Last Thursday was International Women's day, our local paper printed a list of women leaders in the community and the editorial featured the names of some of the prominent leaders of our region. I thought that I would write up my own list of women whose lives have inspired me over my lifetime.
Biblical women of note:
Ruth-as a widow she left the security of family and homeland to accompany her widowed mother-in-law back to her land. She gave her word that she would not leave her mother-in-law saying to her "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried." Ruth kept that word. She cared for her mother-in-law, she went out into the fields and picked up the grain that was left behind so that they could eat. She inspires me to be loyal and keep the promises that I've made.
Deborah- she led Israel as a judge, people came to her for decisions about all kinds of things. She went out to battle with Israel. She inspires me to believe that God calls both men and women into ministry.
Anna- was a fixture at the temple "worshiping day and night," she was a widow and a prophetess. At 84 she witnessed the dedication of Jesus and recognized hem for who he was. Then she went and told everyone about it. She inspires me to remember that the physical world is not the only world and to let others know about Christ.
Rosa Parks-She inspires me with her courage in the face of incredible opposition.
Mother Theresa-Inspires me with her self-sacrifice, her willingness to answer the call from God and spend her days taking care of the lowest of the lowest. She makes me remember that there is no such thing as the lowest of the lowest. In Gods eyes we are all precious. She is one of my all time biggest heroes.
Everyday women who are anything but:
These women all raised their children and then returned to work. They have inspired me to believe that it is never too late to start something new:
Aunt Elizabeth- went to seminary and became a Presbyterian minister.
Aunt Margaret- went back to university after raising 8 children and became a teacher.
Anita Teeninga- went to college and received a diploma as a speech therapy technician. She had to leave her home for a year and live in a city about an hours drive away(more during rush hour).
Mary Blake- Took courses online and became a library reference technician.
These women are a large part of the reason that I have returned to school, without their example I may not have done it.
The following women have taught me that seemingly small acts of kindness can make a huge difference.
Shirley Evans- she gave her time to me when I was a young mother with 5 small children. She came and visited, chatted and folded laundry. She brought me soup and picked up groceries and medicine for me when I was stuck in the house with a bunch of sick kids. She baby-sat for me when my mother-in-law passed away and then again so that I could go to counselling sessions.
Barb Buldyke- a woman who has often blessed me with prepared meals during times of difficulty. She has also done some child minding for me.
Val Penney- Blessed me with encouragement, friendship and many meals. When my mother died 4 years ago she and her husband drove the 3 hours to Stratford to attend the funeral.
Aunt Mimi-left her home and family to follow my father to Canada as she promised she would. She is a soft spoken, kind woman. She inspires me to loyalty and gentleness.
My favourite professional woman:
Amy Caughlin-my boss- Took over as the CEO of our local library and saw us through a major renovation project. She has made the library welcoming to people of all ages and a great place to work and study. She initiated programs for all ages. Our library now has programs for preschoolers, school aged children, teens and adults. The library has become a happening place because of this focused and accomplished woman.
The women nearest and dearest to me:
My Mother-Helen Neil Walton de Wever- She raised 5 children, went through many sad and difficult times and never let them embitter her. She was welcoming and nonjudgmental. Her strength came from the one who is strength, her peace from the one who is peace and her love from the source of all love. She has inspired me to seek out the Lord at all times.
My daughters- Tina, Anna and Grace- these three women inspire me with their strength, determination, creativity and devotion to a relationship with Christ. They cause me to marvel at the diversity of personalities in one family.
They inspire me to actively pursue my relationship with the Lord.
Well this is my personal list, what does yours look like?