I can see my mom sitting there by herself, eyes closed, a little smile on her face.
She's singing or praying, I'm not sure which. but she is worshiping either way.
Always by herself but never alone because the unseen Spirit glows from her gentle face.
Sitting in the pew at the front of the church or on her little chair in her dining room, her radiance was the same. That vulnerable heart of hers kept her close to God. She knew of her need for Him.
I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.
That one quality, her need for her Savior, has greatly influenced my own life of faith. She deeply loved God and the way she lived her life showed the working out of being loved by Him. Her near-tears prayers impacted me and needing God seemed natural and right, not embarrassing or weak. He saved her from a life of bitterness and anger and she knew that. She humbly accepted the gift and did her best to show kindness and understanding to others.
Do you have a memory of a woman who influenced you just by being herself? Was it your own mother, a neighbor, or the choir director? Was yours a Sunday school teacher, an aunt or perhaps the little elderly woman who owned the Christian bookstore down the street?
Maybe she didn't know you were watching but something about her interested you and you remember. You watched and learned and formed decisions about who you are and who God is.
I had one whose job it was to love on me...my very own mama. Mothering was her gift, one she received and cherished. I'm thankful that my sister, brothers and I were able to be loved by one who genuinely loved God.
There are others in my life now who continue to encourage me as I long for a strong faith like theirs, or such a giving love.
- There's the quiet one who keeps showing up, soaking in the truth. Her faithfulness attracts me and I want to know more of her story.
- And there's the one who feels her feelings so strongly that a huge loss about killed her but she hung on, trusting her Savior in deep and abiding ways. When all is crazy, a hopeful joy ripples through her many words, big smile, open arms and true kindness.
- Oh, and the faithful one who gently asks if she can pray for me. "It's what I do," she says.
- Joy follows my dear friend around like a puppy and her enthusiasm smiles on us all. I wish for such brightness of spirit and the faithful way she lives out her ministry toward the sick and dying in her church.
- One I know and love is desperately hanging on to her faith. Disappointments keep her numb and fear overpowers her. I pray for relief. I watch her on the lonely path of waiting for God and the fight for trust while feeling deeply burdened.
- There is a young mama who speaks gently to her babies and holds dirty little hands while praying powerful prayers. Her love compels me toward selflessness.
- And there's the mama whose adult child stands by her side these many years. I long for and admire her generosity and unselfish living, in the midst of hard things.
- There is a gentle soul, wounded from the beginning, trying hard to believe the truth of her lovableness. I know God's favor surrounds her as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12) Persevering, one day she will know it too.
There are many faithful women, I call them spiritual mamas, doing the right thing for the right reasons. I see them and admire their determination to follow Christ and to let him love them and love through them. I am touched as others go ahead of me to live their lives from a central truth: God loves me deeply, so I can deeply love. Proverbs 31:30 tells me that a woman who fears the LORD is to be admired and praised. I watch and ponder how they are faithful to the calling they have received. My faith is affected as I see others faithfully living theirs out.
If you find yourself remembering someone who has influenced you in your faith, perhaps this would be the week, in light of Mother's Day, to send that someone a note, letting her know that how she lived her life mattered to you. Pick out one quality and just tell her. It will mean the world to her, believe me. We are a people unused to the deep telling of that which has formed these hearts of ours. Today would be a great day to turn that silence into a joyful statement of affirmation for a life that showed you a path on which to place your feet of faith.