I call her my spiritual mom. We aren’t linked biologically but through the things of God. She’s been a constant in my life for over ten years, and we’ve shared many conversations and events. Without meaning to, or possibly knowing she has, Nancy has taught me many things. I thought it would be insightful to share these priceless morsels. It may sound like I’m bragging, but bear with me. I’m hoping one or two might be meaningful to you!
- Listen well. We meet for coffee every two weeks. She hears all about my life, and I about hers – the joys, the hardships, and the ordinary bits in-between. She doesn’t interrupt or only talk about her news, but gladly listens to mine. She’s never in a rush to leave. She has shown me that true listening makes time and takes time, and that listening well shows you care.
- Remember to remember. She remembers names, dates, and events. I’ll receive a text from her before a significant event that usually reads, “Praying for you…” among other well wishes. She frequently pulls out a mini calendar to note important dates and remembers to pray about them. She follows-up and keeps my husband, kids, and even my friends in mind too. She does the same for her children and grandchildren. This habit of remembering demonstrates her affection and shows others they matter.
- Pray, believe, and be thankful. By her posture of grace, she demonstrates that even if God doesn’t do what we pray for in quite the way we pray for it, we don’t lose heart or quit. She looks for what He’s up to instead, then celebrates when He lets her in on it. Through all sorts of situations, she lives out 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
- Share everything. She doesn’t keep the riches she’s received from God to herself but shares that wealth with anyone within her circle of influence. She shares her time, her resources, her finances, and her wisdom. She’ll pray with anyone who might need some TLC, or will share something she’s learned if she thinks it might help.
- Listening to God. She lets God lead her days and keeps herself open to interruption, direction, and possibilities. She might refer to it as “flowing with God’s Spirit” and her graceful stride is in step with His. I giggle at some of the places He leads her, but being open to the Holy Spirit allows her to travel on “God assignments” that often involve others being blessed in the process.
- Refuse to judge. Although thirty years older, she never makes me feel un-spiritual or tells me what I should to do. She leaves that kind of work to God. She believes the best in people and gives her best to them as she serves and loves others.
- Encourage others. I always leave Nancy better than I came: lifted up and honoured. She offers timely words of encouragement in a text or card, or slips a blessing in for good measure. She’ll drop off a book, email an article, or text me about events she knows I’m interested in. She tells me in-person, and through word and deed, that I matter. I know she does the same for others.
- Be friendly. Being an introvert, I may at times default to minimal interactions in public situations. During our bi-weekly visits at the coffee shop, Nancy does the opposite. She keeps an eye out and makes an effort to say hello to those she knows. She inquires how they, or their mother, brother, or sister, are doing. She asks so she can pray and listen for a possibility to provide help or comfort. I’m amazed how many people she knows and how she keeps all their names, circumstances, and connections straight.
- Don’t let your past define you. Nancy’s grace walk displays a woman who actively deals with the past but doesn’t live in it or let it dictate who she is today. She doesn’t waste time looking back but optimistically looks forward, and often reminds me, “The best is yet to come.”
- Be humble. She doesn’t think she’s arrived, but continues to learn and grow. She doesn’t brag about things she’s done; her actions speak for themselves. She doesn’t tear others down. I never hear her complain. The only thing she wishes more of is God. The only one she wishes she were more like is Jesus.
- Forgive. She keeps short accounts and lives peaceably with others. She doesn’t hang on to offences. I’ve never heard her speak ill of another person. She suggests to come at offenders with the opposite spirit. For instance, if someone is acting out in anger, instead return gentle words of compassion.
- Seek God. She spends time alone with God, regularly worships with other believers, and continues to learn about the things of God from various resources. That’s why the other eleven things above are a part of who she is.
I’ll end with this story. Last year, Nancy lent me a Bible study workbook. Displayed therein were my “mom’s” scribblings of what she’d learned and where she felt she still needed work. Apparently, she wasn’t worried I’d see it, and I was encouraged. It taught me that no matter how old I grow, I’ll never quite feel like I’ve arrived; there will always be stuff to work on. And that’s okay. To me, she’s priceless: a God-given gift I get to walk this patch of life alongside. I hope my house will be near hers in heaven. I’m sure even then I’ll be learning from her example. I hope reading this list you have too!
Bless you as you walk your own journey of influence.
- Which of the 12 Treasures of Wisdom could you adopt into your day-to-day life?
- What do you think of the idea of having a mentor? Is there someone you could come alongside and be a Nancy to? Would it be beneficial for you to find a mentor?