I am always a little nervous every other Sunday leading up to my scheduled meets with Mary. Will I make a difference today? Will it even matter if I show up? What, if anything, can I really teach her about life?

As I drive down the freeway, I ask God to guide me and help me to listen more than talk; the Sundays I get to meet with Mary, the sun is always shining-it’s like God’s way of showing me early on that he hears my ask for help.

Last week I especially enjoyed our time together during our regular excursion to Trader Joe’s. Mary’s roommate, Marsha joined us this time because they were “really low on food!” Marsha had moved in during the summer, and now the two roommates seemed much more comfortable with each other.

I was amused with the two sisters (who are both the same ages as my daughters), discussing what they were going to eat for dinner – it was going to be “Mac ‘n cheese…from scratch!“…meaning the box. Both totally agreed also on making banana bread again, so I grabbed 2 bananas at 19 cents each. Down in the pasta aisle, I convince them to buy the pound of rotini for a dollar instead of the mac and cheese box.

“Homemade macaroni and cheese, so easy!” I say. “Half stick of butter, lots of grated cheddar cheese, and whole milk!” The girls seemed excited.

On the way back to their apartment, I was surprised when Marlene asked me if I would help them research and shop for a used car at Carmax. They had a budget, and Mary knew what colors she did not want…no white and no red.

I was caught off guard because I think it was the first time Marlene addressed me by name, thoughtfully asking, “Josie, can you help us figure out what type of car to buy?” It wasn’t just a question or a request. What I heard was an invitation into her life. I felt permission to give her my advice. She wanted and trusted my advice. It was so cool, and so humbling.

It wasn’t just a question or a request. What I heard was an invitation into her life.

Mentoring is not just about making budget goals and a market list. And, It’s not always about achieving something. It’s about caring, and sharing bits of yourself-and letting the relationship grow on its own.

People don’t care what you know until they know that you care!

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