This is a subject I AM PASSIONATE about to say the least, and one I am still working through with humility and grace. And one I hope to blog about much more and in much more detail! But for today, I want to focus on the celebration part and highlight 5 women that have been influential in my life. I should also note, that I have been ridiculously blessed to know some incredible women throughout my life and narrowing down the list to 5 was no easy task!
Oh and here's something awesome, I still get to see her all the time. Because sometimes when you invest in a kid at a young age, later on down the road they end up serving on staff at the church your husband pastors! God's cool like that.
Robyn is also a friend that has seen me in all stages and I have been able to see her in all stages as well. And, I have to tell you, she just continues to love Jesus more and more and it is truly inspiring. Watching the way Robyn loves her family and serves them, is something that pushes me strive to be the wife and mom I know Jesus desires me to be. She never backs down from a hard conversation, and is the kind of friend that will risk you being mad at her, if it means making you step up to be who God created you to be. She is beautiful inside and out…and oh yea, and she can freggin' bring it when she teaches God's word! The chick is the real deal, even when she doesn't want to be, and I am so thankful she is my friend.
But here is the cool thing about my hypothetical friend conversation when it comes to Sue, I did get to meet her! That was almost 2 years ago, and from that day on she has mentored me and made me truly believe maybe I do have what it takes to be a great Kid's Pastor. She is a constant source of encouragement to me and on days I want to throw in the towel, she doesn't let me. She has this crazy way of encouraging and letting you know when something is the dumbest idea ever without you ever really knowing it was in fact a dumb idea.
She has blazed a trail for so many in Kid's Ministry, but honestly she has blazed a trail for women in ministry in general. Her influence me and friendship in my life is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me!
Jen is my safe person. She is the person that I pray everyone at some point in their life gets to have a friend like Jen. She has seen me at my worse, with my mouth unfiltered and my heart hard and still choose to be my friend. She has talked me out of wanting to never talk to my husband again and challenged me to not see everything so black and white. Like the other 3 women, she has always believed in me. She has encouraged me to write, to speak, and to act on my convictions. She has never let me take the easy way, because she knows me well enough to know I would be so angry at myself later.
Recently God has called Jen to a different role in our Kid's Ministry (from associate to campus pastor), and to say that there are moments I am not taken over by sadness thinking about her moving to another office and not seeing everyday would be lying. But I also know that God has HUGE plans for Jen, that I would never want to get in the way of! She is kind, can make a friend with ANYONE (literally it is sickening), encouraging, "Aunt Jen" to my kids, beautiful and really emotional! She is my best friend and I could not imagine life without her.
Why did she do that, you ask? Because no one on this earth has been more convinced that God has a plan and purpose for my life so much bigger than any of us, like my mom. Even before my mom was really following Jesus, she would tell me to be sure to stay out of trouble because I was going to do something big. I don't think either one of us fully understood that, but it did not matter.
My mom has always sacrificed herself, to make sure I was successful, taken care of and provided for well past just what I needed. I am certain most of my existence put my parents in massive amounts of debt, but never once did they complain, they only supported. While, growing up in my parent's house, I never once thought I couldn't do something. I had no reason to think that (not just because I was so ridiculously spoiled) but because my parents never told me otherwise. If I ever said I wanted to do something, my mom never once mentioned why it may not work, she just helped me put together a plan to make it happen.
My mom is the strongest woman I know, and while I am confident I get my sarcasm and "whit" from my dad, I get my determination, strength and ability to muscle my way through any circumstance from her. I love her beyond words and I am so glad my daughters get to have that example growing up that I did.