Today as I was journaling for class, my mind focused on heroines. Who are the people I admire? Who are the people that have inspired me and challenged me in some way over the years? What characteristics about those people motivated me to think and act differently? For some reason, I've never spent a lot of time chewing on this topic and since my son took a 3 hour nap today (woohoo!), I started listing those people.
I won't name all of them, but here are some women from all different periods and backgrounds who--for different reasons--inspire me and encourage me to be a little better:
1. My aunt: She worked so hard for many years without complaining and yet remained cheerful and constantly giving to others. She listened to me as if I were the only person in the room and knew how to make people feel special.
2. A friend and mentor, who shared her many years of wisdom with me. After some terribly painful experiences in life, she kept pushing through the awful stuff to find God. Once her children were grown, she went to graduate school, earned her doctorate, and found new avenues to help others and use her gifts.
3. Mother Teresa, because she was unbelievably selfless and tireless in her efforts to serve others. She started out with no resources but herself and her time, yet she gave what she had. Her quiet example of service caught the world's attention, though she never wanted the spotlight for herself.
4. Corrie ten Boom, because she lived through indescribable horror and pain in a Nazi prison camp, yet still chose forgiveness and love over bitterness and anger. For many years after the war and her release, she devoted herself to sharing God's love with others all over the world.
5. Sacagawea: She was another tough chick! A young woman trekking through the wilderness with a group of men, giving birth, hiking with a newborn, sharing her resourceful knowledge for survival, all in the untamed territory! She puts the rest of us trekker--wannabe's to shame.
6. Joni Eareckson Tada: Given a disability that may seem hopeless to some, she has chosen to use that challenge as a vehicle to help others. Though much of her body is paralyzed, her spirit is not!
7. Sheila Walsh: After suffering a personal and professional meltdown in a public way, she chose to be humble, search for God, hear some hard truths and put those to work in her life. Now her gifts are being used in a powerful way to reach thousands of women with love and God's word.
8. Kristin Armstrong: She also experienced a public heartbreak when she and Lance were divorced. She has found her voice with writing and running as well as speaking engagements. I have enjoyed reading her books and can appreciate her honest attempts to live with grace through parenthood and the adventures of daily life.
9. Rosa Parks: Courage abounds here! She bravely chose to stand her ground and do what was right in the face of an frightening and hate-filled atmosphere.
10. Julia Child: She took a cooking class at 36, and discovered a whole new passion. Her unique character and love for cooking shone for decades after that first class.
I could go on...but I won't. I feel so blessed when men and women share their gifts, their courage, and their example with others so that we can learn. These women were truly trekkin' through some tough stuff but kept going anyway and they had the opportunity to see beauty rise from ashes.