I am excited about this series for our blog. When it came down to me writing a post about one lady who has influenced my life, I couldn’t think of one who was the MOST influential, whether spiritually, or just practically. So after debating on whether I would just decline from posting this month or just making it happen, I realized that I have been influenced by so many women, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. So I have decided to make a list of a handful of women who have made an impression on my life and tell you a bit about each one.
Diane Qualls – (I know, moms aren’t supposed to be included in this post because we’ll feature that around mother’s day…but I will have much more to say then.) She is the most selfless woman I know. She taught me, by example, to love others…even when they are not loveable. I remember times as a Pastor’s daughter that people would try to hurt my parents and my mom would pray for them. She would even weep while she prayed, because she truly loved them and wanted God’s best for them.
Darcy Brown – I went to college with Darcy. She was known for her sweet spirit and testimony for the Lord. She married her high school sweetheart, Aaron, after her junior year at Crown. After they graduated, Darcy and Aaron headed up a traveling ministry team for the college. On June 4, 2004, Aaron, Darcy, Jonathan Pinkerton, Brad Askew, and David Childers were killed in a terrible accident. I remember Pastor Sexton talking about Darcy and saying that her apartment was full of sweet encouraging notes to her husband. Others also gave testimony about what an encourager she was. As I heard this, I remember not knowing how long it had been since I tried to encourage someone, while it seemed that I was always being encouraged by others. I asked the Lord to help me to make a conscious effort to be an encourager like Darcy.
Julie Kokenzie – I had the opportunity to work alongside Julie in the second hour teen department at church. I was drawn to her right away because she was REAL, and by that I mean genuine. She, unlike so many others, had no facade about her. She is humble and sweet…but not so sweet that she would not give you her honest opinion on a matter. I remember listening to her teach the Bible to the young ladies with wisdom from the Lord. As I listened, I remember thinking that I wanted the same spirit and wisdom as I taught others.
Melody Yates – I worked with Melody for a few years while I was teaching first grade, and we are still great friends. When I worked with her, she was the Elementary Supervisor at the Academy. One thing she taught me is to always bring children back to the Lord when you are disciplining them. Are they pleasing Him when they misbehave? Do they want to please Him? Sin will always brings unhappiness for us, for those we love, and for the Lord. This was such a help to me as a teacher, and now that I am a mother, it is even more of a blessing. Oh, there are times when I am so frustrated because my child is doing wrong, but I know that it is a matter of the heart and I LOVE that I can talk to her about the Lord when correcting her behavior.
Jocelyn Troell – I did my student teaching for Jocelyn. To be honest, it was while working with her that I knew the Lord wanted me to be a teacher. I learned so much from her, but one thing that struck me about her was her consistency with her students. When I asked her about it, she told me that children need structure and consistency. She had very high expectations for her students, because she knew what they were capable of. Instead of the students rebelling against her because of her demands, they loved her for it (and for many other reasons).
Rilla Daniel – I met Rilla several years ago when we worked together at Crown College. She became one of my close friends and we spent a lot of time together. I loved being around Rilla…she had the fragrance of Christ on her life. She taught me that Christ really can be your closest friend. I remember walking into her office several times when she was just talking away. When I asked her who she was talking to, she would say, “the Lord.” I had never met anyone so open and sincere about her love for her Savior.
These are just a few of the many women who have influenced my life. I am very grateful for the many wonderful people who the Lord has placed in my life, during the many different seasons. It is my prayer that the Lord will use me to influence other ladies as well, for His glory.