A Friend in Me

Today for “Natasha’s Study” I review the book, A Friend in Me: How to be a Safe Haven for Other Women, by Pamela Havey Lau.

a-friend-in-me-book-cover

 

Why I picked up this book:

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine said to me, “I only recommend two books for mentoring, yours and the one by Pamela Havey Lau.” Not long after, I met with another friend who I dearly respect and she asked, “Do you know Pamela Havey Lau?” When I said, “No,” she responded, “I have to get you two connected. You have this mentoring thing on lock.” Therefore, I went and purchased “A Friend in Me.”

Who Should Read A Friend in Me:

This book is really for older women who are seeking to mentor younger women (i.e. millennial types).

 

What’s in Store for You:

What I like most about this book is its practicality. Filled with personal examples and stories from Lau’s life, the book includes many open-ended questions that you can ask to engage in deeply conversations with younger women. Lau writes, “Deep conversations remind us about our true purpose and the unique strengths God has given us and, therefore, satisfy any desires we may have for wanting more than we already have.”

What we often gain through mentoring relationships is wisdom. The wisdom provided in this book is tested. After all, you can’t write a book about mentoring if you have not devoted yourself to the work, and Pamela has devoted herself. Throughout the book, she reveals what I have come to understand: Mentoring changes both the mentor and the mentee. We are all shaped by our mentoring relationships and we are often changed for the better.

She begins this book by first addressing the lies that young women believe, and the challenges older women face. For example, one challenge we all face is the temptation to tell other people what to do. Some food for thought: Lau writes, “Withholding your opinion is a way of considering someone’s need more important than your own.”

A quick way to get off track in a mentoring relationship is simply telling people what you think and feel. Mentees don’t need more people telling them what to do. In fact, I often tell my mentees that my opinion doesn’t matter. A wise and faithful mentor will seek to serve her mentees by taking them to the One whose opinion does matter. This action can happen through prayer, the faithful study of God’s Word, and by helping mentees grow in wisdom and discernment so they can make the right choices even when you are absent.

Mentees learn when we teach, and through our teaching they learn to discern what’s happening in their own hearts and how God is inviting them to be in relationships with others. It is through the wrestling that we experience and see God at work in our heart and lives.

Bonus: Lau also throws in a few nonthreatening ways to practice spiritual disciplines.

 

My personal take-aways?

I’ve been going through a very difficult time with a family member. After praying, I found reading the section, “Relating with Compassion” quite helpful. In it, Lau advises readers and mentors to, “reassure the woman who is suffering, sacrifice your own agenda, and speak kindly to her. Your compassion for the next generation could be the ‘saving of many lives.’” This is exactly what I needed to find a different approach to dealing with my current relational and ministry issue.

Additionally, her chapter titled, “Conversations about Sex” is an important read. Far too often people in the church shy away from talking about sex, as if to conclude that no one else is talking about it or if we don’t talk about it with young people, they won’t inquire elsewhere. One of my mentors, who also has a longer history serving with her husband in marriage ministry, has often said to me, “Church folks do a great job of telling unmarried folks not to have sex, but do a very poor job of telling married folks to have sex all the time.” The frequency and desire for sex barely scratches the surface of the conversation. Lau goes more in-depth. If we want to influence young people and mentor well, we must be willing to talk about sex.

Want more mentoring resources, check out my official website: http://www.natashasrobinson.com/mentoring-tools/

 

Twitter-worthy:

“Our suffering and our lives are never wasted when they are surrendered to God.” @PamelaHaveyLau

“My goal is relationships in restoration.” @PamelaHaveyLau

“Our relationship with God is always rooted in his redemptive love.” @PamelaHaveyLau

“God’s love is more powerful than what the world offers.” @PamelaHaveyLau

“Loyal love stays true to the Word of God and to the people of God.” @PamelaHaveyLau

 

Quotable:

“Unrefined pain hardens women’s hearts. Pain that hasn’t been sifted through the loving heart of God makes us lose our way, leaving us confused and disillusioned on the inside.” – Pamela Havey Lau

“The power of healing comfort lies in an ability to ask a good question and to hand around long enough to help birth the answer.” – Pamela Havey Lau

“Reassure the woman who is suffering, sacrifice your own agenda, and speak kindly to her. Your compassion for the next generation could be the ‘saving of many lives.’”  – Pamela Havey Lau

 

Next Up on This Topic:

“Essential Guide to Becoming a Disciple: Eight Sessions for Mentoring and Discipleship” by Greg Odgen

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2016

 

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