When Heroes Mentor

A beautiful career athlete sat across the table from me at Starbucks. She had a perfect, gleaming smile and an eagerness to please. She and I were meeting because, after months of waiting for her mother’s health to improve, she was ready to become a mentor mom.

For her day job, Erin was a track and field coach at a local Christian high school. I could see her perfect muscles stretched beneath her golden skin. Her freckled face was pure and clean, with barely any makeup.

“Our moms will love her! She is so full of vitality. Her smile lights up the room,” I thought to myself.

Our first conversation lasted longer than I thought it would.

Behind her sparkly zest for life was a shocking story. Erin was a cancer survivor.

Like a recent survivor.

Just finishing chemo.

She had been through hell and beat cancer!

She was on fire with the wisdom that comes from recognizing that tomorrow is promised to no one. Scripture rolled out of her as normal as an exhale. She knew personally, deeply, where her strength came from.

At this initial conversation, I gave her my usual orientation for new mentors. It seemed a little ordinary with Erin. As a high school coach, my words were not new to her. She was already using all my best tips. And then gave me a few of her own!

As I predicted, the moms loved Erin. She loved our moms. It was a match made in heaven for a specific reason and season.

Erin’s favorite verse was Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

And she lived it. Out loud. In front of our moms.

It is with honor and humility that I share the last part of this story.

Erin lost her battle with cancer last week and went home to be with Jesus. Even as her life came to a close, she selflessly gave to our moms, to her students and to her family.

She served Jesus with an open heart and sparkly smile.

She knew where her strength came from.

She knew where she was going. Heaven. We all knew that!

We just did not know she would find her way so soon.

And now she is there. In heaven. With Jesus.

She has left a whole in our hearts the size of the Grand Canyon! Yet, her kindness will live on in our hearts…

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”

May we all tend our fire to the very end of our time on earth, just like Erin did.


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