I just finished reading Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside by Sue Moore Donaldson.
I’ve had a desire to come alongside others for years now. (And have actually been doing it) But I really didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. This little book gave me assurance that I was doing the right thing plus a few more pointers as well.
I’ve heard the admonishment that each of us should not only have a mentor but be a mentor as well. Are you turning back to give someone behind you a hand? This little guide will help you do it.
Here’s an excerpt Sue asked me to share with you …
In my early 20’s I met Jeanne Garrison. Jeanne was wise, gracious, funny, and for some reason, loved me. She showed it by pouring her wisdom into me, her time into my time, her life into my life. Living life with Jeanne alongside made all the difference.
I was a new college grad, starting my first whirl into the real work world—single and facing my first career, a new roommate, a new town, and a new church family. Not floundering exactly, but needing emotional, practical and spiritual support.
Meeting my Mentor
I don’t remember how we first met one-on-one. I do remember sitting at Jeanne’s table, talking and talking, usually a cup of tea in one hand and a pen in the other. (It was good to have a pen when I spent time with Jeanne.) I also remember Jeanne’s response: spoken with a smile, a gentle word, often a chuckle of understanding–never a judgment:
“You know, Sue, this is how it was with my mother.”
“Sounds like you could use help in this area – let me get this organized for you.”
“The most important thing you can tell your students is that God is your most important thing.”
You see why I was grateful. Everyone needs a Jeanne.
In my late 20’s I met Karen and Carol, Debbie and Gerri. They were high school Juniors—smart, motivated, filled with dreams and goals, and for some reason, they loved me, too. I asked them one afternoon:
“Would you like to meet with me after school some day–say, Wednesday? We can talk about your dreams and goals, your guy-relationships, your mom-relationships, and most of all, your relationship with God?”
They said, “Yes” and off we went. We met three months, once a week, and then, I sent each on their way: to meet with a Freshman girl. Fresh from our three months, on to a new three months. Table mentoring, one-to-one, one-to-three. Passing on what they knew, what I knew and now, I pass it on to you.
Table mentoring worked.
For me, for Jeanne, for high school girls ready to fly. And it can for you, as well.
Do you need a table to Table Mentor? No. But a table imbues intimacy—an elbow-touching-grab-a-hand-in-prayer type of closeness. Maybe not at the first meet-up, but definitely in the mix along the way.
Table, bench, back steps, dorm hallway, coffee house
—choose whichever promotes the progress of a hearty sharing. The place or porch doesn’t matter. Taking the time to listen does. Tell a story, gently nudge, cry some, laugh a lot, and give all to the Mighty Counselor before and after and maybe in the middle. Coming together until the misery is out of the commiserate as you both sit at Jesus’ feet.
I love to describe MENTORING as “to come alongside”
which is found in The Message version of I Corinthians 1: 3 and 4–
“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times,
and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else
who is going through hard times so that we can be there for
that person just as God was there for us.”
I Corinthians 1:3,4
Two things to consider:
- We mentor another from our own experience of being mentored by God. As we experience God’s “alongside-ness” in our up’s and down’s, joys and sorrows, we can more naturally share His overflow with someone who is where we have been.
“God comes alongside us when we go through hard times…”
- We mentor another by getting close enough so that mutual vulnerability is natural and trusted. Authenticity is the vanguard of artless discipleship.
“…He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
You don’t need a table to be a Table Mentor.
You do need an ongoing relationship with the Ultimate Mentor, and a bold desire to get close to someone who needs to hear what you’ve learned.
-Excerpt from Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide for Coming Alongside, Sue Moore Donaldson
Are YOU mentoring someone?
How about giving it a try? Come alongside someone who is going through something you have gone through in the past. You won’t regret it.
I’ve been coming alongside people with Fibromyalgia.
Fibro is one of those Invisible Chronic Illnesses. It’s so hard for family and loved ones to understand what is going on. I have created New Facebook page to help the friends and family of fibro warriors. Come join us over at Fibromyalgia – Is It for Real? Maybe we can answer some of your questions.