The following post is in response to Sarah Bessey’s “International Women’s Day Synchroblog.”
I didn't always have a lot of girls who were friends. I used to be that kid who would rather be hanging out with her older brothers than playing makeup with a bunch of girls. I think it began when I somehow got kicked out of my group of friends in 7th grade. I never understood why those girls left me, but obviously God had other plans. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s and married that I really understood the need for authentic relationships with other women, and sought them out. Being an introvert, it hasn’t been easy. However, through family, work and church, I’ve had so many amazing women come into my life. Seriously, I could name over a dozen who deserve a spot on my Spiritual Midwives list. But I’m just going to focus on four women in my life whose fruits continue to inspire me to this day, whose hearts help me experience God's love, and make me want to be the person I’m called to be in Jesus:
Thank you MOM for loving me unconditionally, for teaching me about how God answers prayers even before I cared to know who God was, for sharing your stories of heartache, struggle and perseverance so I can learn from them, for trusting me, for always listening to me as if I mattered, and letting me listen to you because you matter, for telling me I am beautiful, for never giving up on me, for always cheering me on to succeed, for giving me my greatest gift… my siblings. Thank you for your LOVE and PATIENCE.
Thank you VICKI for being my best friend and sister, for loving me just as I am, for always thinking of me, reaching out to me especially when I felt all alone, for your notes, flowers, cake pops, jewelry, for all your encouragement through the good times and bad, for being the one person I know I can always turn to, for sharing a room with me for 18 years and not killing me, for always making me laugh, for being an amazing mother, for giving me the privilege of being Samantha’s God-mother, for having an amazing worth ethic, for making me proud to call you my sister. Thank you for your KINDNESS and GOODNESS.
Thank you SUZANNE for being my “second sister,” for forgiving me for taking your job, for being my theological sounding board, for praying with me, for hugging me with the breadth of the Holy Spirit, for being an ENFP and showing how getting to know other people can bring joy, for listening and remembering everything I tell you, for letting me be your daughter’s “aunt,” for being the friend I’ve always wanted, the one who always makes me feel at home. Thank you for your JOY and PEACE.
Thank you AUNT CHRISTINE for shining with God’s love, for always being happy to see me even when we haven’t seen each other in years, for genuinely caring about what people are doing in their lives, for your love of God and all God’s children, for your incredibly contagious faith. Thank you for your FAITHFULNESS and GENTLENESS.
These are just a few of the women God has put in my life to show me His love. There are more, so many more! I wish I could say something about each and every one of them.
There are grandmothers, sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, aunts, cousins, family friends, friends, and sisters-in-Christ (Martha, Ashley, Nicole, Madeline, Lisi, Nichole, Chelsea, Tara, among others).
God has allowed each woman into my life for a reason. Some of them I see often, some I don’t see as often as I’d like, but each encounter with one another is a blessing, an opportunity to engage, to take off our masks, to build a relationship together, and to be our true selves. I’ve been blessed to be connected with so many kind, loving, beautiful, brave women.
They’ve struggled and triumphed.
They’ve grieved and rejoiced.
They’ve worked hard and fought for rest.
They’ve been abused and survived.
They’ve challenged themselves and succeeded.
They’ve failed and stood back up.
They’ve loved and lost, but made the decision to keep on living.
They’re still standing, stronger than ever.
They continue to inspire me in new and magnificent ways.
It’s up to us as women to continue to support one another, lift each other up, and be the love of God to one another in all we do. I’m just so thankful that I’ve been allowed to be a part of these women’s lives, and they have agreed to be a part of mine.
I also want to acknowledge my “patron saints,” the women I have never gotten the chance to meet who have been an inspiration in one form or another on my spiritual journey… biblical characters, humanitarians, authors/bloggers, actresses, advocates, etc.
I’ve been inspired by the likes of Mary mother of God, Mary Magdalene, the woman at the well, Mother Teresa, Michelle Obama, Rachel Held Evans, Lynne Hybels, Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Mrs. North Carolina 2013 Josie Sanctis, and most recently Brenda Salter McNeil. I’m sure there are more but International Women’s Day is almost over and I want to get this posted!
Check out Sarah Bessey's page for other women's blogs on Spiritual Midwives and Patron Saints.