My friend, Erin, from Home with the Boys is hosting 31 Days of Being a Woman on her blog. This past weekend, she wrote about influence - how we influence others and others whom influence us. She asked us to write a post about the woman/women who influence us.
What a hard prompt. I have women who influence me in different areas (fashion, parenting, loving others, being a wife, fitness). I don't have ONE woman, ONE friend who totally influences me in everything right now. While I still haven't found that one person who I can call when I'm feeling down or who I feel I can talk to about everything, I've come to realize I don't need one person to be the BESTEST BEST friend ever. I have different friends who are in my life for different reasons. Not every woman in my life is going to be referenced but each one does influence me in one way or another; whenever you're in contact with a person, you are an influence to one another.
In the area of mothering, I draw influence from my friend Elly who is the most patient woman I've ever met. I can let that better be bitter (which sometimes I am so jealous of her patience and calm demeanor) OR I can aspire to better myself to becoming like her. Elly is a former school teacher, so she claims that helps her be patient; but if you met her mom, you can tell it's also how she was raised! My friend has two sons, like me. Her older son is a rambunctious boy and her other is such a cutie pie, not even yet a toddler. I just really appreciate watching her mother her children and the calm she brings over myself.
Another mom that I admire is Jenny. This woman is a Proverbs 31 woman. She works outside of the home one day a week, stays home with her preschooler the other days, has two school aged kiddos, is very involved in our church's new campus (her husband leads it all). Another very patient, calm woman (I find myself drawn to those calmer than myself) with a lot on her plate but always takes time to say hello to me at preschool pick-up or drop-off. We share a love of The Hunger Games trilogy! But what I love most about Jenny is how she prays and uses Scripture to influence her parenting. I try to emulate that: "Moose, you need to obey your parents" or "that's not honoring your mom and dad." I don't think I have it down as well as she does but I'm learning.
Kara is probably one of my closest friends here. She is beautiful and such a blessing to me. Always a kind word on her lips, she is the epitome of elegance. The way she dresses, the way she writes emails (can an email be elegant?), the way she makes you feel so welcome in her home. Kara is a lady. Her older two kids are my kids' ages (we also have great taste in names as our second children share a name) and a new baby girl. If there was ever a Supermom, Kara is that. From her, however, it's not how nice she dresses or how lovely her house is (although those are both true) but it's her heart. She thinks to include me often: on playdates, when she's gone through her closet, and even most recently thinking of my family when her family received a meal for the new baby that wasn't her kids' favorite. This is a woman who gives with her heart.
Kim, Jackie, and Gina are favorite influences of mine because they are real! These women have shared their walks with the Lord with me. I feel like I can be real with them because they have been real with me. They make me laugh. J & G are no wall-flowers (and I mean that in a wonderful way) so you know that when they say something, they mean it. They don't beat around the bush; what a breath of fresh air they are. They both have at least a kid older than my own and then at least one son around the age of my boys, so I can glean from their experience. Just soak it in! Kim is someone I can just relax with - she is so easy going. Her daughter fought for her life from birth and what a rock this mama has been. And yet you don't see that struggle, you see the joy of the Lord just shining. Amazing.
Linda is a lady I consider my mentor. Her daughters are around my age and I have already learned so much about mothering from her. She has a real take on life and walking with the Lord - it's not always perfect but the heart is what matters. She's lovely outside (for real!) and truly lovely inside. She's always up for a chat...I'm sure she would be on the phone, too, but I just am not good at calling people on the phone. Big A & I were on a date and passed by her house, saw her and her hubby outside, and ended up stopping for a few hours! As a couple, they have helped us grow in the Lord so much. Linda even taught me to can, which I know was difficult for her because she is so efficient and likes things just to get done, so teaching me how to can tomatoes was probably painstaking because of my slowness/newness. But I never felt rushed or unwelcome; she says it's hard for her to slow down to teach but you would never feel it. Linda is grace and a great example for me to follow in as I try to become more Christ-like.
This may not seem like incredible influence compared to other people's influences, but I have gained so much in my walk with the Lord, my parenting, my marriage. I just feel so loved by these women and I hope that I'm influencing them in some way, also.
*Keep in mind that I have several other women who have and do influence me, too. I wrote about the ones that I have been influencing me recently. *
I pray you have women influencing you right now, too. If you do and want to have a chance at a gift certificate from The Rusted Chain, go to Home with the Boys before Friday to link up your post.