Thank you, Joan.
When I was in my early twenties and newly married, Scott and I made our way to a church that was not the church he grew up in or a place anyone knew us. We met other young couples who were starting their families. We attended worship, joined a Bible study, deepened relationships through home groups, and began serving at our church. We formed some of the most amazing relationships with other couples, and to this day, they are some of our closest friends. After ten years, we moved to the other side of Houston. But the friendships, spiritual encouragement and teaching we received at that local church shaped who we are today. One particular person made a huge difference. Joan Bogar’s investment in me was beautiful, life-changing, and sparked a deep desire to disciple and mentor others.
Joan and her husband, Jim, were leaders in our young marrieds Bible study. They had just sent their son off to Texas A &M, and they chose to invest in a handful of couples beginning their families. Joan stood in front of our group of men and women and taught God’s Word with detail, truth, and application. She boldly spoke of how to love your husband, show respect, and support him without being a doormat or a passive, quiet wife. She modeled what she taught. She was who she was, and we knew what to expect when we asked her for advice. Truth. Always truth, but it was sprinkled with love and humor.
We attended a leadership training at our church, and the Bogars were in the same training. I don’t remember who spoke or what they were training us for, but I do remember they encouraged leaders to find someone to mentor. They stressed the importance of mentoring and being mentored. I remember that moment so clearly because I remember looking over at Joan and I knew. She would be my mentor. She chose me. Quiet, introverted Amy. She saw something in me that I certainly did not see. She believed that I was capable of more...of something larger than what I could imagine. Of all the young women she could have chosen, she chose me.
Over the next few years, she continued to teach. Encourage. Disciple. Equip. Rebuke. Model. We simply did life together. She mourned with us when our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. She celebrated with us as I grew LARGE with our second pregnancy, and she showed up when Jacob was born and we were terrified because things didn't go well. I had unexplained chronic arthritis and holding my baby was extremely painful. Joan pulled us aside at a church service accompanied by a handful of men and women. She sat me down, and they prayed. Prayed with confidence and boldness. A few years later, as she held my Emma Grace, I determined I would mentor my daughter they same way Joan mentored me. When Scottie was born and we began to notice developmental delays and began the process of finding out why, Joan prayed and spoke truth. When I look back over those years, her face, words, and actions are written all over our lives and my relationship with Jesus.
Introvert is not a big enough word to describe me. My lack of confidence and inability to see my giftedness followed me for years. But, Joan saw something and she challenged me. She knew that I was feeling called to missions, and asked me to teach our Bible study class. What? I taught middle schoolers and little kids, NOT adults!!!! But there was no way I would tell Joan no. A couple of weeks later, I stood in front of the class and I taught. She sat there beaming, encouraging me. Shy Amy came alive when I spoke about God’s Word. I felt confident and began to find my place. She encouraged me to keep teaching.
I am 43 years old, and I am still striving to disciple and mentor others just like Joan did for 22 year old Amy. Her decision to intentionally disciple me changed my life. I am forever thankful.
- I will disciple others.
- I will encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and do bold things.
- I will mourn with them.
- I will celebrate the big (and small) things with them.
- I will model what I “preach” because that speaks more than just words.
- I will do life with them.
- I will be their biggest cheerleader.
- I will speak truth, but sprinkle grace all over that truth.
- I will strive to live what Titus 2:3-5 says, “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.”
- I will mentor just as Joan did.
Thank you, Joan. Your faithfulness to God’s prodding and your willingness to love and mold me have left a lasting impact.