Mentoring Across Generational, Racial-Ethnic, and Socio-Economic Lines

I’m so honored to share the testimony of my mentoring relationship with Mary through this excerpt from Mentor for Life:


The first time I stepped onto her porch, it was a sweltering hot summer day in Maryland. I’d been encouraged to visit the woman who lived in this house because she was offering a Bible study for young women, and that’s exactly what I needed. Although I’d been raised in the church, I was really just a young Christian at the time—only a year into a personal relationship with the Lord. I was still unsure about a lot of things, including what it even meant to be a disciple. I wanted to learn.

Me and Mary at retreat
Mary and I at a women’s retreat during my Naval Academy days.

The door opened, and Mary stepped into my life with her smile, warm hugs, homemade bread, and Snickers cookies. But she didn’t stop there. She shared the Word of God and taught me his truth. It was Mary who prayed me through some of the most difficult times in my young adult life. It was Mary who became one of my closest confidants and advisors. It was Mary who corrected my many shortcomings.

Mary was the first woman who intentionally discipled me. As a young midshipman from South Carolina attending the United States Naval Academy, I didn’t know how to cook. I rarely washed my own clothes. Aside from keeping a clean house, being hospitable, and throwing a great party, I knew little about homemaking because my mother proudly took care of those things. Her priority was to ensure that we, her children, had every opportunity to prepare academically and athletically for our futures. And while personal leadership, responsibility, and accountability were ingrained in me at a young age, I never learned certain life lessons as a child.

Me Mary Tom at Wedding
Mary and her husband, Tom, attending my wedding several years later.

Mary gained wisdom from persevering through life. She was an older white woman, a former nurse, a devoted wife, and a stay-at-home mom. This mother of five (four of whom were still living at home) regularly taught women’s Bible studies, homeschooled her children, and was devoted to serving midshipmen, her church, and her community. She baked the best treats from scratch. During my visits, she would cook and I would eat. I was quite pleased with this arrangement. We were very different, and God used our differences to create opportunities for learning and to grow a beautiful relationship.

Continue reading at Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics.

Book Review – Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today

Author: Mark Labberton, Publisher: IVP Books, 2014

 Called book coverWhy I picked up this book:

Intervarsity Press Publishers sent me this book upon its release, and I was delighted to review it after having read Labberton’s “The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor” and using it as a mentoring resource.

Who Should Read Called:

Any Christian who wants to reflect on their life in relation to the church and work God is doing in the world.

What’s in Store for You:

This book was birthed out of Labberton’s pastoral heart. This is a gift of wisdom and profound thought from a person who clearly loves Jesus and his church.

Labberton does not want us to forget that the primary call of the church is to follow Jesus. Following includes loving, learning from and obeying Christ. These are the marks of a true disciple or follower of Christ. The call to discipleship requires that we recalibrate our lives so Jesus is the center from which everything else flows. Following Jesus is a call to live differently, to live as God’s beloved.

Continue reading “Book Review – Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today”

Natasha’s Study: Giving Myself an Incomplete

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile attending seminary over the past 3 ½ years, I have acquired books, lots of them actually. Some may think that seminary increases one’s learning and understanding, and it does. For me, however, seminary also revealed how much I didn’t know and how much more I need to learn. So I started buying books to fill my learning gap. Sometimes people gifted me with books or publishers mailed books for me to review, and I could only get to a few at a time because my seminary reading load was so heavy. It short, I had a problem.

Once I graduated, I decided to give my brain a rest. I read a little during the summer months but not nearly as much as I would have liked. When my daughter returned to school, I started attacking the books on my shelf. There were so many interesting choices that I found myself picking up a new book to read every few days and I haven’t finished any of them. Therefore, I am giving myself an incomplete and vowing not to crack open another new book until I finish the ones I have already started.

Continue reading “Natasha’s Study: Giving Myself an Incomplete”