friend and mentor

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Proverbs 27:9

For much of my adult life it has been my great joy to know and be known by Pat Conner. Pat is my “frentor” – my friend and mentor, whose company I dearly enjoy and whose wisdom I eagerly seek. With transparency, compassion, patience and insight she has guided me through seas both choppy and calm.  I owe her such a debt as a mom and a ministry leader. She has spared me many pitfalls and gently helped me to stand after the ones I managed to tumble into anyway. She is a champion of the underdog and a cheerleader for the discouraged.

In the book of James, we are told to ask for wisdom if we lack it (and we do!), for our Heavenly Father gives it generously without finding fault. He has done this for me through the person of my friend Pat, who has consistently embodied that uncalculated generosity of insight James speaks of – for me and for so many others.

This year, Pat is enjoying a Birthday Of Significance. To celebrate her, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things she has taught me - through her words and her actions. I hope you benefit from them as I have. And I pray that you, too may find a frentor-of-great-worth.

My Top 20 Favorite Words of Wisdom from Pat
(in no particular order)
  1. It is hard to be a mother. It is hard to be a daughter. No one else can fill those roles in your family. You should fill them well.
  2. Treat children as people. They bear the image of God, just like you.
  3. Siblings can and should be best friends.
  4. Though the answer to someone’s problem may be obvious to you, it is not obvious to them. Sit and listen, even if you don’t have the time, even if it takes a long time.
  5. Don’t judge others according to your strengths. Maybe you love Bible study (or prayer, or missions) more than they do because God wired you differently. Maybe He wired you that way so you could serve them with your gift.
  6. Teacups make any hot beverage taste better.
  7. Times that are free of suffering are opportunities to reach out to those in times of suffering.
  8. Times of suffering are opportunities to glorify the Father. Sometimes they last a long time.
  9. Bearing the burdens of others sometimes means bearing the burden of their foolishness, even at great personal cost.
  10. Wisdom chooses silence over speech more often than not.
  11. Buy the cute pajamas. Everyone wins.
  12. Anger, unaddressed, poisons every area of a person’s life.
  13. Funny birthday cards are kind of a cop-out. Say what you mean.
  14. If you ever succumb to the belief that people cannot change, it is time to get out of ministry.
  15. See more in people than they see in themselves. Trust your intuition about placing someone in leadership, even if they doubt themselves.
  16. Use simple words to express yourself. Speak plainly. It helps to think for awhile before you speak.
  17. Stay at the Broadmoor at least once before you die. Even if you have to knock off an ATM to get there.
  18. It is wiser to be an asker of questions than a teller of answers. When you must answer, an answer softly worded and softly spoken turns away wrath, even when the answer is a hard one.
  19. Love your calling more than your pride or your safety. Do the thing you “can’t not do” for one or for one hundred, on easy days and on hard days, with excellence.
  20. We are all God’s favorites.
Happy Birthday, dear friend. Thank you for the fragrant offering of your friendship and counsel. We reflect on the years behind you with gratitude. We look to the years before you with joy.

Pat writes a great parenting blog. You can find more of her wisdom here.