In college, I longed for a mentor. I listened to my friends discuss their relationships with their mentors. They were supportive, they listened, they taught them about the Bible, they gave them advice, and they invited them on coffee dates. I watched them walk together on campus or sit together in the local coffee shops. My heart would stretch out of my chest towards them, aching for what they had.
But that wasn’t what God provided. Rather, a few years later, God plunked me in a rural community next to a parsonage where I became a “mommy’s helper.”
When my pastor’s wife delivered her twins, they hired me to help her around the home. I walked through snow and sunshine each morning for almost a year to do simple tasks. This meant cleaning floors, folding laundry, burping babies, and chopping vegetables. What I learned in this ordinary setting could never be replaced with coffee dates and Bible studies. I learned with my hands and feet what it looked like to be a mother, wife, and home-keeper to the glory of God.
Discipleship doesn’t only take place in quiet rooms with books, Bibles, and coffee. It also takes place in the bustling homes of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Why Discipleship Can Also Be in the Home
Many of us know the beloved discipleship passage from Titus 2:3–5:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
When we think of this passage, our minds often go to more formal teaching settings. While formal teaching has its time and place, we aren’t simply minds that capture information. We’re whole beings, and our theology needs to be seen with our eyes and enacted with our hands.
What if we learned how to be workers of our homes by watching older women care for their homes? What if we learned to be kind by listening to the way an older woman speaks to her friends and family?
I read about how to train a child in the faith, but I learned how by sitting in on family devotions.
I knew I was somehow supposed to care for my home and my new baby, but my pastor’s wife showed me how to do both. She also showed me how to have grace when the floors didn’t get swept too.
I had the opportunity to pick the mind of a seasoned mom and wife while doing dishes next to her.
While she taught me how to fold a fitted sheet, she also taught me how to patiently bear with your children.
I was told the gospel should permeate my home, but I had the privilege of walking through a home where it already did.
This is what at-home discipleship can look like.
To the Younger Woman
Maybe like me, you long for an intentional mentor like I first described. Someone who will commit to weekly meetings, studies, and plans. But everyone is busy. Many women would love to mentor a younger woman, but they’re already committed to their first God-given ministries: their husband, children, aging parents, and job. So instead of drawing them away from those ministries, seek to come alongside them.
Find an older woman you can spend time with. Don’t invite yourself over for a meal where she serves you—come to serve her as well. Offer help with gardening. Feed her farm animals. Chop some vegetables. Play with her kids. Sweep her floors. Love her by offering the work of your hands.
If there’s a skill she has that you’d like to learn, ask if she can teach you as you help her. If you’re interested in homeschooling, ask a homeschooling mom if you can spend the day with her and watch how she teaches her children. Or if you want to be a better gardener, bring a shovel and gloves and ask if you can work with her. Ask questions, even the ones you’re afraid sound too simple. Be willing to be a humble learner. In this way, you may find the mentor you always dreamed of.
To the Older Woman
When I got married and had my own children, that longing for a mentor became a longing to mentor other young women. Being a learner, I’m also a teacher. Just as I wanted intentional teaching from an older woman, I wanted to be a teacher for a younger woman. But whenever I tried to force myself into that position, it always fell limp like wilted leaves.
In his wise (and humorous) sovereignty, God gave me twins. Now I’m the busy mom who needs a mommy’s helper. By God’s kindness, I’m passing along the same things my pastor’s wife once did for me.
To my fellow older woman: Don’t be ashamed that you’re busy tending to your first ministries (your family, home, and job). This is what God has set in place for you. And you can disciple younger women while tending those ministries. Invite a younger woman into your home. If you need help caring for your children and your home, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If the housework or gardening is becoming too much for your body to endure, find a younger woman to come alongside you.
This isn’t a way to get free childcare and cleaning services—it’s about discipleship. It’s about serving the church with your experience and wisdom. In this way, you can disciple the next generation and show them what it looks like to walk faithfully in the grit of daily life.
The Two In Tandem
This isn’t a call to throw away all your books, delete your podcasts, and forget about group Bible studies. Those are gifts to the church and tools for discipleship. Let’s use them in tandem with at-home discipleship—the kind of discipleship that isn’t neatly outlined or planned and flows from watching another believer live in light of what God has commanded and promised. This is the kind of discipleship that breaks the burdens of preparing lessons and reading book chapters. It’s the kind of discipleship that gets our hands dirty. It’s simply living life together—as we are called to do.
Meet the Author:
Lara d'Entremont is a wife and mother to three. She desires to stir women to love God with their minds and hearts by equipping them with practical theology. You can find more of her writing at https://laradentremont.com.