May: College Graduation
June: Get Married
July: Start Career
This was our oldest child’s experience over the past few months! My husband, younger children, and I celebrated each of these big, adult milestones with him in rapid-fire succession. In the days since I have had some time and space to reflect and realize that I still haven’t “arrived” as a parent and still have much to learn. Still, by God’s grace, I have accumulated many lessons along the journey, due in large part to the women and men that God has sent to personally guide and teach me.
The book of Proverbs urges us repeatedly to seek wise counsel and warns us not to reject wisdom. In today’s world, most people seek knowledge and advice from the internet, but the writers of Proverbs certainly did not have Google in mind. Much of the wisdom we have available to us resides right within the body of believers in our local church and other Christian circles. The most applicable and useful wisdom I have gained, affirmed by God’s word and the Holy Spirit, has come from within the body of Christ including my own family, friends, pastors, church leaders, and many others.
About ten years ago I met Marlene through a homeschooling co-op that our family joined. Marlene and I were not very close friends but we served our community together. I observed over time that she was always striving for excellence in her calling as a wife and mom. She was wise, approachable, and kind. She spoke of the Lord and testified of His works often. We walked the homeschooling road together for a number of years, and when our oldest was preparing for college, I needed very specific direction in my parenting journey. When I approached her, Marlene was very welcoming, open, and willing to listen and pour wisdom into me that sustained me through the college years of parenthood and to this day. I am forever thankful to God for providing her personal, direct guidance in His perfect timing. I am also thankful that He softened my heart to receive her wisdom, and I trust that He will guide me to wise counselors and mentors in future chapters of my life.
Marlene was certainly enabled by God Himself, but also by her own past experiences and accumulated lessons. I’m so glad she was willing to share what she had learned through her successes, failures, and trials. Because of Marlene and others like her, I have come to know that my experiences are not just about me; whether good, bad, or ugly, what I live and learn can be transformed into wisdom that is useful for others around me as well.
Perhaps one of the most important concepts I have learned from wise counselors is not what they directly taught me, but what they modeled:
In their approachability, they have taught me to be approachable.
In their testimony, they have taught that telling of God’s good work points others to Him.
In their pointing me to Scripture and prayer, they have taught that seeking God first is the key to finding ultimate wisdom.
In their willingness to listen to my concerns and questions, they have taught me to listen.
In providing specific guidance, they have taught me to carefully and specifically counsel those who God sends to me for such things.
Reflecting on my own experiences leads me to remember the relationship between the apostle Paul and Timothy. They were brought together for a specific purpose yet both had previous and ongoing mentors who had poured spiritually into them. Each of them remained both teachable and willing to teach. As a result of being disciples and discipling others, God’s kingdom grows and multiplies to this day.
Who has poured into you, that you may pour into others for the sake of spiritual growth and the growth of God’s kingdom through Christ? Are you teachable?
Who are you pouring into? Are you willing to teach those who seek wisdom?
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is victory.”