Today’s text from a younger woman in our church prompted me to consider again this recurring and blessed nudge from God, this commission as spoken by Jesus to his disciples at the end of Matthew, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”
What about you? Are you ever nudged by God about this?
Backing up a bit, I know the need for discipling from the perspective of this younger woman. Giving my heart to Christ as a young teenager was wonderful and memorable, but my growth was sporadic and unguided until I got out of college and became a mom two and a half years later.
Reflecting back to being a young newly married woman, I remember calling a wise woman in our church and asking her if she knew of a Bible study in which I could participate. This woman was someone whose faith I admired from afar. She seemed to have her life together when it came to her ability to share about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. At the least, I was hoping for an invitation to her Bible study. At the most, I was envisioning being discipled by her, one on one.
But I cannot forget her heartfelt response to me. She steered me to no one – not herself, and not her Bible study group because of my youthfulness and her group’s not-so-youthfulness. She steered me far away from pursuing discipling of any kind.
I hung up the phone dejected and ashamed to have made a cold call to this woman.
Fast forwarding now, I have been blessed in the years since that phone call being in the providential combo of right place and time of receiving from godly women – from group Bible studies, to one-on-one over steaming coffee, to authors who challenged me from afar unbeknownst to their discipling affect on my soul through the words in books.
The common denominator of all those life-giving and life changing encounters with godly women was the Word of God as central to nurturing younger women. Repeatedly pointing me back to truths found in Scripture was key to my growth.
Being a new mom challenged my faith and mentors pointed me to the solidity of the gospel in keeping Jesus at the center of my calling to parent. This sustained me through all the phases of parenting. I knew to whom I could drag my weary soul at the end of a hard day and it was to the Trinity. Women discipling me faithfully pointed me there.
Praying was never my strong suit, but through my discipling relationships, I learned how to pray alone and in community. I learned that God was to be the first ears to hear my heart’s burdens and not my husband’s, friends’, or mentors’. I saw confidentiality modeled and godly strength upheld. I saw repentance and seeking forgiveness displayed. I learned the value of communicating regularly with God.
And I learned the value of being invested in by godly (not perfect) women who gave of their time to come alongside me. For them, I am thankful.
I know the benefits of discipleship. Women discipling women are a breath of fresh air in the Church. To pour into another life (through the power of the Holy Spirit) as I’ve been blessed is a valuable benefit of being an active part of a church body.
I will talk with my younger friend and find out what God has laid on her heart. I will do my best to encourage and teach her as others have modeled for me. I will keep the gospel at the heart of our relationship. I will share my failures and flaws, my meager attempts and few successes, by God’s grace. I will ask her to disciple others, too, at the right time.
Is it time for you to do the same?