I was MIA last week. It happens every now and again. My humanness gets the best of me sometimes.
Today I am refreshed and excited to offer to you the heart of a beautiful young women so that you might glimpse just a portion of her heart. I have known Lana since she was two years old, clinging sweetly to her mother’s leg – her safe place. She has grown into such a beautiful Daughter of the King. She encourages me on many levels as I watch her walk out her love for God with actions that leave a fragrance of Christ Himself.
Since my earliest memories, I remember longing for Jesus. I don’t know why or how, but somehow I just knew that I was for Him and He was for me.
It is one thing to long for Jesus, and another thing entirely to live for Jesus. That was going to take more than just a feeling. I knew I needed help in this journey to really flesh out the desires in my heart to live and breathe for Him.
For much of my life that help has come from books. Authors, ranging from the first century to modern day, have become my in-house mentors, always there for me at a moment’s notice. That sweet gift that has helped me through many seasons, and is one I still utilize and cherish today; however in my reading I began to long for a face-to-face person to talk to about the specific issues and questions I was facing in life.
So, somewhere in my college years, I began praying for a mentor.
For months I prayed, “Send me someone in the flesh to talk to who can help me in my walk with You. Send me an Eli.” Later that same year, He not only sent me one, He sent me four! Each was sent to me for a different reason, and they all had different personalities and strengths, but they offered the same thing: their time, their heart and their treasures of wisdom picked up along the way. These women were further along in their walks than I; I knew they had water in their wells I could drink from. And drink I did!
In Proverbs 20:5 it says “Counsel in a man’s heart is deep water; but a man of understanding draws it out.”
The first step to drinking that water was to recognize others had treasure to offer, even those I least suspected. I’m not saying we should open our lives to just anybody, but we should pray and ask God to lead us to the mentors He chooses for us, then be ready for anything He brings! In my case, He brought a medley of characters, and their input in my life in that season was invaluable.
One woman walked me through how to receive deep inner healing of past hurts through Jesus, and led me into the crucial forgiveness of those I’d been hurt by. She taught me how to find Jesus in those places and memories that were most painful, where I had felt most abandoned. And to my glorious delight, I discovered He really was there in all of them. Always there.
Another woman talked and laughed with me weekly over lunch as we swapped stories of trials and triumphs. We didn’t go into deep healing by any means, but just her presence and listening ears were so beneficial as we talked about everyday life.
Through these spiritual mothers I was encouraged, counseled, comforted, corrected and greatly helped. The enemy wanted to isolate me, and at times I wanted to isolate myself, but these relationships protected me from that harmful temptation and kept me out of pits of despair. Their prayers and wisdom were birthing seeds of life in me that continue to bear fruit today.
Now, a decade later, I still have these types of relationships in my life. They are vital. I pray when I’m 90 I will still be drawing water from others wells and drinking deeply, and in the meantime I want to readily pour out the water from my own as the Lord brings the opportunity.
Lana Shaw is co-founder of homeless ministry Speak Up Magazine of Charlotte, NC, and serves in many capacities within the organization. With a degree in Print Media she has worked as a freelance writer, editor and researcher for organizations such as the American Association of Christian Counselors and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Speak Up combines her love of the written word with her passion for the disenfranchised. While not in the office, a coffee shop or on the street, Lana can be found at home with her husband Matt and two children, Isaac (age 6) and Isabel (age 3). Lana loves diversity, the stillness of very early morning (when she gets up for it), music, books, new food, bonfires, the outdoors, unabashed worship, and supporting local and organic efforts. She is especially excited about loving on the orphans, the trafficked, the outcast, and those who have lost hope… and she dreams of one day going to Africa. Follow her personal blog at http://www.stepsandbits.com or Speak Up at http://www.speakupmag.org.