by Kristen Hallinan
As I sat there bawling my eyes out, Shelly, my mentor of seven years squeezed my hands and nodded with compassion. I had spent the past year working after years of staying at home and the balancing act wasn’t going well. I was blaming every little nuance on my absence and desperately needed her wisdom to bring me back to truth. Her words to me that day were comforting and perspective shifting.
Perspective shifting is how I would define the relationship Shelly and I have had. While always filled with wisdom, her words do not always beckon comfort. Sometimes they make me shift in my seat and my heart beat a little faster as I am confronted with my sin or lack of clarity. It often takes me a week or two to digest the sticky, ugly truth – but the mother and wife I am today is a direct result of her commitment to shepherding me. Shelly has challenged me to be a braver mom, she’s called me out on a lack of intentionality in my marriage, and she’s encouraged me to let go of friendship wounds I was inclined to hang on to.
Time with Shelly has been priceless since day one. She listens well and loves even stronger. She knows my heart, my history, and my hopes. She has walked further down the road of mothering and marriage, and even more valuable than the time she has spent listening is the time she has spent in prayer over me. My faith has grown because of Shelly, both in learning from her life and from watching her prayers over me answered in powerful ways.
When it comes to mentoring, I often hear seasoned women say, “Younger women don’t need us,” or “We don’t want to intrude on their lives.” But respectfully, I challenge that and say that if you have walked the road of marriage, mothering, career, spirituality, etc., for any length of time, you are of so much value to younger women. You have experienced, learned, hurt, grown, and prospered and the resulting wisdom is desperately needed by the generation that walks behind you. Technology, culture, industry standards, and parenting practices all change, but truth never will. Young mothers of today’s generation are living the most connected yet lonely lives yet. The lost art of genuine, biblical hospitality and friendship are vital to loving well. Women only learn how to love with their whole hearts when they are loved well.
Will you teach a woman in your life the truth, goodness, and beauty that only love knows?
Kristen is wife and best friend to her hubby of 12 years, Shawn, and mom to four joy filled, strong willed children, ages 11,9,6, and 1. Kristen is passionate about guiding women towards community at KristenHallinan.com with vulnerable conversation, honest storytelling, and practiced wisdom. After enjoying the community of women in MOPS herself for 9 years, she worked as Director of Development for MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers), (a dream God placed on her heart years before it would come true). Kristen is newly staying at home again with her baby Jack, writing and speaking, and leaning into the beauty that is the chaos of a very full home. Kristen has a deep love for the beach, reading historical fiction, tea of any sort, and laughing until she cries.
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