Tonight has been a slow Friday night. Ben's out for the evening and I've spent the majority of the afternoon and evening reading for a project. It's nights like these when I have time to sit and reflect, when I realize how thankful I should be. While I was surfing facebook (taking a much needed break from my work), I perused through a few of my former teachers/professors pages and I realized what a significant influence they had on me!
I can remember from the 3rd grade on, God graciously placed older women in my life who believed in me and shaped me in various ways. Mrs. Lininger (3rd grade) encouraged me to love books and excel in math. Mrs. Fox (middle & high school) taught me to love different languages and to trust my instincts & the Holy Spirit. Mrs. Foley (middle & high) taught me how to love the Bible and how to live rightly in a fallen world. Mrs. Penick believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and she pushed me towards excellence. She also gave some of the best advice ever to a teen who was trying to figure out their way in this crazy messed up world (high school). Ruthanne was and still is a listening ear who pushes me to read and develop my own thoughts in light of Scripture. She's been a good friend and a great example of a life of intentionality.
In college, the story line is similar. I had female professors and ladies on staff at Cedarville who pushed me to love God more and figure out who I was in light of who God is. Professor Wheeler taught me to be creative and think/speak outside of the box. Dr. Haffey taught me to organize and speak my thoughts confidently in front of an audience. Kirsten Gibbs showed me what it looked like to be a fun independent woman who loves the Lord and loves people well. And Kim Ahlgrim, Oh Kim... well she helped me think through matters of God, Christian culture, church, romance, future, and everything in between all over a cup of coffee. She also taught me through example that being married and having a family is FUN - not a drag. I can still hear the way she talked about her husband and kids and I'm STILL encouraged.
I share this with you because I honestly believe that without these women in my life, I most likely would have walked away from the faith. These are women who intentionally encouraged me and spent time with me. They were patient with me despite my immaturity, yet because they were patient, because they spoke truth in my life... I am still a believer today. I'm still growing in the faith.
I've written before about a shortage of women in the church who know Scriptures well and who are willing and capable to open up their lives to younger women. I'm a product of women sacrificing their time and energy to pour into me. We need more Mrs. Foley's in our churches. We need more Kirsten Gibbs. In light of that, a few thoughts:
- Women, if you feel like you're not at a place where you have a sound knowledge of Scripture - that can change! Pray that God will burden your heart with a hunger for His Word.
- If you feel like you don't have time to invest in another lady's life - Pray that God will show you how to organize and prioritize your life so that you can! Titus 2 isn't an optional passage of Scripture - it's a mandate to us all!
- If you're looking for a woman to invest in your life - Get involved in a local church and start praying for opportunities to meet a lady who can invest in your life. Also remember, this is a two way street! So be looking for someone to invest in as well!
Those are my thoughts on this Friday evening. So thankful to the many women who have invested in my life.