An Unlikely Means: On Text Mentoring

Perhaps you’ve had an idealistic vision of mentoring that included a young girl spending several hours each week in your home, following you as went about your day. You would talk about scripture and live it out, while simultaneously showing her the fine art of sewing, canning, baking, and child-rearing. You would speak of the woman at the well as you folded sheets just so. You would share the story of Abraham’s faith in sacrificing Isaac as you pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven. She would hang on your every word and help with your passel of kids. She’d bring you flowers picked from the garden and you’d send her home with a plate of cookies, blowing kisses as she walked down the lane.

Or maybe not.

While I have high regard for a woman such as this and wish she would be my very best friend and share a loaf of bread or two, it just is not my reality. I have a full-time job. I don’t cook, can, or bake. I don’t sew, unless you count a stray button here and there. I don’t have a passel of kids underfoot. And while my young spiritual daughter would love to spend more time in my home and I could fold a mean fitted sheet or two, time and distance just don’t allow for it.

Does this mean I cannot mentor? And if I do, how?

It was Katie who proposed the means of communication. Texting. Yep, you read that right. Texting. The language of today’s kids. We rarely email, have never spoken on the phone, and have seen one another in person three times since she last came to our bible study group. But in the past four months we have shared thousands of texts.

And believe it or not, it works. Even if the aroma of freshly baked bread is wanting.

Through an abundance of emoticons, we have smiled :), cried :'(, been sad :(, and happy :D. We tease ;), ::clap::, give (((hugs))), and exchange I love yous <3 and xoxoxo (and it must be three xos because that’s what it takes for the spell checker to correct “xozozo,” which I never fail to mistype).  We rarely LOL, which makes me really 😀 because I’m much more of a Ha! kind of person anyway.

In between, I’ve given oodles of marital advice, always with the words, “Remember this when you’re married.” We’ve discussed gratitude, whining, honesty, and purity. And lots and lots about boys and relationships; she is 17 after all! We are even working through a book together, discussing, via text, a chapter at a time. And it’s no fluff stuff: I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris. Can you believe I dared choose that for our first book? I know, I’m cruel 😉

According to Susan Hunt, author of Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women, spiritual mothering takes place when:

A woman possessing faith and spiritual maturity enters into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live for God’s glory.

I doubt a cell phone is the sort of nurturing venue Susan Hunt had in mind, but is it a viable means to encourage and equip today’s young women?

I know Katie thinks so.

But it needs a special name, I think. And so I came up with Text Mentoring. Clever, huh? And if it catches on somewhere down the road, you’ll have heard it here first. Maybe I should register ® it 😉

And since abbreviations are the mainstay of texting, as a text mentoring Titus 2 mom, I am officially a T2M and Katie is my T2D! I know I should register that!

In hope,

P.S. If text mentoring becomes a means in which you can nurture a young woman in your life, be sure that your cell phone texting plan is set to unlimited. Trust me, I learned this the hard way! 😛

About Shelli Bourque

An ordinary girl living by the grace of life in Christ. Adoring wife and mom. Lover of quiet places and uncluttered spaces. Beauty seeker and image maker.


  1. Amen and Amen. Some of my best conversations with my sweet high schoolers come through texting. Kudos to you to recognizing that there is more than one way to mentor girls!