Ancient Mentors

Have you ever thought of the concept of "Ancient Mentors" and how you might learn from people who lived long before you? Read on as Natalia Kohn Rivera describes such a practice.


Ancient Mentors

By Natalia Kohn Rivera

Throughout my journey of faith, I have had a profound desire to know this God who promises to speak to me and who desires to be in deep relationship with me. Sometimes my quest for mentors in faith has led me to relationships in the church - the community of faith. But I am also drawn to ancient mentors, the women with timeless wisdom who point the way for me.

Nearly 20 years ago I began to know Jesus as the God who fights for my healing and freedom. I saw myself in the story of the bleeding woman as I battled the lure of an eating disorder and barely held together my fragile low self-esteem. In this story (Luke 8), I saw a woman reach for Jesus and saw him respond with attentiveness and call forth her true self.

The bleeding woman helped me begin to see Jesus as the God who knows me and holds loving intentions as he works to bring me wholeness. The pervading insecurities that always seemed to follow me were disappearing as I engaged a Jesus who cared about my whole being.

A few years later, the Holy Spirit gave me the gift of an incredible mentor who has walked with me for more than a decade, showing me that God treasures singleness and has done good work in me through years of relational barrenness. Hannah, my Old Testament friend (1 Samuel 1-2), repeatedly modeled for me faith in the midst of lack, loss and heartache.

How can I be a woman of both faith and longing? In Hannah's story, God gave me a precious friend whose experience navigated me through the waiting and the disappointments.

God cared about my loneliness, my pain and my questions. He was my comfort through her example that I held onto tightly during all those years.

Well into that season, Jesus introduced himself as my eternal Bridegroom, the one who woos and pursues my heart every day. This was a shift for me, as I had previously focused on the work I did for God. The Shulamite woman in the Song of Solomon has been mentoring me on receiving his love, friendship and leadership. She has helped me to see myself not as Jesus' work horse but as his love, his bride.

I haven't yet mastered intimacy with Jesus and so I'm thankful to have eternity to keep learning, but I'm grateful that Jesus works so diligently and passionately to move us from religion to intimate relationship with him. He loves to reveal himself to me and to you in such personal and intimate ways. His heart is to have children who know him and a bride who loves him. He isn't looking at me as a mission, a tool that provides him with a lot of fruit for his ministry; he looks at me as the apple of his eye, a love he delights in.

Let's encounter again and again our Beloved. Let's aim for intimacy with Jesus, and all the rest will follow. Let's allow these women to model and mentor the much more God has for us.

Natalia Kohn Rivera is national special projects coordinator for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's LaFe (Latino) ministry. She is a coach for staff and students and has a passion for raising up leaders in love with Jesus. She was born in Argentina, is half Armenian and raised in Southern California. Natalia is a co-author of Hermanas: Deepening Our Identity and Growing Our Influence.

© Elisa Morgan 2020

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