Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Second Mama.

The first time I became a mentor, it was by circumstance, but I went about it in a very intentional way. I sought guidance and learned how to be a mentor from a sweet lady that I've known most of my life and who I highly respect as a spiritual, Christian leader.

Thankfully what I learned in those sessions about mentoring apply to all mentoring situations. Because, in the last year my home has been filled with more mentoring than I could ever have dreamed!

I have to tell you that as an only daughter, with 3 older brothers, I always dreamed of sisters. And, eventually, I did get some sisters, but didn't have the opportunity to know them since they lived 600 miles away. When our 4th boy came along, my 1 daughter really lamented not having a sister. I explained to her that sisters don't have to be related to you. I have a couple of 'sisters' that don't share a single chromosome with me. Even while explaining this to my daughter, I was, myself, lamenting not having more daughters.

It dawned on me recently that daughters don't have to be related to me any more than my 'sisters'! Somehow in the last year I have become "Second Mama" to a handful of wonderful young ladies. Some of them are my daughter's classmates, some not. But all very special to me.

I was thinking about what it means to be a Second Mama the other day. It's a labor of love. Sometimes as simple as giving a hug. Sometimes as complex as psychotherapist. ;)

A Second Mama's first job is to always support and love First Mama. I see it as my job to bridge the gap of relationships between my 'daughters' and their moms when things at home are frustrating. I give a listening ear, understanding words and encourage them to step back and understand a different perspective. Occasionally, I even get the chance to encourage the First Mamas. It's important to me to help them honor their mothers and if possible understand their mothers. I never want to be a stumbling block in those relationships. Rather, I want to encourage and foster them.

A Second Mama's next, and probably most important job, is to always point my girls to Jesus. Whether it's encouraging them to pray, praying with them, buying them a Bible and walking through it with them, answering the hard questions of life, dealing with anger and frustration, broken hearts, whatever it is I gotta bring it back to the eternal. What is really important is your relationship with God. This is the little life, the big life is the one to come. So my goal is to make sure my girls are ready for it, and that they know how to live this life in Truth. A big part of that is living by example, and sometimes I fail miserably at that. There are times when I get caught in my own anger and don't deal well. Times when my words aren't as gentle as they should be. But part of living that example is getting right back up and on track again. We all fail sometimes, but how we deal with our shortcomings is as important as the things we teach and say, maybe more important. I hope my girls see that in me.

A Second Mama's third job is giving lots of hugs. Hugs make you feel loved and important. They can comfort you when you're down. They can relate shared joys. They can give you a sense of belonging. Face it, hugs just feel good! :)

This past year has been a life-changing year for me. God has grown me more than any other year I can remember. He has given my a heart for the lost, and a voice to speak boldly. He has opened so many, many doors for me to reach out to others who need Him. And being a Second Mama has been almost as rewarding as being a mama to my own children.

I am so proud of my girls and I love them all dearly,
Alysha & Ashley

The daughters of my heart.