When I was a teenager, I ran across a photo mosaic my mother made. She had taken small pictures of dozens of women to create a larger picture, and included a quote about faith. I asked her about it, and she told me that every woman whose picture was included in the collage had made an impact on her life and was an example to her of faith. I was surprised to see that, even though I was a teenager, my own picture was included! Now, a good twenty years later, that project still resonates with me.
My mother’s openness about the influence that others have had on the strength of her faith still inspires me to look around me for the women who influence my own faith. These examples are all around me! Whether older or younger, family or friend, near or far, there are women from every part of my life who have stood out as examples of faithful women. The diversity of these women creates a powerful image of sisterhood, reminding me that we are never alone as women of faith.
These women are diverse not only in their physical characteristics but in the way they demonstrated their faith as well. In Texas, a coworker of mine regularly led a Bible study group over her lunch period. She invited everyone (including me) to join her, regardless of the specifics of their faith. At a different company, I witnessed a supervisor start every day in prayer, hoping to start the day off on a faithful note.
Although I haven’t put together a physical picture of the examples of the faithful women in my life, I keep them in my heart and mind as a sort of “arsenal” for when I need advice, inspiration, and love. Having a diverse and faithful support system allows me to reach out to multiple people whose strengths vary. Through messages with friends, tearful conversations with in-laws, and judgment-free discussions with family, I have been able to be strengthened by the faith of women around me in a wide variety of challenges. I feel so blessed to have the support system I can call upon when needed.
I have noticed, as well, that having these conversations with friends and family has occasionally allowed me to be a support to others in their times of need. Thanks to an ongoing group text with former roommates, whenever one of us needs a figurative shoulder to cry on, the group comes together to lift each other up.
I am also fortunate to have a few friendships that have spanned over 25 years. These remarkable women have stood by me in every stage of my life, and it is a comfort to rely on the steadiness of their friendship and character. I am honored to have been called upon by these women when they are in need. Most of us struggle to actually ask for help, even when freely offered, and these women are no exception to that. I was pleased and humbled when they each asked for help in their individual situations – preparing freezer meals for one when her health and mobility was impacted, and helping prepare for an impactful life event for the other. These actions served as a reminder to me that allowing others to help us, especially when help is freely offered, can be an act of love in itself. Additionally, though the actions themselves were not directly faith-related, I still found it to be a faith-inspiring experience.
I recognize that the closeness of my connections may be unique, but I know that we all have impactful experiences thanks to the actions and examples of others. I challenge each of you to build a mosaic in your mind (or even physically!) of the images of those examples in your life. Let it support you through your difficult times and build you up to be the person you aspire to be!
Lead photo credit: Pexels.com
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