Three major hospitalizations have diminished my capacity for scheduled, consistent, one-to-one discipling times that had been part of my life since college. I am learning, though, that discipling is not just something I do; it’s part of who I am, even when I’m struggling.
I now make the most of any opportunity to interact with younger believers. Email allows me to stay in touch with women I discipled in the past; I can encourage them in their own ministries. I jump at the chance to talk about things I’m learning or books I’ve read with a woman I see at church. In the absence of more structured relationships, these “wherever, whenever” encounters have become a way to minister to others in spite of my reduced capacity.
I’m also experiencing the delight of letting those I disciple minister to me. Even Jesus allowed others to minister to Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked three of His disciples to pray for Him. On the cross, He asked John for help in caring for His mother.
Even with my sizable limitations, I can continue discipling others. The lessons I am learning during this difficult time—to disciple wherever and whenever I can, to be vulnerable about my weaknesses, and to allow those I disciple to minister to me—make me a more effective discipler.