ep. 09 | Mentoring with Susie Davis
On this episode of the Journeywomen podcast I had the privilege of chatting with Susie Davis. Susie is an author, encourager and mentor. Every day, she wakes up and writes out things in her moleskin journals. And every day, she ends up somewhere on social media with words hoping to encourage us to love God more. The other thing that she can’t seem to escape is a God-given desire to reach out to the young women around her. She calls them her ‘dear daughters,’ which is also the name of her incredibly helpful podcast. Before our interview I didn’t personally know Susie, but she has mentored me from afar via her podcast for about a year. I’ve had some incredible chats with other mentors and friends on the show, but this one tops the chart as my favorite conversation to date!
The phrase, “The difference between reality and expectation is misery,” that Susie shared has served me well since we recorded this show. I hope you guys have lots of other truth nuggets to pocket after listening to our conversation! As mentioned, you can find out how to connect with Susie at the links below. Be sure to drop by and let her know what you learned from listening to her responses to the questions below.
- Susie, for those who aren’t familiar with your writing, Dear Daughters or Austin Christian Fellowship can you explain a little bit about who you are and what you do?
- You’ve had such an influence on my life from afar. This is something that I’ve been wrestling through/processing as someone who is also putting themselves out there online. Can mentoring happen over the Internet? What are the potential pitfalls of seeking mentorship online or at a distance? What is the value in doing life-on-life relationships with other women in the body of Christ?
- I want to speak about this as respectfully as possible, but I feel like I can see a crisis in our churches of younger women desiring to be discipled by older women, but not being able to really find older women who are willing to, or maybe it’s not an issue of willingness, but more-so a fear of inadequacy, to spiritually invest in the lives of younger women. Can you speak to those of us who are younger and help us know how to encourage older women that they have so much to offer? And can you speak to the older woman who might desire to pour out, but doesn’t know where to start?
- What are the most important elements of mentoring?
- For someone who hasn't ever been discipled or made disciples, how would you suggest they begin learning/developing those tools?
- Do you have any go-to lessons that you walk through with your disciples? If so, what are they?
- I loved the podcast you recorded with your daughter about healthy boundaries. Can we go there? I’d love to hear about how you intentionally set boundaries with your daughters in your relationships, especially when they left for college and were married? How did the dynamics of your relationship change? And your role as their primary source of discipleship?
- On the flip side, what kind of boundaries have you had to set personally as a disciple-maker? (In regard to time, relational energy, etc.)
- How do you move forward, not paralyzed in fear, when you have failed a disciple?
- How has discipleship changed you personally (both in being a mentor and in being mentored)?
Three Questions I ask Every Guest
1. What 3 resources would you recommend for someone wanting to develop as a disciple or as a mentor? (This could be a recommended experience, book, podcast, conference, behavior, etc)
2. What are 3 of your simple joys?
3. Who has had the biggest influence on your own journey with Jesus?
Note Worthy Quotes
“The difference between reality and expectation is misery.”
“In-between reality and expectation is just misery. If we have the expectation that our lives will always be beautiful, pleasant, and positive, we will be miserable. We need to live in reality. Reality is that there are beautiful things in your life right now. And there are also equally difficult things in your life right now. And that is your one, beautiful life with Jesus.”
“We live in the lopsided favor of God. As his dear daughter, it is my responsibility and my joy to reflect on those things in my life. That’s really where I try to live, on the Good News side of things. Does that mean that I don’t have dark days? No. Will you hear about that in different places like my church, small group, or around my table? You’ll hear about the more intimate details of my life in those spaces more than in my blog post or on my Instagram feed. That makes sense, because you’re taking a step towards intimacy."
“The best tool for discipleship that I’ve found is a question.”
“Discipleship, mentorship, whatever you want to call it, is just meeting with someone and asking a question, then listening with curiosity and as much empathy and creativity as you can muster. Genuinely listen to another person and then ask another question. Let the mentee discover what God is saying in their life. It’s not so much me speaking into another person, but me asking questions and letting them see where they are with him.”
Examples of questions Susie uses in discipleship:’
“What’s your God story?”
“What was your first impression of God?”
“What was the last time you felt like you heard from God?”
“Asking questions is like a dance. If the music is too fast, slow it down. If it’s too slow, get something a little more upbeat on.”
Susie’s elements of discipleship: question asking, script-less listening, and as the leader, making sure that the conversation doesn’t stall out in a lie or in a place of desolation.
“Will (Susie’s husband) always tells me that you have to leave 5-10% open for the Holy Spirit. I can’t plan notes for the entire time I’m speaking. I need to plan less and trust that the Holy Spirit will speak to me and that he’ll speak what needs to be spoken. I’m not center stage! God is. When God is center stage we’ve got to improv. We may have an idea of the way a night is going to go and the script we’ll use, but the truth is that it’s like turning the lights on on stage, inviting the actors to come on, and then watching the dialogue change, knowing that God is the director the entire time. Trust that he is directing the conversation through you and through the way someone answers.”
For someone who wants to be discipled: “Look where you live. This usually means you should find someone in your local church. Start asking God to give you eyes to see who around you might be someone that you can go to coffee with, go on a walk with, or something like that. They don’t have to be like 20 years older than you, they can be 5 years older than you, they can be like a big sister to you.”
“God seems to choose the curriculum for me. I can choose an area of study, but very often God has a curriculum that I am unaware of. I come into that little classroom and I have no idea what he’s up to. He’s very faithful to be clear in his teaching with me. He’s very persistent and patient, like the best kind of teacher you could ever ask for.”
“If you are wanting to make disciples, please, please… just look around. There are so many heartbreak stories going on right now. You don’t have to have your own daughter to help a daughter. You don’t have to be that person’s mother in order to mother spiritually. There are a lot of women who need spiritual mentoring and who need mothering… They don’t need someone who is perfect, but available.”
“When I meet with a girl, I don’t expect her to meet my needs. In the same way I don’t expect my daughters to meet my needs when I meet with them.”
“I’ve felt the pressure with my own kids trying to be the perfect mom. The grace of it all is that I DID screw up and that we still have a relationship. It doesn’t even stop when they’re adults! Now I have blessed in-laws. So guess what? I had a conversation with all of them and said, ‘I love you all, I know I’ll mess up, and I’m asking for us to be as authentic as we can be with each other. We’ll be in counseling if we need to be and we will talk about things. You just need to tell me.’ That all applies to a discipleship relationship. Will I mess up? Yes! Will I say the wrong thing or encourage them to do the wrong thing? Possibly! Every time I meet with a girl I say to them, “If none of this makes sense, toss it out. If you leave my house and none of it makes sense, please don’t follow my advice. I trust God in you to supersede anything I’ve said. The Holy Spirit is your teacher. You have to go in knowing that you, as the disciple maker, are broken and messed up, so there’s a real strong chance that you will do something to hurt your disciple, event though it’s never your intention.”
“We need to live in reality, because in between reality and expectation is misery.”
“I think about boundaries because my life goal is to love the Lord God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and guess what? That’s what I want for my family too… Mothering is just releasing and starting over in every season. Hopefully it’s transferring wisdom to one segment of your relationship to the next. With my girls and my son, the reality is that their relationship with their spouses is supposed to supersede their relationship with me and their love for me.”
Susie’s Resources for Discipleship
Things to deepen your personal growth
Being around truth-telling people
Susie’s Simple Joy’s
Black cup of coffee with one egg
Watching the hummingbirds on the salvia
Having a happy hour with a girlfriend
Connect with Susie
Episode 09 of the Journeywomen podcast is sponsored by White Pepper Ink, a custom-scripting canvas and wood company founded by Amanda Nicholson.You can find her work on Instagram and Facebook @whitepepperink. To custom order, email Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you mention hearing about the shop on the Journeywomen podcast, you will get 10% off a canvas of your choice if you order through the second week of August 2017.
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