A few days ago I was speaking to a woman who has had a strong influence in my life. During the course of our conversation, I said to her "I want you to know how much I appreciate you. My husband credits you with saving our marriage."
The woman grabbed the arm of the person standing with us and laughed and laughed. She looked up at the other person and said "Me? Can you imagine? Me?"
I said "Yes, those moments we spent together were priceless."
We all kinda smiled and joked and the visit ended a short time later.
I've been chewing on that conversation for the past few days. This woman was such a mentor to me in those moments when I needed her the most. She shared such personal experience with me, told me about the mistakes that she had made, the trials she had endured and was, in fact, enduring at that very moment, and feed me nuggets of wisdom that she had gleaned during her personal time with the Lord.
She changed me. She made me see myself differently, my role as a wife and as a mother. Her insights made me reevaluate the way that I submitted to my husband, made our marriage stronger, helped me learn to respect him more.
She really did change our marriage for the better.
But I know why she laughed. Because she's not perfect. She's made lots of mistakes. She gone through horrible trials. At this very moment, she is going through a horrible trial. One that is not of her making, yet she has to be a party in it. So, it was easy for her to think "I'm not any kind of mentor! I'm a mess!"
As I pondered these things, a thought struck me:
Don't let the mistakes of your past and the mistakes of others stop you from being a help to someone else.
Lessons are not learned through easy times. They are learned through the hard times. How could she tell me wisdom like "Submit, even when you don't agree"? Because she's lived it. She's done it. She's doing it now.
Forgive me for the personal anecdote, but recently on this blog I've received various comments along the lines of "You're a super mom" or "You're a role model".
I always snort, then feel a little weepy, because I do not feel like a role model at all. Nor am I a super mom. My list of "woulda, shoulda, couldas" is very long. My house is not super clean, folks. My kids act like I've never taught them any manners and they fight all the time. I let my kids play way too much Wii. I'm putting our family into financial stress because I don't want to homeschool!
But, if someone can take my short-coming, failures, stories, examples, whatever, and learn from them to be a better wife or mother, or child of God, then I will continue to share. Not because I want you to think I'm perfect, but because I want you to know that you can do hard things, that you can improve, that, above all else, God is faithful.
So don't be afraid to share with someone else. Don't be afraid to stand tall and be the best person that you can be. Yes, you made a mistakes. But you now have a wonderful testimony to influence others with. God has been so good to you and you are loved.