Some of you may already have read a little about my young formative years. To put things in a nutshell……it was hell! At least in my eyes it was. Living with a domineering, alcoholic mother for 10 years was scary. On top of that my dad was very passive, depressed and emotionally absent.
Since the only example I had for a mom, young woman and a wife was quite dysfunctional I did not know what a good one looked like. Before I was high school age I was already making very poor choices just like my mother. Smoking, drinking, being potty-mouthed and promiscuous was normal behavior for me.
Then on June 10, 1970 Jesus changed everything! I surrendered my heart to Him and 47 years later He is still the one my heart longs for. In my early years as a young Christian God was so very gracious to give me three different examples of godly women that impacted my life tremendously.
The first spiritual mom was Sue Gail Tackett. She and her husband were my first Sunday School teachers at Colonial Baptist Church. I was barely eighteen years old when I began going to church there after becoming a believer. I can still remember how many times I would hang out at her house and by some type of spiritual osmosis glean from her how to be godly young woman. I can’t remember questions I would ask or responses that were given but more than anything it was the time, love and great compassion she showed me that will forever be etched in my memory. She opened up a bookstore while I was in my twenties called The Carpenter’s Shop and I would go there to buy books sometimes just to say hello and get a hug. When I became engaged to my husband Mike as a wedding gift she gave me a rehearsal dinner at her home. It touched me deeply because no one had ever shown me love in such a tangible way. I will always love her even though our paths rarely cross.
My second spiritual mom was Ginger Newsom. I think I wore her out! She and her husband were my Sunday School teachers when I began college at the same church. We had a young people’s group at their home for years. She and her husband loved young people and they embraced this young women with open arms. Once again I spent a lot of time at their house when we were not having group. She shared her stories with me and because I watched her life being lived out with integrity for many, many years I once again gleaned much by that wonderful spiritual osmosis I mentioned earlier. She indeed was such a treasure to me. I am sure I wearied her with all my phone calls and talks during my twenties. But where would I be today if she did not listen and pour truth into the young woman? I am so very thankful!
Then there was my ninth grade Home Economics teacher Martha Walton. She was the seed sower. I do not mention her last because she is the least important it is just that we did not have contact from my 9th grade year until I became a Christian the summer before my senior year of high school. The prayer she wrote on an index card for me on the day I made my failed suicide attempt was the seed that soaked until that day. I kept it folded up in my wallet and read it daily….”Every day in every way by the grace of God I’m getting better and better.” It may not have been a doctrinally sound prayer but it brought forth fruit eventually.
After I became a Christian I found out how to contact her. I called her and shared with her that I had become a Christian. She has been such a dear friend. She made my wedding dress for me and I lived with her and her husband for three weeks before my wedding. She remains one of the dearest people to me. I will treasure her always. I have had the great pleasure of seeing her on and off since my marriage and we get together for lunch from time to time to catch up on our lives. I love her dearly!
The reason that these women are mentioned is because they impacted my life so much in all their different ways that I am sure I would not be the woman I am today if not for their love and godly examples of how to be a women, wife and mother. Titus 2:3-5 says this, “In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.” This is how they lived. This is what they taught me. I watched and learned.
Being a godly example is so important. We are a book read by many. What we do and say is noted. So remember that living a godly life does make a difference. It made a difference in my life and I pray that because of these wonderful ladies I will continue to live a life that will be read by many.
The world we live in is quite different now. Seems like mentorship is not so popular anymore. I was willing to be taught. I wanted to know how to be a godly woman. I was willing to make the sacrifice to do whatever it would take to be like my teachers. That is what Jesus wants! That is what a disciple is. Someone who is like their teacher. I am proud to say that my teachers did well and I honor them and treasure everything they did for me. To God be the glory great things He has done!
Living by the brook,