It’s a day that feels like any other. Except for one small thing… today marks yet another completion of a trip around the sun. I am the ripe old age of twenty-eight today. Closing in on the big 3-0, exactly two years away (which I’m super excited about, for the record). Yesterday I reflected on where I am from, and today I have on my heart some of the many people that spoke into my life or influenced my life in such a way as to help shape me into the woman I am now. So, I thought it would be fun to list twenty-eight people that have come and gone (or perhaps are still around!) in my life and left me changed for the better.
1. Mrs. Allen. My Grade One teacher. A colouring book and crayons as items on our required school supplies list. My love for art was encouraged and affirmed, and to this day I consider myself to have an artist’s soul.
2. The girl who picked on me on the school bus ride home every day in grade four. I think her name was Courtney. In her random and immature mean-spiritedness, she taught me that my self-worth does not come from others. She also taught me that I like myself, that I am strong-hearted, and that I don’t define myself by someone else’s standards.
3. Mrs. Fraser. My Grade Two teacher who loved Elvis and celebrated with a giant party in our classroom. She taught me how to be silly and that sometimes life is a party.
4. Krista (Trail) Rose. My first childhood best friend. Sleepovers galore, and a lesson in loyalty and friendship.
5. Kate (Soucy) Selig. A kindred spirit such like I’ve only experienced a very few times in life. Late-night chats on the dock at camp about God, life, boys, and growing up. The human connection of two hearts that “get” each other, and care for one another.
6. My family. Limitless descriptors apply here. Among the most important would be the importance of traditions, togetherness, simple living, and Christ-following.
7. My in-laws. 10 years+ of living life stuff together. Being knit into this family as one of their own, loved unconditionally. Lessons of perseverance, loyalty, and concern for one another.
8. My children. What rich blessings and hard teachers they are to me. I learn lessons everyday from being their mama. Patience, a joyful attitude, gratitude, kindness, selflessness. My children are my spiritual mirror – I need only to look at them and how I am mothering them to see where I am at with God. Most of the time, I beg for grace, and they give it without reserve. Every single time.
9. Best Friends #1 (The Carson’s). They are only listed first because we knew them first . A friendship so rich and deep that we are brothers and sisters in every way except by blood. The importance of being a quiet and unassuming place to fall back on, someone to count on for anything we need.
10. Best Friends #2 (The Coker’s). Also our brothers and sisters. Beautiful examples of intentional living, honouring God with our minds, and self-sacrifice for the sake of others.
11. Sam and Bonnie Thomas. Career missionaries that mentored us, loved on us, inspired us, urged me to come work for them, and believed in us as a young couple.
12. Not a specific person… but… anyone who has ever complimented my writing (or other creative endeavour). One of my main love languages is words of affirmation, which is strongly apparent in my creative pursuits and any encouraging words I receive, especially if they are spontaneous. I am spurred on to believing in my abilities and encouraged towards self-improvement and self-discipline.
13. Terry and Kyle. Middle school youth leaders. So NOT my calling… but I remember being loved and encouraged toward Godliness by these patient and understanding leaders. Patience, patience, patience. The importance of pouring into young people’s lives and affirming them in their growing-up.
14. Pam. The girl in youth group that was oh-so-different. My middle school self befriended her simply because I had been taught and modeled kindness towards the unpopular/strange/awkward folks. Through her I learned compassion and respect for people as God created them.
#’s 15-28 to come!
Who has influenced your life? Have you recognized the life lessons that you’ve learned along the way?
I’d love to hear some stories!