“Older women are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:3-5, NAS)
I believe that God has called every girl of every age and station in life to be a mentor to another. Why? Because as children of God we are all part of the Body of Christ. This position entails a certain level of responsibility, not only to complete our own duties but to watch out for each other.
If I was the “hand” of the body, I should be motivated to help take care of the other members. The “feet” and “eyes” and “arms” of the Body are necessary for a properly functioning unit, and if they do not fulfill their place the entire Body will suffer. Therefore, it is in my best interest to do what I can to encourage, challenge, and exhort the members of the Body in my “spiritual sphere of influence” so that I am able to stay healthy and do my part.
If the “eye” is sick, the “hand” has a vested interest in doing what she can to heal that eye. It might get burned in a fire because the eye did not see it, or jamb itself in a door because the eye could not do its part. So of course, the hand is going to be very interested in helping the eye be all that it can be, so that it will in turn help her.:-) We cannot survive without each other.
As young ladies, our main area of leadership is to our girlfriends of close age, even more to younger girls, and perhaps very small children both boys and girls. The area I want to focus on is that of being an older sister teaching and challenging younger girls.
Being a “big sis” to someone by nature involves sacrifice, a time commitment, and living a life of integrity. Even if we do not accept our call to be a spiritual “big sis,” there are girls who are watching us, and our behavior will have an impact on their hearts. Being a role model is not an option—it is a part of life. The key is what we do with this opportunity.
There are many ways we can mentor younger girls. I am going to touch on a few; hopefully, one will spark your imagination and begin your adventure in edifying your little sisters in Christ.
There is nothing more powerful in this world than prayer. Spending a few minutes each day lifting up your sisters before the throne of grace will have a big impact on their lives, because God answers prayer!
When I was younger my big sis was very faithful to pray for me. She also prayed with me, and both are a vital part of building a strong relationship with your lil’ sis. Give your girls a boost of hope, an encouraging word, and wrap them in your love by telling them you will pray for them—and then do it faithfully, both on your own and with the girl. My big sis, when I was in 8th grade, gave me Philippians 1:9 as her prayer for me, and every time I read that verse I am reminded that she prayed that for me. What that meant to me can not be overstated. It was powerful!! Ask your little sister each week what she would like prayer for, and then re-connect faithfully to see how the Lord is answering those petitions. It is good to have both short and long-term requests being faithfully made. Short-term needs could be strength for a specific situation she is facing, or safety in a trip, while long-term needs would be along the lines of Philippians 1:9 or growth in a certain character trait.
It is important to urge your girls to have a regular vibrant prayer life of their own. Encourage them toward this by your own example, and share with them how this has blessed you and caused you to grow in your Christian walk. Give them a book to read, or better yet, get one for yourself and read through it, marking thoughts and prayers in the margins and then give your girl a “personalized” book which she will treasure for a lifetime. I recommend Prayer, The Great Adventure, by David Jeremiah.
2. Bible Study
Younger girls love to spend time with you reading the Bible and working through a study book. This could be done one-on-one or you could lead a group. There are many excellent books available that could form the foundation for an exciting study and an opportunity for you to help the girls grow spiritually. I recommend Kay Arthur’s
Younger girls love to spend time with you reading the Bible and working through a study book. This could be done one-on-one or you could lead a group. There are many excellent books available that could form the foundation for an exciting study and an opportunity for you to help the girls grow spiritually. I recommend: Kay Arthur’s Precept by Precept Bible Studies, A Woman After God’s Own Heart and all other studies by Elizabeth George.
Whether or not your mentorship is long-distance, writing long heart-to-heart letters, cheery notes of encouragement, birthday, thank you, and just-thinking-of-you cards is a tactile way to show your affection and friendship to your girls. Store-bought cards can be sweet, but I like to make all my cards. The extra personal touch is a way I can show my girls that I love and care for them enough to spend the extra time making a beautiful card just for them. But don’t wait for time to do some elaborate work of art to write your girls and tell them how you love them. A hastily scribbled note that was written in a spare moment can also be very special to a little sister.
Any young girl would love to be able to visit and be a part of the “big girls’” group. Being included as a part of the conversation, valued as a mature person, and receiving friendship is so special to a girl! Include her in your group of friends for a time of fellowship, or have your friends bring their lil’ sisters together for an activity!
Plan special fun times with your girl so that you can enjoy just being together and adventuring through God’s creation. Taking the time and energy to “hang out” with your girl will make her feel so special, and the investment will reap a hundred-fold! Some ideas for ‘fun stuff’ are: hiking, bicycling, having a night to play board games, scrapbooking, doing each other’s hair, having a “sleep-over”, reading a book out loud, going shopping for birthday gifts for family and friends together, and wild things like a water-fight, capture-the-flag game, or snowball war.
6. Serving side-by-side
A sure-fire way to cement a friendship is to do hands-on ministry with your girls. This is another way you are living out what you preach, and growing stronger in Christ together. Teach a Sunday School class, lead a children’s 5-day club, do a sewing project for someone in need, clean someone’s home, or fix a meal for a new mother. The possibilities are endless!
7. Teaching a skill
Helping your girls learn to do something practical and useful can be fun as well as profitable. Does your lil sis want to learn to bake something, sew a special project, or make a craft? Take the time to teach her, then use it in ministry to others! Even if you do not consider yourself a good “teacher,” the act of setting aside yourself and sharing a skill with another is what matters to your girls.
8. Passing on the torch
There will come a time when your girls are old enough to take on a lil’ sis of their own—and put your good example into practice in their own lives. An example would be me, 18, discipling a twelve-year-old girl. In a year or two perhaps she would desire to begin a relationship with a six or seven-year-old and be her big sis. Age is not important. Every girl is someone else’s big sister, and has the privilege to give of herself.
Experience the adventure of being a “big sis” and pour your life into a special girl. It is a blessing that will last for eternity.
“They have not only shown me what godliness looks like (many have done that), but have significantly graced my life by obeying God’s special call to older women.”
–Elisabeth Elliot, on the mentors in her life
(in an interview featured in Between Women of God: The Gentle Art of Mentoring by Donna Otto)
Photography: JenniMarie Photography