This year’s Summer Sampler is about “Women Who Have Changed Our Lives,” the women who have inspired or encouraged us in our spiritual walk. These are the unsung heroes of the faith, the Sunday School teachers and neighbors, and friends who were instrumental in our spiritual growth. No matter who we are or where we come from, God can use us to make a difference for eternity. And he calls all of us! We’re hoping that these stories will inspire and encourage you that you, too, can make a difference in the spiritual life of another woman.
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Sharing and Seeing by the Spirit
By Kimberley Minch
I feel very blessed to have many women in my life who have walked alongside me in my faith throughout the years. Women like my mom, my worship team “aunties,” Sunday school teachers, mentors in college, and mentors in my current ministry organization (informally or formally) have encouraged me and loved me in highs and lows. In this current season, I am especially thankful for Sam.
I first met Sam in 2016 when I attended a program run by 100 Fold Studio, an organization Sam and her husband John founded (an organization I am now serving with). I entered the program hoping for community and leaders who could speak into my faith, calling, and life, though I was not entirely sure what to expect. On one of the first days, John and Sam shared their story of founding the organization, including the highs, lows, fears, faith, house fires, and cross-country moves. Sam is a bold, hospitable, Southern woman who is equal parts fun and very direct. I was struck by her vulnerability (and John’s) as a leader, sharing all these aspects of her story. It was not just a story tied up in a bow but a continuing thread of faithfulness because her faith enabled her to be faithful to God. Many parts of their story connected to my own as I considered joining this ministry, and it was so comforting to know that someone had gone before me. The following week as I shared my testimony in small groups, I had the courage to be vulnerable partly because Sam had been vulnerable. One value that we often talk about in our program is “Brave Space.” There is a lot of discussion about “safe spaces” in our culture today. While we would love to create a space that people feel safe in, that is not always possible or an immediate reality. Instead, we hope to create spaces that allow people to be brave, embracing awkward moments and reaching out to the community to share before we feel entirely comfortable. Leaders starting with vulnerability create that space, and Sam has continued to lead in vulnerability.
Sam’s and my mentorship relationship isn’t necessarily formal (I have an assigned mentor in the ministry that I am also so thankful for!), but it is intentional. Sam takes the time to notice how I am and check in. Because she pays attention, she often does this just at the right time when I need someone to talk to. Whether quick or long, planned or impromptu, it is encouraging and comforting. We’ve spent lunches, walks, and breaks in the office kitchen talking about prayer, spiritual gifts, calling, family, relationships, career, and almost everything in between. I have definitely shed tears in her office on more than one occasion! I think that intentionality in our relationships is a form of hospitality. While we often think of hospitality as welcoming people into our homes with a delicious meal, it is just as much welcoming people into our lives and holding space to pay attention to them, listen to them, and pray for them.
She is led by the Spirit
While Sam is gifted in mentoring, her greatest strength is that she relies on God. It is not out of her own power or knowledge but based on godly wisdom and experiences of God working in her life. She takes time to pray and wait on the Lord, and I can trust that she will point me back to Christ in her advice. As we’ve worked together over the past six years, Sam has been so willing to share her ups, downs, triumphs, mistakes, and all that God has worked in her through it, and is so glad to listen to me, comfort me and challenge me. Her willingness to be open to God’s work in her life allows her to speak His truth into mine.
These three qualities are not inaccessible. Each of us has a story to share. Each of us can ask someone how they are and invite them into our lives. If we are in Christ, each of us has access to godly wisdom and the Counselor that is the Holy Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Paul writes that God’s work in us is supposed to overflow to others. He comforts us in our struggles and gives us His strength in our weaknesses, and we are meant to share this in our community. Mentorship is not about everything we can bring to the table on our own. Ultimately, the best thing we can bring to mentoring those around us is to be available for God to work in us and, through us, in others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Kimberley Minch is the Programs Coordinator for 100 Fold Studio, an architecture ministry based in Lakeside, MT. While she calls Montana home now, Kimberley grew up in Nashua, NH, and went to school at Northeastern University in Boston. She is passionate about worship and discipleship, especially for college students. In between traveling for work and visiting family, you can find her searching for the perfect color swatch and feeding homemade cookies to whoever will eat them.
Kimberley is a member of by design’s WeConnect Leadership Team. Read more about WeConnect!