Mentoring: Relationships Require Work

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Hi, All! We’re absolutely delighted to support our dear sister in Christ, Voices Against the Grain supporter and my Regent University School of Government classmate, Barbara Crymes West, in the release of her new book, Every Bump Counts: How Everyday Encounters & Relationships Can Make Eternal Impact. In her book, Barbara talks about how God is in the “everydayness” of our lives whether we realize it or not. When our hearts are aligned with His, we are a vital part of the Great Commission and showing others the love of Christ. We’ve ordered her book and look forward to reading it! We also have a copy we’d be happy to gift you (please provide your address where to mail it) if you’re interested. In the meantime, please read her article she’s shared with us on mentoring, a work near to my heart.

Thank you, love and blessings,

Nicole

 

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Barbara Crymes West, Relationships Expert, Voices Against the Grain Guest Writer

Relationships don’t create themselves. They take work and commitment. Investment is essential to have a healthy and effective relationship. Most require sacrifice to grow.

Relationships

Dallas Willard, in his work entitled, The Divine Conspiracy, offers the following:

How beautiful it is to see relationships in which asking and receiving are a joyful and loving way of life. Often we see those who cherish one another, each seriously or playfully trying to out give the other. That is how relationships should be (Williard, 234).

The key here is reciprocity. Asking and receiving, giving and taking. Of course, that seems elementary because it is so basic. But in the busyness of life, we sometimes forget that relationships don’t just happen. Relationships require commitment and investment.

Investment

Investing in others is truly valuable and necessary. We can’t expect a relationship to flourish and grow without it. We must invest time and concern while learning about the other person. In the process we will find common ground; sometimes more and sometimes less. All relationships are not the same.

Biblically speaking this is true as well. God commands us to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). All relationships will not yield the intensity or closeness that others do. Although He loved all of His disciples, the Bible refers to John as “the one Jesus loved” (John 13:23). The good news is that when we make a significant investment in others, really get to know their hearts and minds, we are rewarded with a relationship that will give us meaning.

In the community of Christ, our relationships are very important as we all strive to fulfill our commission in Christ. As we support each other, with our feet planted squarely in the foundation of Jesus and Him crucified, we are enabled and supported to fulfill our calling, both individually and as a part of the whole. Relationships enable us to be who God has called us to be. It begins with our relationship with Him. He makes the difference.

The Good Old Days

If we look at our population of children today, the picture is far different than it was when I was growing up. And no we didn’t drive covered wagons. I felt safe in my neighborhood. My friends and I could walk a mile to the community pool and swim all day and walk home again with a mere, “Mom, we’re going to the pool. See you this afternoon.” We had no cell phones and crime rarely touched our lives. When I look back on local tragedies that were inscribed in my mind and heart, the loss of a home to fire, in which a fellow student lived, comes to mind.

Another involved a friend being struck by a car while in the crosswalk. This one actually is bigger in my memory because this girl lost a leg and the community rallied to contribute to her family through a McTake Over, to benefit her expenses. The point is that as children, we were rarely confronted with the crimes we see today that has become all too commonplace in our children’s lives, communities, and neighborhoods. Drive-by shootings and school shootings did not have a place in the lives of families back then.

Today, we have an abundance of broken homes, absent parents, and footloose kids. Most often, through no fault of their own, our kids find themselves wandering through life without adequate direction, nurturing, or guidance. Can we make a difference in the children’s lives? And if so, how? With limited funding streams and resources stretched thin everywhere, we need to tackle these issues one child at a time.

Mentoring

Mentoring has become a widely accepted practice, although many of us don’t have mentors and more of us aren’t mentors, or at least in an official sense. However, I would offer that we all lead someone and therefore we are in effect, leaders or mentors. Neither can be accomplished without relationship, investment, and reciprocity.

Mentoring is one way in which each of us can play a part. Becoming active in an organization that focuses on mentoring is one way. Could we each give to such an organization in some way? I think so. There are myriad ways to be involved. In whichever way you choose to do your part, whether through a donation of time, talent, or financial gifts, there is a place for you. On a more personal level, we can each pray for these children that are “wandering.”

Take a moment to consider any young people that you encounter in your daily movement who could use a smile, a hug, a kind word, or paper for their binder. Build a relationship with someone that has always been around but is on the fringes of your life. Bring them closer and make them feel cared for.

 

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Sacrifice

We must invest. Sometimes investment is easy and sometimes not so easy. The investment will likely involve sacrifice on our parts but OH the rewards. We have to nurture and build relationships with those we care about. Simple caring and sharing; conversation, can make all the difference in who we are, and in who they will become.

God has taught me through such a simple concept as “making time,” that the principles are the same regardless of who we are pursuing a relationship with. We must invest our time and practice the reciprocity that creates those terrific bonds of the heart that God ordained. It’s all about relationships.

Please visit BarbaraCrymesWest.com to read more of Barbara’s blogs and to purchase her book about relationships, Every Bump Counts.

Barbara Crymes West holds a Master’s Degree from Regent University in Organizational Leadership, with a concentration in Not-for-Profit and Faith-Based Organizations Management. During her studies, she discovered that “relationships” are a common and recurring thread. With this theme in mind Barbara takes her readers on a journey that finds its foundation in Christ, and is applicable whether we are at home or on the job. Barbara resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Single Ladies: Meet Your Heavenly Husband

Catherine Fendig, author and inspirational speaker

Catherine Fendig, author and inspirational speaker

Ladies, are you on a “relationship turnstile,” of dating different men yet same results? After five failed marriages, and now married to her godly husband of 14 years, Catherine Lake Fendig found the keys to stop the destructive relationship cycle. One is: don’t live in the fantasy of what could be. From my Gospel Today article, “Way of the Well Woman: Author Catherine Fendig Stopped Her Unhealthy Relationship Turnstile When She Made God Her Heavenly Husband,” learn six tips to stop the turnstile and have the right relationship. We thank Catherine for her transparency that will bless many women. We also thank Dawn Bauer, founder of The Family Hope Line (a Voices Against the Grain ministry partner) for introducing us to Catherine. Both ladies shared their stories and helpful information during our September 10 radio interview

The Real About “The Real”

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Inauthentic:  defined as “not in fact what it is said to be; not authentic; lacking full reality.” This is the real about “The Real.”  “The Real”  is a new Fox/BET daytime talk show hosted by Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley, that aired on September 15, 2014 after a successful trial run in July 2013. The five female show hosts discuss their relationships with their husbands, significant other or the person their dating or sexing that week. They also talk recipes, fashions and everything in between. The makings of a good talk show, right? Seemingly so, as its Facebook page has received more than 126,000 likes.

Relationship advice delivered to studio audience and viewers contained these “jewels:”

  • “If you tap this twice, we going out now (meaning going steady).” – Loni Love
  • Sexy Skype: send “sexy” visuals of yourself to your date, partner
  • ‘Trust and Check’- women who say they “trust” their man but still “check up” on what he is doing, check who he’s been talking to
  •  “Have a condom ready just in case, in nightstand drawer.”- Loni Love (referring to a one-night stand)
Hosts of "The Real" daytime talk show

Hosts of “The Real” daytime talk show

But the “real” about “The Real” and shows like it, is this: We can’t expect anything different from a fallen world. People of this nature will always seek to satisfy fleshly desires by embracing vehicles and “solutions” that support their deviant activities, behaviors or desires. They embrace the counterfeit and the inauthentic as a perceived shortcut to the authentic, to the real. They choose not to pursue the authentic paths because the results of the counterfeit appear more promising with presumed quicker rewards. They’ve prostituted themselves by seeking happiness in things that will never fulfill them.

What’s the difference between being inauthentic and authentic? Inauthentic sees only the utilitarian purposes they can get out of someone (how will they benefit me?). Authentic sees how they can contribute to that person’s life, serve them perhaps also spiritually—even if it means some of their own desires are not met. It takes guts and selflessness to be authentic.

It is imperative that Christians discern the truth amidst the onslaught of the fake, the empty, the counterfeit and the fruitless. Authenticity is found in Jesus Christ—the real real.  In a world that embraces the counterfeit, Christians have been called to disperse salt, light and truth where there is confusion and darkness. This is the purpose of ministry: to boldly, compassionately and lovingly awake those with God’s truth who have comfortably fallen asleep with worldly norms.

This is no easy or popular task. For this reason, the laborers are few, but the work/harvest is plenty.

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” –Luke 10:2-3

The world will always celebrate its own (large fan following). Therefore, the message and purpose of Christ confuses today’s wisdom. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.“ (1 Corinthians 1:18-19, New International Version) 

For real talk: Listen to our discussion with campus pastor Bryan A. Sands as we explain  “Why Hookups Are No Hook Up.” 

-Nicole

About Nicole D. Hayes

Nicole D. Hayes is committed to serve as a vessel of compassion, instruction, love and truth for Jesus Christ. Born and raised in Topeka, Kan., she is a member of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington, D.C.  Drawn to know Christ in her early childhood and saved at the age of 12, Nicole is a student and applier of God’s Word. She is also a successful public relations professional operating in Washington, D.C., with more than eight years experience of coordinating and delivering strategic communications and media outreach support for nonprofits and small business owners. During her career she has placed several nonprofits and small business owners in national, local and regional media spaces. She operates with a personal and business mantra of “making an investment in people.” Among many things, Nicole is also a motivational speaker. She has been invited to deliver messages to business leaders to not be misguided by the world’s view of success, to direct young people navigating through the world’s challenges, and to remind those who may have lost their way that joyfully, “God Has Not Changed His Mind About You.” Nicole’s purpose in creating “Voices Against the Grain” is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amidst confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

From Boys to Men

1 Timothy 5:2 -“Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Blogger

Monogamy: 1 man and 1 woman. Love, as if we were staring into the eyes of our mothers. These are all words synonymous with respect. Strumpet (promiscuous woman)… Multiple women… Disregard, as if we were shopping for new clothes. These are words synonymous with immorality. Matter of fact, can you hear him, “for our great enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Thus, we are the gazelles unaware of our predator lurking in the brush. The lion is hungry and we are his meal. Is this not the same process with men? For we also lurk in the shadows seeking one whom we will conquer, forgetting the person we sullied in the conquest. Therefore, may we change the tide of objectification and seek to see women not as accessories, but as companions. It is only then will young boys grow into godly and caring men. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 24, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the pureHOPE advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

Chasing God Together

Good Day, People!  The following post by our guest blogger, Herbert Bowen, Jr., is 100% needed when it comes to relationships and marriage. In a world that is driven by “need it, want it now” it seems contradictory to wait on the spouse God desires to bring into your life when you could easily seek who you want. I can attest, waiting on God means sometimes He can really take his time to answer the desires of our heart. Sometimes we wonder if He will ever answer, but we must trust He is working things out for our good.  He will answer you! Herbert’s piece is confirmation that when God brings two people together for His purposes, the success is exponential.  Thank you Herbert for sharing today’s message as you congratulate your friends Justin and Brooke Lehmann for living this example.  -Nicole

Ecclesiastes 4:9- “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (New Living Translation)

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Herbert G. Bowen, VATG Guest Blogger

Here is a phrase from Justin that has never left my memory banks: “A relationship will only grow if you are chasing God together.” Wow, I was a boy who believed that love was for no one other than God, my family, and my spiritual family, until God brought Irina into my life. It was there I began to see two people chasing God together. It was there that success finally began to knock at the door. It was there where love was found and the warmth of reading God’s word kindled a fire between two kindred spirits that no one could extinguish. Chasing God requires patience and courage to wait and let God deliver the right companion, to avoid needless heartache. So, may we all be encouraged by Justin’s words, for they are sound and proven through his marriage to his beautiful wife and childhood sweetheart Mrs. Brooke Lehmann.  Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  At his current age of 23, Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the PureHope advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.

Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.