This post was written by Carly Middleton, Charlotte Fellows class of 2012-2013. Carly is an elementary school teacher at Brookstone Schools and currently lives in Charlotte with her husband Josh and their soon-to-be baby boy Baker.
During my time in the Fellow’s Program, I was amazingly blessed by the programs and relationships that were put into place for me. Both my host family and my mentor were wonderful and played an amazing part in God’s story for my life. Both of these relationships still play an active and important role in my life, and I cannot imagine life without them!
My mentor was Kate Willis, a member of Uptown Church. From the first time we met, it was easy and comfortable to talk to her about anything. We met consistently every week and I always looked forward to my time with her. During my time as a fellow, I experienced a lot of big life changes, one of which was getting engaged and later married. I was just out of college, in a new state, and just beginning to date a guy seriously (a recipe for disaster!). However, as I look back on that time, Kate was one of few women who walked with me through that exciting yet scary time. On our walks I would unload everything from the week on her, and she would help me process and seek truth. I remember calling her the night Josh and I were engaged and knowing that she, more than almost anyone, knew the excitement and anticipation of that moment. Kate and her husband celebrated with us at our wedding the following December and then we welcomed their sweet new baby boy a few months later. These moments and the life-on-life discipleship were such a blessing during my time as a fellow.
Another thing I really appreciated about Kate and our relationship was how much she trusted me and was willing to learn. In the past, I have viewed mentorship as one person giving and one person receiving; however, during this time I began to see mentorship differently. Kate gave so much wisdom and advice to me during our time together, but more than that she listened and let me talk. In past mentor relationships where I have been the mentor, I felt I needed to prove something and come to the table knowing more and appearing more spiritual. Kate never did this. She led me by investing in my life and sharing hers through a genuine friendship. Four years later we still keep up and meet together on a regular basis.
Through my mentorship experience in the Fellow’s Program I have become even more convinced of the importance of everyone having a consistent mentor in their life. Not only does this create a priceless relationship, it also provides accountability and security as you walk through life. My mentors are people I can trust to call me out and keep me in check on any sin they see in my life. They encourage when times are tough and celebrate when times are good. There’s no getting around it: Being a believer in our world today is tough. But I’m thankful God places people in our lives to help us fight the good fight of faith and finish the race!