Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the women’s conference at my church. It was awesome to be in the presence of so many women who are seeking God, too. This was the weekend that we released the Chinese lanterns into the sky (see the picture here) and it was just awesome.
This month has been taxing, to say the least. I’ve had a couple of my close friends receive devastating news, I’ve been super busy and so has my husband, and we’re in the middle of moving my husband’s office to a new location. Not to mention that just plain ol’ normal life is happening all around me at what is seeming to be a breakneck speed!
With all of this, I’ve been struggling to be a good mom, good wife, good friend, good citizen…just struggling to stay awake, really. How’s that for honesty? Ha!
I have been feeling really insecure about my performance as a wife and mother in this season of life. Like my contribution to my family has been small. Coincidentally, the topic of the women’s conference all weekend was about exactly this — He’s funny like that, isn’t He?
In trying to be a good wife and mom, I’m concerned about how I am doing at being a Spartan mother to my Spartans, which is what I so long to do. On top of that, I’m so acutely aware of how much need there is around me, and I worry that I’m not contributing enough to fulfill those needs for other people. I want my children to think outside of themselves and be constantly looking for ways to be Jesus to other people, and it’s important to me that I model that for them.
But what can I do about all of that when I’m just trying to keep my head above water?!
That’s where the conference really hit home for me. The pastor of our church, Cal Jernigan (I’m pretty sure the only man in sight for the weekend, since the rest had fled at the sight of the wave of estrogen that descended upon the church) spoke about the incredible calling God has for women.
And I’d like to share a little bit of that with all of you! It was a message of hope for me, and I hope it is for you, too.
Cal started the weekend by asking a very simple question. I’ll ask it of you, too.
What influential woman (past or present) would you most like to meet?
Got your answer?
I thought he was going to start naming some characteristics that most influential women had in common, or what it was about them that made them so influential in the first place. I thought he’d fire us up with some good attributes to aspire to in our quest to becoming women of influence.
But he didn’t.
He hit us with another question. A question that was answered by men.
“Who is the most influential woman you have ever met?”
And do you know what an overwhelming majority of them answered? Their mom, and (if they had one) their wife.
Hold up. What?
A man stood up on that stage and told a room of 1,000 women that they are the biggest influences on the men and children in their lives, and that our influence is not to be understated or undervalued. He pointed out that no man in the world has given more value to women than Jesus. He gave dignity to women who had been stripped of all dignity. He trusted women first with the news of His resurrection because of their wisdom and intuition.
It is important for me, and for all women, to understand our influence — even that we have influence at all. If this gift is misunderstood, it could be misapplied. If I influence no one else, I am influencing the very children that God trusted me to raise, and the man He chose to be my partner to help me do it. It is my job to guide these boys into men and to honor and support the man whose job it is to model what that growth looks like.
It’s not that I don’t have influence or that I won’t make a difference. It’s what I do with that influence that matters.
It’s not a question of, “Will I or won’t I have influence?”
It’s a matter of, “How will I use the influence I have?”
So in this season of my life, I’m finding that it’s important for me to recognize that my family is looking for someone to encourage, support, guide and champion for them. And I’m the influence that is shining the brightest.
Am I pointing them to Jesus?
Am I full of forgiveness and grace? Are my words kind and my hands loving? Is my attention focused? Do I rejoice in both times of trouble and times of gladness? Am I teaching them to be determined and dedicated?
In short, no.
Oh, but how wonderful that we have Jesus! He is able to draw my family to Him if I am humble and willing to acknowledge my own weakness and inability. Jesus can use us any time and any place. Even if it’s just that I can make lunch with a smile. Maybe that’s exactly what they need become Spartans this week.
We have influence, no matter who or where we are. It’s what we do with it that matters.
Just out of curiosity, how would you answer that question?
What influential woman would you most like to meet?
Leave it for me in the comments!
P.S. One of mine would be Mary (the mother of Jesus). Can you imagine?!