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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Bloom Where You’re Planted
By Heather North
“I have often wondered about the wild flowers,” she said. “It does seem strange that such unnumbered multitudes should bloom in the wild places of the earth where perhaps nobody ever sees them and the goats and cattle can walk over them and crush them to death. They have so much beauty and sweetness to give and no one on whom to lavish it, nor who will even appreciate it.”
The look the Shepherd turned on her was very beautiful. “Nothing my Father and I have made is ever wasted,” he said quietly, “and the little wild flowers have a wonderful lesson to teach. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return.
“I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only the few understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.”
― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places
When I was in my teens, and even through college I was blessed to be surrounded by prayer warriors. Yet it was those I didn’t really even know that stand out to me now as I ponder back over my life. My mom would regularly help out her elderly friends from church with rides to appointments or grocery shopping, but most of all with the regular gift of her time to visit them. I was the recipient of my mom’s faithfulness in many ways. She would share about her family with these precious ladies during her visits. And they would pray. And they prayed faithfully- for me. What a privilege to be covered in prayer through those YEARS by such women of faith.
Sophie Kozlouski, Sylvia Thompson, and Christine Douglas were like the beautiful wildflowers in Hannah Hurnard’s story. During the years I knew them they were mostly forgotten by the world around them. Once married -now widowed, once surrounded by the laughter of children and family – now grown and moved on, once young and vivacious – now aged and dependent, once queen of their home – now living alone or in nursing homes. Sophie, living alone in a big old stone house, widowed with kids far away loved to share her lunch. Sylvia was a neighbor to whom we would often give a ride to church- she and I also shared a birthday. And my mom loved to tell the stories of Christine – if Christine was dealing with thoughts that nagged at her from the evil one she would grab her broom and “sweep Satan away” with Bible verses from her heart!
These women shared a common thread that greatly impacted my own personal spiritual growth, in each one I saw a faithful acceptance of where God had led them each to be. And in that acceptance, they had grown hearts that longed to lift others up to their heavenly father. Their lives were anything but easy by then, yet their focus was not on their situations but on their savior. As I enter the second half of my years, may I choose also, to grow to become a woman of prayer and to encourage those planted around me.
Heather North is the administrative assistant here at by design. She and her husband Gary live in NH and have three adult children. Trinity Baptist Church in Nashua has been her home church forever and she loves to serve there. Most recently she is serving as a Stephen Minister, caring for people. She enjoys learning new things and being mentored by those who know more. Audiobooks are frequent walking and driving companions. Some favorite hobbies include spring garden prepping and planting, reading, sitting by a fire, camping, and crocheting.