For my 25th birthday, I wanted to share 25 women who have influenced me so far in life:
Is it possible to measure the influence of a loving mother? I don’t think so. I do think, though, that since my mother has an immeasurable influence, it screams of her immeasurable love for me. Momma displays the deepest, kindest love of any woman I have ever known, and has shown me how to love like Jesus. Not another woman on this list can hold a candle to her influence.
I’ve written about my sister before, and you can read my full description of her influence here. In short, Amanda influences the way I see the world. She will forever be the one I look to as my earthly example for how to have the compassion and grace of Christ.
My baby sister is different from me in a lot of ways, but she has become a dear friend over the years and her desire to know Jesus and seek for the best way to follow Him has taught me a lot. She has wisdom that I didn’t have and I learn from her thoughtfulness often.
4. Stephanie White
Stephanie was the first real mentor I had. She was especially influential in my love of literature and the arts. I have always been encouraged by her drivenness and vision, and for how she has loved me like a true older sister in the faith.
5. Hannah Vernon
Hannah was my advocate in the Fusion process and exemplified life-on-life discipleship to me. She showed me grace in times when I didn’t deserve it and challenged me to love God with my life.
6. Michelle Peters
Michelle is my best friend and one of my biggest role models. A lot (if not most) of my growth in my early adult life can be contributed to my life, conversations, prayers, and arguments with Michelle. She has loved me through it all, for some strange reason. 🙂
7. Tamara Zajac
I’ve known Tam for as long as I’ve known Michelle, and what was at first challenging for me to see has now become a strong influence. Tamara has influenced the way I relate to others and has taught me how to listen and care for those with whom I commune.
8. Akilah Medlock
She gets me. There are some people who understand what you’re saying, and others who know the precise emotions and reasoning behind your words. Akilah is that person and has influenced the way that I seek to understand people as fully as she does.
9. Amanda Gibson
She also gets me. We share many of the same loves and Amanda has influenced the way that I enjoy life’s little pleasures. She is also one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known and continually challenges me to give up my own comforts for the sake of others.
10. Mallory Pulliam
In so many ways, Mallory has influenced the kind of woman I want to become. If I ever have children, I want to parent like she does. I’m incredibly thankful for her influence in the characteristics I strive to emulate.
11. Ashley Smith
She probably doesn’t know this, but she was the instrument God used to influence my decision to pursue writing. We were in a small group together, and she said, “go for it,” which was the confidence I needed to submit the first post.
12. Stephanie Savage
In my first few years of life in Kansas City, Stephanie was the one who became a “mother” to me. She took me into her home for meals, prayed for me, and exemplified what it means to welcome people into your home without hesitation.
13. Amy Gilmore
When I returned from my second trip overseas, I struggled with several things in the years to come. Amy was the one who gave me language for the depression I experienced and the tools to overcome. She showed me how to counsel others with care and boldness.
14. Elizabeth Mejia
There’s a phrase that Liz said many times many years ago that has never left my brain. “What does the Word of God say?” Always, with every statement I made, she challenged me to seek God’s Word as my foundation and not my feelings, and I still cling to that question.
15. Faith Lewis
Faith is the Timothy to my Paul. That statement is less about my greatness and far more about her faithfulness. I clumsily disciple Faith, and despite my failings, she has held fast to the Lord and obeyed him with joy. She lives up to her name and pushes me towards stronger faith.
What a gift, this sister is to the church. Marina partnered with me overseas and taught me how to be faithful amidst real persecution, how to fearlessly proclaim God’s Word to people who don’t know Him, and how to be a woman of prayer.
17. Amy Doolittle
In a moment of deep uncertainty, Amy stepped in and with tears in her eyes and told me to go back to a country and a people group I refused to serve. She reminded me that God calls us to obedience and that we serve a God who makes all things new, which I still remember regularly.
My high-school literature teacher is probably one of the main reasons I love literature and writing so much. She was the first person I can remember who encouraged me to pursue writing and I think my love for fiction could be traced back to her as well.
19. The Woman at the Well
This story in John 4 has always been one of my favorites. She doesn’t deserve the attention of Jesus, and yet he shows her deep love. She is known by God and that promotes her to share her story with the whole village. Incredibly influential women.
20. Lillias Trotter
Y’all don’t even know how much this woman is shaping me right now. Her story is not well known, but she was a fierce, obedient, artistic woman in the 19th century who I have learned much from, and hope to continue to learn from for the rest of my life.
21. Ann Judson
Her husband usually receives the spotlight, but what an incredible woman! She gave up all comfort to take the gospel to Burma, fought to keep her husband alive, and worked hard in the ministry. Her life reminds me that the gospel is worth our whole lives.
Judge all you want for this, but Belle from Beauty and the Beast was and still is influential over my personality. I found it difficult to balance my bold personality and compassionate heart as a child, and Belle helped me understand how to be a strong woman. (I wrote a bit more about her here if you’re interested).
23. Elizabeth Elliot
Mrs. Elliot is one of my heroes. She didn’t leave the mission field even after her husband was killed. Her steadfastness and sincere love of God is a beautiful example to Christians, and I’m extremely thankful for her life.
24. Marilynne Robinson
Few novels have enriched my soul like Marilynne Robinson’s. She is one of the few authors of our day that writes lasting stories. Her books have taught me how to reveal simple things as extraordinary.
25. Lore Wilbert
Lore’s writing has impacted my writing style and the way I think in ways that she’ll never know. She once said, “God has you exactly where you can bring him the most glory, and when he wants you to bring him glory in another place, he’ll move you.” That statement changed my life.