I’m reading Soul Survivor, a fascinating book by Philip Yancey in which he describes thirteen people who deeply influenced his life, helping him maintain his faith as he worked through disheartening church experiences. It probes deeply and is refreshingly honest… but I digress. His book has caused me to consider those who made a difference in my life, such as…

  • Sam, my high school Sunday school teacher whose passion for God was undeniable, introduced me to ministry in the mountains of Mahwah on Sunday afternoons.
  • Harry & Eunice, who befriended us when we were newlyweds and taught us by word and example how to create a Christian home.
  • Bob & Ruth, who revealed to us the intensely personal love of Jesus, and introduced us to the indwelling Holy Spirit and the matchless value of koinonia fellowship.
  • Madelyn, with whom I mined the paths of adoption, racism, and shifting convictions from theory to action.
  • Pastor John for preaching about grace—constantly—and breaking through my Reformed doctrine, slowly moving God from judge to Lover of my soul.
  • The friends who sat with us under John’s teaching and beyond, learning to do life together, accepting one another, and loving unconditionally.
  • My husband who has always encouraged me to be all I can be, to stretch further, to serve better, to use my gifts, to make a difference.
  • David, our silent son whose prayer and worship don’t have words we understand, but who has taught us more about trust, praying, and praising than the most gifted preachers.
  • Each of our children who, in many ways, have grown beyond us and yet respect and love us. They stretched us, produced fruit that pleases us, and strengthened our faith by proving God can work through flawed parents.

This is a smattering, a far from comprehensive list, but one that has prompted praise in my heart. I invite you to plumb your memory banks and allow those in your past to prompt praise to God for putting them in your life.

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