Do you have an Iris?
No two are alike, you know.
Here is mine:
The (in)courage webcast, this weekend, included much talk of Mentors; both being one, and having one.
My mentor is my friend. And her name is Iris. She is creating a legacy that is born of a desire to live for God. I want to honor her today, by sharing her, a bit, with you.
My Iris is infused with joy. She has a twinkle in her eye and a laugh like a giddy little schoolgirl. Her hair is a different color almost every time I see her, and the woman wears accessories with the panache` of a runway model. She knows her limitations, and has learned well how and when to use the word “no”. She wears wisdom well. Grace and humility adorn her. Her heart is strong in the Lord. And her arms are always open to me.
And that? That is just scratching the surface of this funny, compassionate, and adorably short woman, I assure you.
“Isn’t it such a privilege to serve the Lord? It’s such an honor, isn’t it? We get blessed in just so many ways when we do, don’t we?” These are all standard refrains from my Iris.
The more time I spend with this woman, hearing her stories and seeing her delight in life, the more my own appetite is whetted to pursue God in every area of my own life. She has logged countless hours at the feet of Jesus. And the Godly wisdom and counsel she has readily available, because of that time, is precious to all who are blessed by it.
“God gives us children and they are our mission field. We are blessed to be able to spend time with our children. It’s a crucial time for them – this time that you have at home with them.”, she often reminds me. When I’m weary of the daily, I can count on her to swoop in with her encouragement to just keep relying on God’s strength, not my own.
She never follows these positive reminders with “Don’t ever forget that!”. And, she doesn’t begin them with “You really should…!”. No, no. She never chides.
My Iris only encourages. And mightily.
“I think what you’re doing now – putting your children first, is the right thing.” Each time I consider embarking on a new adventure, this woman, who has been down many of these same roads before, challenges me to consider what I will be giving up for it. And, more importantly, she asks me what God might be whispering in my ear about it? “Have you prayed? I will pray for you about this.”, she will say.
I’ve been mistaken for one of her daughters more times than I can count. It makes me smile each and every time.
I say she’s my sister. And, indeed, she is.
What’s more, the legacy she will eventually leave, is one of a woman who loves well and often. Who laughs at all the days to come. Who joys in the very moment she’s been given. Who lives life with zest and enthusiasm for each new challenge. A woman for whom the word adventure is an intimate friend and who is well acquainted with The One who has given her every breath.
I am deeply honored to be mentored by my sweet Iris. Any legacy I am creating is shaped, in large part, by her influence in my life.
“We’ll keep you in our prayers.”, she ends every conversation with.
And I’ll be keeping you in mine, sweet Iris.