“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
It feels like just yesterday that Karen and Hayley approached me to become a mentor and join the “IseeU” team. So, I can hardly believe that I am at the end of term two of this very rewarding journey with my Grade 10 girls at Mountview High School in Hanover Park.
I did not have to think twice about their request though, as I have always had an affinity to work with and develop the potential of young marginalized women who are largely unseen. As my own journey was littered with authority figures who never saw me or my potential, I remember how as a teenager I floundered, failed and faded. However, I am immensely blessed to have people cross my path who have been instrumental in my journey to success. These people, especially my husband Mervyn, encouraged me to recognize and reach my potential.
I see these girls, and I see myself at their age, in them. Even though our circumstances might differ our needs are fundamentally the same, and that is to be seen and valued. I vividly recall a moment in my life, many years ago, when I stared out my bedroom window, asking God,” When will the sun ever shine on me?” Looking back now I can see how it has shone on me through all the people he has sent my way, people who have had a hand in shaping my life. Hence, it’s a massive privilege for me to mentor these young women, to encourage them to complete their schooling, and to connect them with opportunities and people in the IseeU network. I am proud to be one of these connections, one of the many who will keep them accountable, help them unlock their potential and assist them in finding their chosen career paths and unique destinies.
Astoundingly, in sharing my life with these girls, I have grown and changed. To quote David A Stoddard, in his book ‘The Heart of Mentoring’; “Getting the most out of life isn’t about how much you keep for yourself, but how much you pour into others”. What is even more remarkable is how God has equipped me and used every gift and aspect of my ordinary life, whether it be my role as a wife, a mother, a student, a teacher as well as my service at church and the community at large, to impact and make an extraordinary difference in the lives of these very special young women.
After all, so many people have invested into my life, so it goes without saying that I have a responsibility to pay it forward and invest in that young woman’s life, the one who is struggling to find her way. I want her to know that “I see U.”
Liezl Christoffels, IseeU Mentor