When another woman speaks encouragement into our hearts, the course of our lives can be changed forever. And when we believe in someone else, God uses us to build confidence and security in a heart that may have otherwise been paralyzed by doubt and insecurity forever.
I'll never forget my friend Janet thanking me for words I’d penned from my heart to hers in a note. To me it was only a thank you note, but it was more than that to her. God used her to encourage me to write more than notes. Her prayers and confidence in me inspired this insecure young mom to write a Bible study.
God used that tiny Bible study, written over 10 years ago to birth my writing ministry. Then I taught the Bible study at church. Months later, my WM director, Mary Ann Ruff, sent me to a writer's training class and secretly signed me up for a speaking/writing development group because she believed in me. She encouraged and helped equip me to walk towards what I’d been running from for 10 years.
Then my friend Lysa asked me to speak in her place at a MOPs group. I'd never spoken outside the small Bible study at my church, and had no plans to do so. But God did, and He used a woman who believed in me more than I believed in myself to help me take the first step.
Each of these women did more than influence my ministry; they shared their lives and mentored me in every area of mine – as a woman, wife and mom.
The same thing happened between Jill and Leann. I learned about their story when I spoke at their Rise & Shine women's conference in Iowa a year ago this weekend. Saturday they’re holding their 2nd annual conference. Today I’m praying for them and giving away a copy of a book they wrote together.
Jill Beren met Leanne Anderson when she was coaching Jr. High basketball team. Leanne's 13-year-old daughter, Shelby, was on her team. When Shelby was in high school she got injured, and Jill reached out to her with encouragement, prayers and notes just when Shelby needed them.
One day Leanne sent a letter thanking Jill for the difference she was making in her daughter's life. She described the qualities of a great coach she saw in Jill and called her “bright light” that shined in many lives, including theirs.
Leanne didn't know that months later Jill would go home one night to an empty apartment plagued with doubt about her purpose in life. Battling clinical depression and living under the weight of feeling worthless, she contemplated suicide. As Jill pondered her fate, she opened her journal and a note fell to the floor. When Jill opened it, she read Leanne’s words again.
God used Leann's words to show Jill she did have a purpose and that life was worth living. Now, that’s just the beginning of their story. You can read the rest in their book Letters from Leanne: The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship. Today, I want to give them a chance to share more with us about the book.
Tell us a little about the book: Letters from Leanne helps women see what a Titus 2 relationship looks like today. The book is the story of our friendship over the last ten years and how God has worked through it in wonderful ways. We share the joys and trials we have encountered on our walk of faith, but ultimately how we saw God’s hand in every situation.
Jill, why did you write this book? My initial intent was to thank Leanne. I’d been blessed by her perspective as a mom, her acceptance as a friend, her guidance as an older woman and especially the love she poured out as a Christian. But it isn’t just a thank you to Leanne; it’s a thank you to God. Spiritual mentoring has been and still is a gift in my life. I pray by reading the story of our friendship, readers will be encouraged to build similar relationships in their lives.
What do you hope readers will gain? We pray women will be encouraged in their faith and inspired to find or be a mentor. We share how mentoring is not about having all the answers, but simply sharing your life with someone following in your steps. It’s about spiritual mentoring, but ultimately about our relationship with Christ. We want readers to see the power God offers when we surrender to His plans and follow His ways.
What unique elements are part of your book? Our book is unique in that we give you a look at a specific spiritual mother-daughter relationship and take you on the journey of how our friendship grew. The other unique factor is that for the most part, the story is told from the younger women’s viewpoint, which is beneficial for all women to understand.
We have also included questions at the end of each chapter to help women apply what we share to their personal lives. Rather than simply reading a story of two friends, you will be encouraged to slow down and take a look at your own life and find lessons in the letters.
But before you go, I'm giving a copy away, To enter to win, tell me about the role spiritual friendships and mentoring have or haven't played in shaping your life. If you've never had one, I'd love to pray for you. Just leave a comment (by clicking the word "comments" below), and be entered to win your own copy of Letters from Leanne. Please include an email address so I can reach you if you win. Winner will be announced next Friday! ~ Happy weekend friends!