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Unexpected Friendships: Women Mentoring Women



Unexpected friendships can bridge age gaps, offering layers of complexity and richness of flavor that isn’t often present in friendships with those of us who are the same age. Different from peer-to-peer relationships, these friendships foster community and transparency in a most unexpected way.

We recently chatted via email with Ungrind regular contributor Marian Green and her mentor and friend, Karen Trigg, about their unexpected friendship. We invite you to listen in.

Ungrind: Karen, how did you and Marian first meet?

Karen: I first met Marian in a Tuesday morning Bible study at our church. The class was on spiritual mothering. I was in my 40’s. Marian was in her 20’s. That morning I don’t think either of us had a clue what a special friendship we would form. It’s a friendship birthed from a gentle whisper I initially heard eight years ago.

Ungrind: What do you mean by a “gentle whisper?”

Karen: I had just been through a season of learning to be still and hear the voice of the Lord. As I stepped away from the position I held with a local youth ministry, and pleaded with God to show me what path He desired for me to take, He clearly prompted me to invest in the lives of young women.

Working with the youth ministry, my position was more administrative. This new prompting was much different — I was being asked to invest in these young women on a very personal level. They were in their 20’s and 30’s and were asking for these relationships. They desired transparency in all things.

Ungrind: Did you feel prepared to take on this new challenge?

Karen: The thought terrified me. All I could think was, Who? Me? No way!! I don’t have what it takes. I would have no idea where to begin. And I certainly don’t know if I have anything to offer.

But at the same time, I couldn’t ignore that it was the voice of the Lord asking me. He desired for me to allow Him to use my gifts — the gifts He created me with—in order to build up the Body of Christ. He assured me that if I would trust and say yes, He would equip me for the task to which I was called.

Ungrind: Did you realize what you were stepping into?

Karen: I didn’t realize that I was saying yes to a generation with a deep desire to interact in sincere relationship with the women of the generation before them. But God did. Today, my heart is full as I look back and see just how my life has been challenged and blessed by each relationship. Each investment. Each unexpected friendship.

Ungrind: Marian, how did you find yourself becoming friends with Karen?

Marian: I thought I was going to a class about being a godly mom. “Spiritual Mothering”—it sounded like exactly what I needed. Then, I saw the cover of the book. It looked like something my grandmother would have brought home from her Sunday morning brunch at Cracker Barrel. An oversized, pastel pink, Victorian couch threatened to swallow a young girl alive if her chin-high collared dress didn’t do it first. The girl was painted on the cover with an unending look of boredom as an older woman read to her from a regal looking book. “Spiritual Mothering,” it said. “The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women.”

I thought to myself, What have I done? I fought the urge to excuse myself to the restroom and never return. The class was only supposed to be an hour and a half. Instead, I decided to stay and listen. I was a new believer in Jesus. I had never heard of woman-to-woman mentoring, and there was coffee and creamer and yummy little snacks being given away in the foyer.

Ungrind: And what happened after you decided to stay?

Marian: It only took one week before I was blabbing my mouth for the entire morning Bible study. I was in a class of over 20 people and I’m pretty sure I talked almost 70% of the time. I couldn’t help myself; I was so excited about what was being taught. Titus 2:3-4 reads:

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

It was a new concept to me. Not only was I a new believer, but I was also newly married. Come to think of it, this was the very first Bible study I had ever signed up for. Little did I know that this model of spiritual mentoring would be the premise for the next several years of my life.

Ungrind: Karen, what’s been most surprising for you?

Karen: My relationship with Marian is one of those unexpected friendships. Soon after that Tuesday morning, I found myself at her kitchen table, her 2-year-old playing nearby. I loved being invited into her world.

As we chatted, I realized we had some life experiences that were similar and others that were not, but despite our differences what each of us desired most was to bring glory to God in all areas of our lives. We connected in a more real sense than I think either of us ever expected.

Ungrind: What does your relationship look like six years after that first kitchen table conversation?

Karen: From my point of view, it is a precious friendship that has been developed over time and deepened with each celebration and each seemingly devastating trial. It has been set in many different backdrops of life — kitchen tables, picnic blankets, court rooms, air planes, Skype video phone appointments, text messages, emails, and phone calls. About half of our relationship has been long distance, but it hasn’t hindered the growth of our friendship nor the impact it has had on us both.

Ungrind: Marian, what has Karen taught you through her example?

Marian: Truth, accountability, authenticity, availability. Those are the things it takes to sow into another woman’s life.

Ungrind: Karen and Marian, please tell our readers what this unexpected friendship has meant to you.

Karen: Our conversation most days leads to discussion around Scripture, but not for the sake of discussing Scripture. Rather, it’s conversation about what God is teaching us or new ideas and directions that He has led us in. It seems that it is just natural for our discussion to be wrapped around the Word of God. There are times when our dialogue is hard, but even then, we remember that we are in the relationship with a common goal and we refocus back to the foundation of the friendship — Jesus Christ.

And I share my struggles, whether they’ve “passed the test of having arrived” or even “in process” of getting to the other side, I firmly believe that God uses all things for His glory as His Word tells us. Being open about my struggles allows Marian a comfort in bringing her own struggles to the conversation. Transparency invites transparency.

The relationship is in no way one-sided. I am so encouraged by Marian. She has a natural gift of storytelling that captures me and makes me hang on every word. This gift is woven into her stories of life. She paints pictures with words, offering valuable insight on my journey towards goals and dreams, as well as with issues I may be facing. Her insight is invaluable to me. Her natural desire to research is a breath of fresh air for someone who is not naturally inclined in that direction.

Marian: Karen has been a wonderful example of what my relationships should look like inside ministry. Shortly after we started spending time together, my husband and I moved to become youth pastor and wife inside a local church. I spent five years mentoring young women in our youth group. It was priceless to have a model of how I could invest in these women and support the values their parents were instilling in them.

Ungrind: How can our readers seek out mentoring relationships in their lives?

Karen: If you are willing to be involved in a mentoring relationship I would love to offer some insight that I have gathered in my years of being blessed by these relationships. First, pray that God would stir within you a sincere desire to be involved in the lives of generations other than your own. Put yourself in a position to interact with women of these generations. As you begin to be drawn to a woman or find that she is drawn to you, be intentional to let her see you as you really are, express genuine desire to hear about her life, listen without judgment, and respond with a sincere heart. I have found that this is truly what is desired by the young women I have been in mentoring friendships with. They express such a deep longing to engage in all areas of our lives — for us to offer accountability and consistency as we “do life” with them.

Main article photo copyright © 2009 Kelly Sauer. Used with permission.

Ashleigh Slater is the author of Team Us: Marriage Together and the editor of Ungrind. As a regular contributor at several blogs and websites, she loves to unite the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage others. She has 20 years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. You can follow her on Instagram here.


When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.



One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.



“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.



Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

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Unexpected Friendships: Women Mentoring Women

by Ashleigh Slater time to read: 6 min