As I’m working through filling up my online class of Gospel Mentoring where we are talking about building relationships to impact and encourage younger women using the time we have now, I get a lot of questions about the ideal relationship. Truly, I want to encourage people to be intentional in fostering these relationships.
However, sometimes God plops a relationship in our lap that steps outside the ideal. Well, steps outside our ideal. God thinks it’s right, so it must be. It’s important as we foster an idea of what we are trying to do, that we don’t box ourselves into laws that God never gave us.
One ideal that God has crashed in on my is mentoring a woman who doesn’t live nearby. This has happened to me on both ends. God gave me a mentor who lives on the other side of the country. She’s perfect, other than the fact that we are in different time zones and get to see each other every 5 years or so…maybe.
Then God gave me a younger woman who needed my help who lived over 1,000 miles away. As she reached out to me, I realized that I was the clear choice to help her. But she was so far away! How on earth could I help her from such a distance?
We live in an age where there are so many things we can do to close the gap of distance in mentoring relationships. While it’s not ideal, God does not always live in ideal. He likes to surprise us, and show us the impossible.
Here are some great ways to bless a younger woman who does not live near you, that have proven effective in my own long-distance relationships.
Oh, Voxer, how I love thee. This is an app for your phone for people who have trouble talking on the phone for whatever reason. For me, I get interrupted every 30 seconds. I am available to talk around 11pm and night, and that’s a weird time to call people. Finding a time that works in all timezones is tricky. Voxer is an app where you leave voice messages, pictures, or texts. It’s known for the voice feature. When you are connected up on Voxer, you can leave a message for someone. When they are ready, they can leave a message back. It has nifty features like being able to listen to the messages at 1x, 2x, 3x, or 4x speed. So if you have a lot of messages to return, and someone talks slowly, you can fit it into your schedule better. It’s like a walkie-talkie, voicemail, ongoing conversation. Seriously, it makes keeping up with relationships so much more doable for me.
2.) Calendar reminders.
This is something else I set up on my phone, or in my bullet journal/planner. Since I can’t meet regularly with my mentor or another woman, I will write it down to check in with her via text or Voxer every 2 weeks. I sometimes can’t stay on top of it, but even if I do it 1/3 of the time it’s written down, it’s better than nothing. It let’s her know she’s not forgotten. Simply checking in sends a huge message that they are not alone, and they aren’t forgotten. Satan tries to get Christians alone, so he can attack. Simply keeping them present to the promise that they are not alone, in and of itself is fighting for them.
3) Text her Bible verses.
When you come across a verse that really applies to what she is going through, just text it over, even if you’re in the middle of something. Plan this out, or send them at random. Both are great and life-giving. It doesn’t demand a response. It doesn’t require any conversation. It just let’s her know that you are thinking of her, and God is with her.
(This is a GIF my mentor sends me often. Ha!)
4) Care packages.
The younger woman I mentor from afar sent ME a care package as I was starting to promote my mentoring course. I’m telling you, they bless me way more than I bless them, and that still astounds me. It wasn’t my intention to be blessed so much. She sent some treats, and a note that made me cry, and things she thought I could use. Everyone loves mail, and it sometimes feels superfluous to send something by mail to someone who lives nearby. But when you send something to someone else when they are going through something, it’s like Christmas x10. The impact is huge.
5) Plan a weekend together.
Plan a girl’s weekend, in a city near one of you. Get an AirBNB and make some plans for a retreat. Planning is half the fun, so ask the younger woman you love what she would like to do. Does she just want a relaxing time to go shopping together? Do you need a weekend prayer vigil? Does she need a marriage survival intensive? Could you go to a conference together? This is also something that women who live from a distance are more likely to do together. It gives you a jumping off point for the rest of the year to plan out encouragement ideas, and find out what’s really going on without all of life’s distractions.
Do not underestimate the impact of intentionally pursuing someone can have on someone’s heart. It may just be her lifeline.
Want more information on mentoring? My online course Gospel Mentoring has open enrollment until May 14th. Grab your spot while you still can! Videos are yours to watch on your own time as you can fit them in your schedule. We have a Facebook group for you to ask questions and reach out with others taking the course. If you want, even grab a friend from church, (or who lives far away) and see if you want to do it together.