Have you ever asked yourself, what is a Christian woman, and how can I endeavor to be one in a world filled with crooked paths and crumbling spiritual infrastructure? Do you find yourself confused, or discouraged as you strive to be more like the woman described in Proverbs 31, or Ruth in her humility, or Queen Esther in her bravery?
Perfection will never be ours until we are standing in heaven before Father God and throwing our crowns at the feet of Jesus. In our journey to get to that moment, we can get so tired, lonely, and disparaged. Is there a cure for this? Let me tell you about someone who has helped me on my journey.
I come from a long line of God-fearing and God-following women. I can’t imagine what my life today would be like if even one of them was missing from our family tree. They are each a testament to the beauty of womanhood, and the one closest to me is my mother.
Her name is Karla, and she was born in rural Indiana, USA, to a carpenter/farmer named John and his wife Lorna. She is a Proverbs 31 kind of woman. She is like Ruth, and also like Esther. What makes me say this? The three qualities I see in her that shine the brightest are compassion, loyalty, bravery, and a healthy dose of an adventurous spirit. I often see these qualities working together in her life.
When I was growing up, she used to tell us stories about when she moved up here to Canada, to a small northern town to help her college friend’s mother care for twenty-one foster children. Can you imagine the laundry piles in that house?
Then, when I was around twelve years old, we went to an evening service at our church (we crossed the USA/Canada border multiple times a week for this) and met three beautiful people from Central America. They only spoke Spanish and were looking for help. They told Mom–who speaks a bit of Spanish–that they were looking for a way for the woman with them to cross the border safely. She was pregnant and in danger from people in her hometown.
After the service, Mom piled all of her kids into her twelve-seater van, and we took this woman home with us. I remember pulling up to customs and the border guard saying. “Hello! On your way home from church?” They were just about to wave us through when Mom made direct eye contact and said, “Today, we need to come in.”
This dear woman lived with us for about six months as her paperwork passed its way through different levels of Canadian immigration. Mom took her to Catholic services every week, even though we were attending a Pentecostal church. She took her to all her prenatal appointments and helped her find Spanish-speaking friends in town so she wouldn’t feel so lonely.
I’ll never forget what it was like to watch Mom interact with this woman. I don’t think she will ever fully realize the impact her act of obedience to the Holy Spirit has had on me. To this day, Mom loves to drive places and meet new people. She’s extended her hands of compassion into too many lives to count.
The last two years have been especially difficult as she’s helped care for multiple family members as health problems have threatened to take them from us. I’ve seen her tired, I’ve seen her broken, I’ve seen her spark for adventure dim just a bit. But never once has she let go of Christ and his call on her life as a believer to love deeply, and walk boldly with Him.
Mom isn’t perfect and there isn’t anyone that knows that better than herself, but she shines Christ’s light so brightly.
Yes, I have a string of legacy layers that have come before me, and Mom is just one of them. I often wonder how my small brick of time is going to rest alongside theirs. Then I remember, my brick lies on top of their strong straight lines, and they rest on Christ.
Do you have a woman like my mother in your life? Maybe you are the first Christian in your family, the first to line your time brick with his cornerstone. If so, I am so proud of you, and I want you to know you are not alone.
Look around you at the people God has brought into your life. Look at the ones that bear his image. Do you know why he’s gifted them to you? To lay your brick beside and start your own legacy of Christ’s followers.
Do you also come from a line of believers? When was the last time you sat back and thought about the lives of the women that came before you? I thank God for his Word the Bible, and also his generous gift of mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunties, friends, teachers, and anyone else I come into contact with who shares my faith.
We are not meant to do this “being a woman of Christ” thing alone. When we realize this, it opens up the possibility to be part of rebuilding, realigning, and refocusing that crumbling spiritual infrastructure I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
This all sounds really grand, doesn’t it? But I also want to remind you that great things always start with small things. Every wall starts with one first brick, and as long as we let that first brick be Christ himself, great things will come from each small one.
This is a guest piece by Mary Grace van der Kroef.
Mary Grace van der Kroef is a poet, writer, and artist from Ontario, Canada. She enjoys the simple things in life, like a good cup of coffee and heart-to-heart talks with friends. She uses her writing to highlight those simple things while encouraging others and exploring what it means to be human. Her poetry books Words of Weight and The Branch that I Am are available online world wide and her home on the web is www.marygracewriting.ca.
Linkedin: Mary Grace van der Kroef
Looking for a good book? Go here.