This post has been written from my heart to acknowledge the many women in my life who have uplifted, encouraged and walked beside me on this journey of life – but not only that, it’s for the women who follow Jesus with me. There are so many women in my life, Christians and those who are not, who bless me in so many ways. Thank you to all of you for being a part of my life and a friend in good times and hard times.
Today, I particularly want to thank Christian women in my life who I am deeply thankful for: those who have listened to my hurts, dreams and struggles, those who have prayed with me or for me, those who have spoken truth and life into the broken places of my heart, those who have celebrated the victories over the spiritual battles, those who spur me on to go deeper with God, those who gently lead me to the cross of Christ for forgiveness, those who accept me for who I am, yet encourage me to become more like Christ, those who share in my suffering, those who I have learnt from because of their triumphs and tribulations and so many other reasons besides.
Please, please, please note, I am not trying to offend or leave anyone out. There are just so many people I am thankful to God for placing in my life – I couldn’t write about every single person who blesses me, but consider yourself prayed for and thanked before God in my quiet times!
It’s important for me to write this post, as these ladies really have spoken into my life in ways that have impacted me spiritually in so many ways. I just want to say thank you 🙂
Whether reading God’s Word, listening and singing to praise & worship music, or praying with me over the phone or before bed (when I was living at home!), my mum is my number 1 spiritual warrior. Speaking about the Lord is as natural to her as breathing – she knows Him. The God of the Bible can be known personally – it sets Him apart from every other god that religion offers. When you receive God’s grace and forgiveness found in Christ’s sacrificial love for you, He is with you, in you and can be known.
Thank you mum for following the Lord and teaching me His truth. I now follow Him for myself and I have seen His faithfulness and steadfast love in your life. Continue in the good fight of faith – your mission field is one that is devoted to God and that impacts more people than you could ever realise.
Nicci has blessed me by encouraging and supporting me through so many aspects of my life. She helped me with my wedding dress fitting, has taken me to countless places for cups of tea and glorious walks, provided me with a place to eat and sleep whilst on work experience, supported me when I doubted my abilities with writing and study and so much more besides. She is my adopted mother in the South West and has become family to me.
Thank you for being there to share life with. Thank you for your infectious smile and enthusiasm for God and His church. You are such a blessing to me in so many ways. I am looking forward to reading all about what God is going to do in Uganda and you will be such a beacon of light to those you meet there. Will miss you heaps!
Dabi has taught me what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. She pursues Him in all that she does, she knows His love for her in a deep way and experiences Him in tangible ways that I long for. She has had to cope with suffering, loss and conflict from such a young age, and her response to each situation continues to reflect her steadfast love for God. His grace is on her life and I am so blessed that we have become close friends.
Thank you for showing me what it means to follow Christ – to carry my cross and follow Him wherever it may lead. I am so thankful that you came to live with me for a short time and that will always be imprinted in my mind and heart. You taught me what it meant to be a godly wife at the very early stages of marriage. We have laughed and cried so much together and I miss you every day.
4. Tania Vaughan
Tania made me realise that there are other Christian bloggers living in Devon – hurrah! We made contact through a Christian blog link-up (you will have to google that!) which was primarily filled with Christian writers from the USA. We were excited to realise we were both Brits living not too far away from one another and met in Plymouth at the Stilettos Conference. Her writing has encouraged me on so many occasions and she continues to uplift me in my own writing endeavours. She put my name forward to write for the Association of Christian Writers, always lets me know about writing opportunities and really believes in my words.
Thank you for supporting me in the bumpy terrain of writing for the Lord. It has blessed me to meet a fellow Christian writer and blogger who lives close by. I am thankful for your honesty and for listening to my fears as a writer, and your ability to calm me with words of encouragement.
5. Lis Haden
Sadly I don’t have a picture of Lis (this needs to change!), but we met at Hele Road Baptist Church in Torquay, Joel’s ‘home church’. With common ground of both our families living in Norfolk (where I’m from), we started chatting and the rest is history! She has been a listening ear through some of my heartache and has always been there to meet up and go for a walk with her wonderful dog Molly.
Thank you for listening to my struggles, for sharing your heart with me and for always making me feel welcome when I am back in Torquay. I appreciate your support in so many ways and I look forward to our next chat!
6. Della Nelson
Della is the wife of Marcus who officiated at our wedding, she has four wonderful children and is a wonderful friend. We shared a lot of time together in my final year of university where I would spend time with the children and help out where I could as she was pregnant with her third at the time! She taught me a lot about being a homemaker, a wife and a mother (the last of which I have yet to experience!) Such love for God is evident in every part of her life and I am thankful for all of the conversations we had about Jesus. Her home radiated with God’s love – that’s the kind of home I want to ensure I have for my family. Again, no picture!
7. Chris Livingstone
Chris and I have only just started to get to know one another at church, but she has become a spiritual mother to me. She has such a gentle, humble heart and has blessed me with her softly spoken words and love for God. We have had coffee and cake together and gotten to know one another these last few months in such a special way. I pray that I can continue to grow in the Lord and speak life and love to all that I meet, just like this wonderful lady.
Sylvia is the one who inspired me to write this post in the first place and she doesn’t even know it! I met this wonderful lady through Della’s husband, Marcus, who visited her at her home when he was living in Plymouth. He suggested that I visit her – she is a wonderful, elderly lady who struggles to get about, and the first time I was welcomed in her home, she put the kettle on and we had tea and biscuits – very English! She was an encourager from the start and was eager to hear all about me. We have spoken on the phone a few times, but I haven’t seen her since before I was married – coming up for two years! Even though we had only met a few times, she gave Joel and I a generous wedding gift. Her generosity will always stand out to me.
After my first or second visit she lent me three books: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Psalms to Soothe a Woman’s Heart and Eyes Turned Skyward. I am ashamed and embarrassed to say that after about two years, I still have the books! I didn’t have time to return them before I moved to Exeter (excuses, excuses) and have been meaning to go to Plymouth to visit her and return them.
This morning, I was reading Psalms to Soothe a Woman’s Heart, but my heart was far from soothed. These aren’t my books, I thought as I read the words. This feeling pushed me to call Sylvia for a catch up and confess my crime. She was delighted to hear from me and we caught up with each other’s news. I am so happy to hear that her son has since become a Christian and a chaplain in Australia! I apologised profusely about the books and said I was hoping to return them on my next trip to Plymouth so I could see her! With her big, generous and selfless heart she told me to ‘keep the books, dear!’ She continues to bless and encourage me, and I just hope that I can do the same for her and others that I meet.
To all the other spiritual warriors in my life:
I am thankful for all that you do for Christ and the gospel, and for the many ways you have encouraged me in the faith. Keep running the race for the Lord and know that it is not in vain. Do everything for His glory and continue to trust Him with whatever is going on in your life right now. You are loved and I am thankful for you.