When I turned 30, I invited 30 women who have been influencers in my life to join me for a weekend in Whistler, BC. Some were women I’ve known my whole life, like my mother or aunt and others were new friends; some were 50+ years my senior, like Anne Waterton (I wrote about her here) and others were younger than me. As I prepared the invitation list, I counted my blessings because each woman was/is a blessing and an influencer to me. I’ve always put a strong value in having women in my life and I give them opportunity to speak into my life. Many are older and I value their experience and wisdom, and even if my choices are different, I listen and consider their counsel.
This week on Kingdom Bloggers, we are giving honour to someone who has influenced us. Come along with us as we give honour to people who have been special for us and join the conversation and let us know who has influenced you.
Remember when Sunday School was before church and everyone in the family had a class to go to? The journey with Ena started in grade 8; she was my Sunday School teacher. I was drawn to her by her easy laugh (I still hear it in my head, as I write this) and her smile like a mischievous fairy. She was a co-conspirator, I sensed it from the beginning and I was glad she moved up with us in grade 9 and continued to teach Sunday School.
In grade 10, I was no longer attending church and I didn’t like youth group but I was committed to the discipleship program for high school students. It was a mid-week Bible study with two high school student and one leader; typically leaders would commit for 3 years. As you probably guessed, my discipleship leader was Ena.
I can’t remember one thing we learned but I didn’t need to study the Bible, I could see it in action in Ena. Ena was the pastor’s wife, and although I thought it was an unfortunate thing to be a pastor’s wife, she seemed to defy my preconceived ideas that a pastor’s wife’s life was unfulfilling (this was when I was totally career minded – a husband and children were not going to hold me back). She lived her faith on Sunday and every other day of the week. In those three years, a lot of life happened for her – her youngest daughter was pregnant at 18, her oldest daughter was raped, and her only son divorced.
I’m certain we were of no assistance to her in those difficult times. Even worse, at 16 I was sure the world revolved around me but despite my self-absorption, I watched her walk through each devastating circumstance clinging to faith and believe God is always good. She was the first woman I knew to have a relationship with God. (My mother did as well, but I was a teenager and too self absorbed to notice until I was in my 20s.)
I left the 1-traffic light town I grew up as soon as I was able but when I return to the place I grew up (usually about once a year), I make it a priority to connect with Ena. We gather at our favourite restaurant to have a cup of tea and share testimony of the goodness of God. Over the years and across the miles Ena is still speaking into my life and she definitely is on the Top 40 @ 40 guest list.