1) My mother
This almost seems like a given because women are often close to their mothers. I know not everyone has this experience. And, by others' standards, I would probably not be considered close to my mother (we communicate about once per week). However, we have a very good relationship. I love spending time with her (which is rare because we live 2200 miles apart). I value her opinion. I have positive memories from childhood. Her story (at least the parts I know about) has given me great respect for her. She has shown me the value of perseverance and pursuing your goals even when there are challenges or you are not supported by those around you. She has been so open with me about her story that my admiration and appreciation for her has only grown through the years. I have a distinct memory of riding home from a high school basketball game (she came to nearly all of my sporting events, even the 2+ hour away ones) and being so engrossed in a very vulnerable and honest conversation that we ended up getting pulled over for speeding. My mom is amazing and I am grateful for her impact and influence in my life.
2) My maternal grandmother
My grandmother died a little over six years ago. I am glad that she is no longer suffering from dementia but I miss her dearly. She was an amazing woman and I enjoyed her very much. She was a strong woman who made friends wherever she went - to her there was no such thing as a stranger. She broke barriers of her time by becoming Oregon's first female licensed water treatment plant operator - running the plant for her town (this happened during a time when the reporters referred to her as Mrs. Eugene Cherry when they wrote an article on her in the newspaper). She was a hard worker. She was firm but also fun. We loved visiting her and grandpa in the summers. We learned many card games from her. She took us to the library often. She encouraged me to work on my cooking skills (and my brother as well). She gave us chores and tasks to contribute. She was as involved as she could be from many states away and made us feel that she was proud of us.
3) My paternal grandmother
4) My former pastor's wife
My husband moved here to GA a few months before we got married. When I came to visit him before the wedding, my future pastor and his wife allowed me to stay with them. It still blows my mind that they let a stranger stay with them. When I moved down here, we were involved in their small group and that's how I got to know her better. She hosted women's events at her house and I was impressed by her hospitality and generosity. When I became a stay-at-home mom, she invited me and my daughter over to her house so that I could get some social time while my daughter played with toys. I will always appreciate her kindness in making time for us every other week and being willing to listen and answer any questions about motherhood or life in general. She has invested in so many women, children, families and relationships throughout the years, the fruits of which are evident in all of the support and help her family has received recently walking through their own challenging life events. She is a wonderful example of someone whose joy is found in Christ and who has a confident trust in God to provide for her in all circumstances.
5) Jen Hatmaker
I have read numerous blog posts by her (the first one being Worst End-of-School Mom Ever) and she comes across as funny, friendly and inviting in her writing. I appreciate her candor and her passion for people. She is not afraid to be her true self even when it means being criticized by others. She has a huge heart and desires for everyone to know that they are loved by God and valuable as a person. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as part of her book launch team for her most recent book, For the Love, and it became an invitation to get to know her a little better (and even attend a party at her house!). She is just as kind and gracious and generous in person as she is online. She is an introvert (like myself) and still willingly hugged, talked and took pictures individually with a long line of women in her backyard. I cannot imagine how exhausted she must have felt at the end of that night. Yet she was so warm and kind (and the rest of her family was just as lovely). I know that it must be hard to receive criticism for being genuine, vulnerable and proclaiming that Jesus' love is for everyone. I have great respect and admiration for her. Her example encourages me to be myself and not fear criticism for living authentically.
|She took pictures like this with approximately 200 people!|
There are many more women who have influenced my life and who I appreciate greatly and could have easily highlighted here (so please don't think you're not important if you're not one of these five!). I would love to hear about some amazing women impacting your life! Share in the comment section below!