Side-view mirror reflection of my mentor.

We all need mentors in our life. Some people are put sharply in our path to warn and wake us up. Others are set nicely in the living room at sunset and will stay with us for a lifetime. I’ve had the blessing of having mentors for a season, to coach, guide, counsel and correct me through complicated times.

One mentor is my mom. Through her life, through her fight, through her abruptness and overwhelming instinct to give and provide for people, she taught me sacrifice. Perhaps at the expense of learning prudence, discretion, firm and clear boundaries and seeing something through and through. But childhood, in its essence is a season, though we’re told to carry the fascination from that time to explore new things.

The diagnosis with cancer in 2012 brought on a difficult time in my life. The effects and blessings from that season, as you can imagine, have many layers. God uses times in our lives where He shaves down our perspective of what’s important and turns our gaze to what really matters. I raced to God in that season. I had matter-of-fact conversations with my daughter about what her choices are and how to discern them, if she comes to a point in her life when I’m not there. Can you envision the chain of motherhood, a link from my mom to me, then another from me to my daughter?

I would probably be too selfish to understand what my mother went through during my recovery. Seeing me groggy from a 7-hour surgery, slowly pushing myself out of the hospital bed to steady my body for a walk down the hallway, the labored turn of the body to get into a position to sleep, the pain and change of color on my face when I dealt with demons in the bathroom from radiation damaging my nerves. It is one thing to bring your child into this world. It’s another thing to fight to keep them in it.

I’m not the kid who finds ways to nestle next to mom. For the unconfessed co-dependant, it’s a nightmare.

I can go days without contact. I get quiet in discussions that might rouse emotion in someone else and I voice my opinion when it doesn’t want to be heard. I’m not the one to invite to a dinner party.

God showed me compassion. He showed me how to take into consideration how it must’ve been to grow up in a home with eight siblings, the expectation and attention of good grades, the rush of a mistake with an unplanned pregnancy, a wedding to a man with too much uncertainty, then moving to a foreign country as a single mom. Then, facing the cost of underestimating the impact of those life choices in later years. Most of all, going through all of that without experiencing the presence of Christ and the reassurance that she can be redeemed through Jesus.

I would have bought a luggage full of bitterness and manipulation during recovery, if God didn’t walk with me and stay with me. I can’t imagine how other people face the biggest mountain in their lives without God. But I can see the effects.

There is a difference between acknowledging God’s presence and wanting to believe that He’s in control and actually inviting His son, Jesus, into our heart and life. My prayer is for my mentor to see more than just the umbrella of God. But to come forward and ask Christ to be her Savior. After all her sacrifice, she can know the greatest Mentor of all.




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