by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
For my family, May is the month we celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries, graduations, and, of course, Mother’s Day. We were talking about this and the differences between ‘one’s age’ and ‘aging’ recently. Julia, a granddaughter who was in on the discussion, asked, “Is there any place in the world, Grandma, that you haven’t visited that you’d like to travel to?”
My response was immediate. “Yes, I’ve always wished I could go to South India.” Of course, I had to explain why. And since we were in the car on our way to a birthday party, I had a captive audience.
I started with Mother Eliza Davis George in Liberia who lived to celebrate her hundredth birthday. Then I shared a bit about Corrie ten Boom and her similarity to Anne Frank whom they study in school. We finally moved to the reason for my choice, Amy Carmichael. This brave, Irish missionary ended up in the south of India where she died in 1951 after decades of daring rescues, snatching little girls from servitude in Hindu temples. During these years she established a large compound with homes and a school for children, a medical center and a church. The ministry, called Dohnavur Fellowship, continues today, and it’s run almost entirely by Indian women professionals – teachers, nurses, doctors.
As we reached our destination and the end of our sharing time (Yes, I did give the girls a chance to talk!) I declared, “I think May should be the month we honor all strong women – maybe better put, “Women of Valor.”
Should we not esteem women who never marry or bear offspring of their own, but who influence countless numbers of children? Even after their death, they continue to bless all who learn from their lives characterized, in most cases, by an abandon to the will of our Heavenly Father, for the good of others, and all to the glory of God. For these admirable, womanly characteristics and deeds reflect the character and works of our Creator God himself. After all, he likens his willingness to offer comfort to a woman’s touch. “For this is what the LORD says: As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah 66:12-13.
I’m guessing that most of us can name women who have been important to us, who remained single. I know I can. Some of God’s greatest blessings in my life came as a sort of wedding present. Three maiden aunts in Frank’s family gifted us in countless ways through the earlier years of our marriage until God took each of them to her Heavenly rewards. And, today, one of my closest friends is a Woman of Valor whom we adopted into our family network a few years ago and who has blessed us with her life of steady, compassionate faith and good works.
Please take time this month to celebrate these things as they apply to you and your family. I hope you recognize and nourish character traits of compassion and willingness to serve others that you see in your children as well. Remember compassion means ‘feeling with.’ Identifying with needy people, wherever you meet them (and some of them are quite close at hand!) often leads to actions that result in personal loss and risk taking. It can be inconvenient, but it always pleases the Father, even when it receives no human praise.
Marie, Ethel, Esther, Regina, Charmel – these are some of the ‘Women of Valor’ in my life. Thank God for them! May their ‘tribe’ increase!
…a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30b
KidZ at Heart values the family’s part in enabling children to fulfill their role in God’s plan.