty and Barbara Christiansen to share my idea. They gave me the green light and I began planning, but in October, I began to feel the enemy saying “what were you thinking, you can’t do this”. I was filled with fear and doubt and I wanted to back out of the whole thing. And then I read Cathey Anderson’s journal entry for that day and it hit me right in the heart. I messaged her to say thank you for her transparency through the journey God had her on, and to tell her how much she inspired me. She responded to me by saying “So much love here. Thank you! You are a beautiful woman. One I sense is like a butterfly–your wings are opening wide. Fly girl, fly! And let us all enjoy your colors!”
Once again, God strategically place a woman in my life that was not only willing to share her heart but one who had followed her own dream which in turn has encouraged me to follow mine.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am Sandy West and have lived in Southern California my whole life. I love Jesus, my family, connecting with friends and a strong cup of coffee. I have two kids of my own. My daughter Robyn works in a lawyer’s office and is married to my son-in-love Joseph, who works as a cook and deckhand. My son Shane will graduate from UCLA in June with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Geography and is dating a sweetheart of a girl named Simone. I also have a stepson Larry who lives in South Carolina. Both Shane and Larry are musicians. I love the beach, running and sharing my testimony of redemption. I am in the process of creating “The Metamorphosis Mentoring Program: From Cocoons to Butterflies” at The Father’s House. The Butterfly represents my journey. (Side note: I’m a bit of a goofball).