Some of my very favorite people in ministry are parents I know. They are my friends and they are on “Team Amy-Jo”. They are people that I can count on to pray for me, with me, and sometimes they pray without me even knowing. These parents allow me to come alongside of them and co-minister. It’s a special bond. I get the unique vantage point of watching them love on their daughters through the teenage years, and I get to encourage both the daughter and parent as those times can sometimes be trying. I am thankful for the partnership we have. I am grateful for the friendship we have. I say this because I realized this is something I may take for granted, and something I haven’t truly spent a great deal of time talking about here. I must say that I first learned this possible partnership from when I was a teen myself. My amazing mother took the time to allow some women to come into our lives to walk alongside of us. They are my mother’s friends, and they are my mentors. Even as some moved to places like Africa or Mississippi, they remained in my life as my girl’s minister’s. Even to this day, these women hold a special place in our family. My husband affectionately calls them my Obi-wan-kenobi and my Yoda. I love you both Bonita and Robin.
Here’s what I’ve learned from them about partnering with parents to minister to girls:
1. Reinforce the values that the Godly parent is trying to encourage within the daughter. I never received mixed messages from my mentors and my mom. They were on the same page. It made such a difference to hear something my mom had said to me, show up naturally in conversation with my mentor. I knew they were on the same page.
2. It’s okay to hang out together with the mom and daughter. Sometimes as a girls minister we may shy away from hanging out with students and their parents. However, if you can, try to schedule some girl time with both the daughter and the mom. It can be a healthy time of modeling a Christian friendship with the daughter. I loved hanging out with my mom and my mentors. It wasn’t often, but we would sometimes invite them over for lunch or dinner after a church event.
3. Be present, not possessive. The women that mentored me listened to what was going on in our family. They didn’t overstep their bounds and so my mother was never threatened by their presence in my life. I think that came from their ability to listen and be present without being possessive. Now don’t get me wrong, I knew I was their “girl” and I am shaped today because of their influence in my life, but they did not try to replace my mother. Instead, they worked alongside of her in a harmonious way that allowed me to see different role models during my formative years.
4. Call out the good things you see God doing in both the daughter and the mom. These women have been amazing at not only encouraging me and calling out the good things they see God doing in me, but also doing the same with my mom. I know they love us both. It was important for me especially because I had a difficult relationship with my father who didn’t really know how to use his words to encourage. To hear my mentors talk to my mom about what they saw in me was so encouraging. And to hear them say things about my mother only reinforced the value of my mom in my eyes.
There is so much more I’ve learned from the women who walked alongside of my mom and I, but these were the things that popped into my head after a long day. I hope you get to be a Robin or Bonita to a girl and her mom. It’s a forever friendship you won’t regret making.Tweet