One year in elementary school, I had the assignment of identifying someone I saw as a role model and writing a short paper explaining what it was about them that inspired me or made me what to be like them.
I remember staring blankly at my paper, waiting for a really cool and famous figure to pop into my mind. Surely I would be able to think of someone who my classmates would be impressed with.
I was never into sports, and Michael Jordan was about the only famous athlete whose name I knew. And that was only because of Space Jam and commercials for Ball Park® hot dogs.
Scratch famous athlete.
I knew my musical limits well enough to know that I could not truthfully claim Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, or Baby Spice as my role models. Knowing all the lines to their greatest hits did not equal the potential to be or sound like them. How would I write a whole paper on that?
Scratch favorite musicians.
My classmates were already busy scribbling down their thoughts and ideas and I began to panic, feeling behind.
Okay Heather, think. Who do you look up to? Who would you want to be like?
My hand began to move almost before I could process my thoughts, and suddenly I had my subject:
“Mom: My Role Model”
I don’t remember what grade I got on that paper, but I do remember being slightly embarrassed to let my friends know what I wrote about. I was afraid I would come off sounding like a goodie-two-shoes, trying to be cute and overly sensitive. But I wasn’t; I was just being honest.
As I went through high school and college I learned about many women who changed history, held powerful jobs, and some who won prestigious awards. I’ve listened to women speak who have spent their lives pouring over research on a mission to discover something new. I’ve met women who are sharp and business minded and those whose numerous talents leave you wondering what it is that they can’t do. These women are incredible women; all who are highly gifted and contribute so much to our world. There are so many attributes these women have that I often wish I had more of.
But I have found as a “young professional” myself, that the women in my life who have impacted and inspired me the most, are ones who would probably tell you that there is little special about them.
In truth, they are extraordinarily special. But in moments of self-doubt, many of them compare what they’ve done with their lives to others they define as successful, and feel as if they fallen short.
I’ve realized over the last year, how wrong these women are in their thinking.
You see, as a little girl I watched my mother wake up early to spend some time alone, in quietness, with the Lord. Her nose in her Bible, her head bowed, seeking out the mysteries of God and bringing before Him requests for those she loves; prayers that at times I’m sure she questioned whether or not were heard. Yet all my life, with every boo-boo and every broken heart, my mom prayed with me and encouraged me to do the same.
Whenever I need some “serious” prayer, I pick up the phone and call my mom. I know she will be faithful to pray, and I know the prayers of her heart do not fall deaf on God’s ears. I have a mother who is a prayer warrior.
My mother has modeled to me how to live faithfully to God, when no one is looking, and when life is hard and painful. My mother gives to others compassionately, thinking first of their joy and last of herself. My mother has lived the truth that God’s love is all you need. That each day of seeking God in our weakness builds a rock-solid foundation of devotion to God; one that will last an eternity. What greater gift could she have given me? These are the treasures that I dream of passing along to my children. In this, I hope to be just like my mother.
She may not change the world with a cure for cancer, but she has changed my world with her noble character. And the Lord calls this “far more worthy than rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10),
My favorite part of my current job is the women I work with. I will forever remember the conversations we have, and lessons I learn about life as they share their stories with me.
These are women who have in many ways, walked through fire and survived. Some have lost a child, some have painfully battled infertility, some battle loneliness, some have lost a husband, some have children with special-needs, some with failing health, and some struggle with a feeling of disappointment at where their life has gone.
I listen as many of these women tell me how they cling to Jesus in their pain. How they don’t give up hope, and how God comes through for them each time. And I am reminded that no matter what life throws at you, there is victory in Jesus Christ; that no matter what is taken from me, I will never be alone. And each day that I learn this, I feel some of my fear at what life could do to me, being chipped away. Because I can look into the eyes of conquerors; ordinary women with real problems whose lives are saved and changed by Jesus, and know that I am going to be okay.
These women may question their purpose some days, but I look at Jesus working in their lives and I see His great purpose that changes the world. I see His kingdom being furthered by ordinary women who aren’t afraid to share the hope they have found in Him. And I am encouraged and inspired.
Inspired to chase what God has in store for me, and encouraged by the evidence of God’s power.
As I grow up, I want to be like these women in so many ways. I want a steadfast faith and noble character that impacts those around me. This, is how I define success.
These women have taught me so much, and have changed me and my world. I consider these women to be real role models.
“She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”