"Mentoring is a discipleship relationship that focuses on equipping younger believers for the work of ministry so that they grow in maturity and unity in the faith with the ultmate goal of glorifying God."

Standing Beside You, Teaching What Is Good

My granddaughter’s ponytail falls in blonde ringlets, and her wardrobe manifests all the many moods of pink and frilly. Having been a girl of a very different stripe, and then having raised four rowdy sons, I am in quiet awe of her unmitigated girliness. Together, we have made jam, blown bubbles, and painted messy pictures. We have (painstakingly!) decorated cookies and read stacks of books, every single activity serving as a rung on the latticework of relationship, and so intentional.

I want to earn the right to speak truth into her life. More than the tried and true practice for creating the perfect pie crust, I want to walk beside her into adulthood, sharing what I have learned of biblical wisdom and encouraging her to live out the fruit of the Spirit.

This living alongside another with intentional truth-telling is the heart of mentoring, and in Growing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests, Melissa Kruger employs the vivid metaphor of one tree standing beside another, a young tree tethered to a much older tree–“one that is sturdy and strong, standing straight… to offer support and strength to prevent the younger tree from growing askew.” (LOC 120)

Strength the older tree has gained from withstanding years of wind and storms allows it to offer stability to the younger tree, just by standing straight and strong beside it. In the life of my family, with my readers, and with the women of my church, I want to practice this faithful “standing beside ministry,” offering the strength God has built into me through years of quiet growth.

The Gift of a Rope

Mentoring is a discipleship relationship that focuses on equipping younger believers for the work of ministry so that they grow in maturity and unity in the faith with the ultimate goal of glorifying God.”

Although her work provides principles along the way and makes a strong case for mentoring, Kruger’s main focus is to provide content for spiritual conversations. She extends the gift of a rope in her writing, a tethering tool and a practical guide for helping a godly mentor hit the high points on a roadmap for faithful living. While it is true that Christianity is more than a codified system of beliefs, it is also true that scriptural content is absolutely essential to living a life pleasing to God.

So often, young women become discouraged, feeling that older women are unwilling to make themselves available for a mentoring relationship. If lack of confidence is the reason for the reluctance, Growing Together takes the pressure off the mentor by providing a guide and by challenging readers to throw off the need to be “resident expert” and, instead, to be learners together. Best of all, each chapter focuses on one very specific area and then follows up with questions for discussion.

Mentoring is true spiritual work, and we are not in control of the results. To extend the metaphor of the tethered trees, “one tree cannot make another tree grow. It simply stands beside a younger tree and offers its strength for a season.” My own spiritual batteries were recharged in this initial reading of Kruger’s fine resource, and I look forward to tackling it again, sharing the content with others, and standing alongside them in their growth process.

If you have been thinking about mentoring someone, be encouraged by Paul’s admonition in Titus 2 to “teach what is good”–the importance of the Word of God, evangelism, prayer, contentment, stewardship, Christian service… and if your granddaughter is only three, how to accurately measure all that sugar for her favorite strawberry jam, because it’s all good.

Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase Growing Togethersimply click on the title, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

More Mentoring Resources

Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside by Sue Moore Donaldson. Too, her website is a continual fire hose of inspiration for mentoring and hospitality. Click here to read my review.

Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes–you can read my review here.

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45 thoughts on “Standing Beside You, Teaching What Is Good”

  1. Love this invitation to mentor our granddaughters, Michele. Walking beside my 5 even from a distance is giving life more purpose in this season and your words remind me to be intentional.

    The word legacy is coming into my mind as I write this. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for whispering with Michele this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Legacy is a HUGE word that I’ve spent a good amount of time with in the past few weeks. Without being overly self-conscious, I do believe that our attention to our impact is one of the most important parts of these years we’re walking right now, Linda. As always, it’s a gift to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will definitely be adding this book to my shelves! First, I too desire to be a positive, faith-filled, wise influence in my granddaughters’ lives. In addition, a mentee I’d met with for four years or so has moved away, and although we can stay in touch via FB, I’ve been praying for a new, local young friend with whom to build such a relationship. Living in isolation due to Covid does add challenge, but perhaps we could FaceTime until meeting together is safe. The question is: who? God hasn’t introduced me to her yet! Meanwhile, I can read and absorb this book in preparation–to be the kind of mentor the next mentee needs, and the kind of mentor-Nana my granddaughters need. Thank you so much, Michele. Such God-engineered timing, I think, for you to introduce this book to us–to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. COVID has certainly been a non-starter for relationship building. I’ve had a couple of planned mentoring situations fizzle in this season, and am trusting, like you, for the next step. I’m sure the book will be an encouragement to you, Nancy. I think I mentioned in my review how good it was to have my gospel batteries charged. We need the truth every day!

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  3. I was doing my best to be a mentor for my oldest granddaughter, and looking forward to being that for her younger sisters. Now that they’ve moved away, it’s become much more difficult. But I can’t help but think that the influence I’ve had will not fall by the wayside. We have an obligation to the younger generation to help them establish their Christian roots. Blessings, Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like a great book. I love the image of the two trees tethered together – it illustrates mentoring so well and is a great reminder of how important these relationships are.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have this on my TBR list. None of the ladies who influenced my spiritual growth and development did so in a formalized mentorship. It was more a matter of hospitality or speaking a word in season as we participated in ministries together, from nursery duty to putting up a bulletin board. Since that more official relationship seems to be what younger women want these days, I’ve wanted to read this to see recommended ways to go about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like a wonderful book. I don’t have a granddaughter…yet! But, I cannot wait to! Thanks for linking up!

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  7. Hi Michele,
    I found your link at the Friendship Friday blog hop. I love what you have shared here about earning “the right to speak truth into her life.” As a mom of five, there’s nothing I’d want more from our relationship. This is such a great reminder and helpful review about how to do that. Thank you!

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  8. “Standing beside” makes mentoring seem much more possible. I admit it can feel overwhelming to me to think about mentoring anyone other than my daughters. Maybe I should look into this book myself. Thanks for sharing about it, Michele!

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  9. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  10. Michele,
    I love this line…“one tree cannot make another tree grow. It simply stands beside a younger tree and offers its strength for a season.” How blessed you are to have the close proximity to your granddaughter. You are a good tree to which to be tethered!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  11. She’s a lovely little lady and I know you try to give her the best you can in every way. An important post that we all need 🙂

    It’s awesome to see you at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!! Thanks for linking up.

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  12. My grandmother and I were opposites in that she was a girly girl who bought me all skirts and dresses and I wore them to ride bikes, dig worms, and climb trees! LOL. Eventually as I grew we had more in common behaviorally but she always made the time for baking, crafting, and nurturing my interests.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your review with us Michele. I can only hope that my children will have good mentors in their lives, but my husband and I always try to do our very best in that respect. If they are lucky enough to have others then I consider that a great gift #globalblogging

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    1. Yes, it’s a great gift to have other adults in our children’s lives who are saying the same thing to them that we are saying. Sometimes they hear it more helpfully from a non-parental voice…

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  14. Love the analogy of the tree and the storms it has weathered. I hope tot instruct and inspire my children but also having the wisdom to let them learn from their mistakes. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

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