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Availability in Adversity: The Art of Mentoring Youth

mentoring born in adversity

R u t h 1 : 1 1

But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?”

You probably already know that mentoring relationships develop in both intentional and unintentional ways. However, most of us think about mentoring once we reach some imaginary point where we believe that we possess enough time, energy, experience, and resources. We create this imaginary point because we are taught that we can’t care or lead others if we are not “healthy.” That is good advice, but too often we define healthy as possessing an abundance of things such as time, energy, experience, and resources.

The book of Ruth clearly sets out Naomi’s situation as moving from pleasant (Naomi) to bitter (Mara). With the death of all the men in her household, Naomi is left defenseless (both legally and physically) and poor. It is in the midst of this bitter situation that Ruth gives her life and identity over to Naomi, the people of Israel, and the God of Israel.

Might we be missing mentoring relationships in the midst of difficult situations? Naomi re-narrates for us what the requirements of “healthy” are for followers of God. Healthy may mean that we don’t possess anything but hope in God. With a hope that endures through seemingly hopeless situations, we may be able to accept the commitment of a person who wants to journey with us.

Mentoring relationships develop at unexpected times and situations. Are you looking for them in the midst of adversity?

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Paul Sheneman is an author, speaker and youth pastor. He serves with the Macedonia Methodist Church in Ohio. He drinks way too much coffee for his own good. His main interest is exploring Christian formation. You can follow most of his ramblings on his blog at www.discipleshipremix.com or on Twitter @PaulSheneman.