Hi, my name is Brittany Attwood and I am the Communications Director for DTC Regional Alliance. This month we are highlighting mentoring and the great impact it can have in the lives of youth. While in future blogs I will share how one person made a difference in the lives of others in our community, this month I’d like to share my personal story of how having a mentor (pictured above on the right), led me to become a mentor as well!
My entire testimony exists because of the favor of God and the sacrifice of mentors and others. In truth, my testimony is not just my own—it is a collective, living story whose pieces belongs to many.
I started going to church because of a New Year’s resolution, but I eventually became who I am today because a mentor relationship with one person, a young youth group leader, kept me in God’s house. Looking back now I can see how easy it would’ve been for my life to be entirely different yet God was already drawing me to Him. I just needed guidance, support, and someone to remind me that not being raised in a perfect Christian household was not a disqualifier for a healthy life nor a healthy relationship with Christ.
Charissa was a freshman in college, me a freshman in high school, but praise God we can be used at all stages of life. Not only did Charissa answer my questions about God in the early days of my walk with the Lord, but she also witnessed my baptism and helped me start to find healing when my mother passed away when I was only 17 years old. My relationship with Charissa steered me away from being a part of some pretty bad statistics and gave me the first glimpse of myself as someone worthy to be invested in and worthy of love, even in my immaturity.
Fast forwarding to August 2015, that once college-aged youth leader is still a dear friend and was among a handful of other mentor-like men and women who sent me off to pursue God’s word and attend an intensive 1-year discipleship training school in Texas. What I used to think of as MY step of faith and obedience has, over time, proven to have always been OUR step of faith and obedience…because my mentors have also sacrificed a great deal to see me make healthy, God-honoring decisions. I realize now more than ever, that I would never have found myself pursuing God’s best in life had my mentors not given freely of their time, wisdom, and hearts to love and accept me.
When I landed in Texas just a couple days before the discipleship training school, God favored me yet again and gave me another mentor, Alyssa, with whom I walked in very close relationship for 9 months. During that time, she graciously kept me accountable to staying focused in life and fulfilling the commitments I made to God and the training program. She taught me that mentors are encouragers and friends. She was with me in all aspects of life, not just school, and that was greatly proven when she came with me to California for a family funeral last April. That experience alone revealed to me that Alyssa had a commitment level to my holistic health I simply couldn’t understand. Because of relationships like this, l felt led to pour into the lives of others by taking a job as a youth development specialist working with elementary aged, at-risk youth. Seeing over and over again how a mentor-like relationship has radically changed my life, given me the confidence to be my true self, and encouraged me to pursue my passions, I wanted to do the same for kids facing large obstacles, similar to mine.
Both through my past experiences with mentorship and my position as a mentor now, I continue to be reminded of the power of one. How beautiful is that! Having just one individual actively and consistently involved in a person’s life can be the way God takes hold of a heart forever. Each one of us can be a "Difference Maker" for another!