This year’s Summer Sampler is about “Women Who Have Changed Our Lives,” the women who have inspired or encouraged us in our spiritual walk. These are the unsung heroes of the faith, the Sunday School teachers and neighbors and friends who were instrumental in our spiritual growth. No matter who we are or where we come from, God can use us to make a difference for eternity. And he calls all of us! We’re hoping that these stories will inspire and encourage you that you, too, can make a difference in the spiritual life of another woman.
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By Jessi Crawley
When I first met Barbara back in March of 2021, I was going through a particularly challenging time in my life. I had been dealing with a severe health issue for the past nine months, with no answers from doctors and no healing in sight. I had reached out to Barbara for help and guidance. Not only was my health struggling but my marriage was suffering. I found out about Barbara through a support group I was part of online. I reached out to her, not knowing what to expect. This was during the pandemic so, like every other meeting around the world, we met on Zoom. From that first meeting I had no idea the work that God was going to do in my life. I had originally reached out to her to help me navigate my marriage, but little did I know that over the next 12 months my counseling with her would feel like she was peeling back layers in getting to the root of my distress and chronic anxiety.
Not long after our first few counseling sessions, she quickly became a friend. One thing that she told me early on is that when I feel like life is tossing like the waves of the sea, I can stand on the Rock and not be moved. If my mind is fixed on Christ, I can have stability in my mind no matter what’s happening around me. She not only had compassion, but she lovingly kept me accountable and responsible for my choices. Sadly, for so long I had felt like life was happening to me. Barbara helped me see clearly. I never felt condemned by her correction and guidance – convicted, absolutely, but never condemned. I have always been a sensitive person and have prayed often for God to strengthen me and help me to be more resilient, calm, and peaceful and not to be carried away by my anxieties. During my time with Barbara, God has answered that prayer in ways I honestly never thought he would. Everyone who gets into counseling is not necessarily gifted to counsel. It takes being able to wisely apply both compassion and truth. The Lord has undoubtedly gifted Barbara with this ability. She has counseled and discipled me and has taught me that it is possible to become a woman who does not fear the future.
During my time with Barbara, she has helped me renew my mind. I now realize that I never fully grasped what it meant to renew my mind and change the way I think. I am so grateful that God brought her into my life. She always encouraged me to keep my eyes on Jesus. Through her discipling me I have been able to be victorious over my anxiety and frequent panic attacks. My mind is finally free. My health has improved dramatically, and my marriage has gone through tremendous healing. God does not always answer prayers in the way that I think he will or in the time I would like him to. He answered my prayers by humbling me so that I would learn how to depend fully on him and not on what I see. This post is only a glimpse of what the past year has been like and what the Lord has accomplished in my life. I am grateful that he allowed me to connect with Barbara at the perfect time.
Jessi Crawley lives in NH with her husband Patrick and their two children. She grew up in San Antonio, TX, and attended the University of North Texas. After college, she pursued a career in buying for a children’s boutique in New York City, and then at Zappos in Las Vegas. After meeting her husband, they settled here in NH where he grew up. She now stays home with their sweet little ones, but still pursues various interests and hobbies which include financial coaching, and baking some of the best cakes and French macarons on the planet (https://www.facebook.com/leafpeepbakery/), the perfect outlets for her creativity and skills learned throughout her career.