I almost feel I owe my readers an apology. I’ve been quite busy the last couple of weeks. When I have had quiet moments, I’ve been too tired to have a thought worthy of sharing.
Among the busy days, my husband and I were in Houston, Texas, attending a ministry conference. The weather and the airline grounded us there for an extra day and a half. When we did get home, we arrived to a teenager with stomach virus. So well, life has been a bit consuming.
Last night, we attended the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet. Those inducted into the Hall of Fame shared stories about their lives. Over and over, themes of thankfulness were the topic. My eyes filled with tears several times as men and women shared gratefulness to those who had deeply influenced their lives. Most of the inductees mentioned teachers, pastors, parents, and coaches.
When I left the event, my mind was drawn to a thought: “Whose life has most deeply influenced me? Who are the people who have changed the course of my life in positive directions?” I briefly mused over who would make my list of the top people.
I thought of my husband who has also been my pastor for most of my last 28 years. His love for the Word has often brought truths to me that have changed me. So many times we sat with coffee and Bibles in hand and searched the riches of God together. He has been my cheerleader in my pursuits to take on new challenges and has consistently believed in me.
I almost immediately thought of my high school English teacher. I will always be indebted to Mrs. June Tidwell, who singlehandedly influenced me to attend college. She convinced me to begin college in my junior year of high school. When I graduated high school, I had completed a year of my college work, and I went on to graduate college at age 20.
Mrs. Tidwell was an excellent teacher. She inspired me to try drama and speech and advanced courses of study. She fueled my already existing love of reading. She required excellence and my life has been forever changed thanks to her. For that, I will always love and respect her.
My mind then jumped to an image of a Bible School teacher who I loved so much for her beautiful smile. Thanks, Mrs. Dale. You touched my heart with your warmth and love.
Ah, and then there was the pastor who influenced me during my early twenties, Ralph Andrews, who led me to search the scriptures, meditate on them, and memorize them as if my life depended upon it, and many times it has. I’ve drawn from the riches of those spiritual disciplines over and over and over.
I remember John Engulf, an SBC missionary who I heard some 30 years ago, when I first grabbed hold of the truth that God could use me. It was a life-changing influence.
Johnny Wade Sloan touched me deeply on my journey to know that my life was no accident and that the plans God had for me were from the foundation of the world.
The prayers of Mahesh Chavda rocked my world and led me to a powerful encounter with the Spirit of God. What influence!
Like searching a database, I scanned my thoughts for other top positive influencers.
Next, I thought of the undeniable influence two counselors have had on my life, shaping my thoughts and beliefs. I paused to consider that I also have that kind of influence through my counseling practice. It was a sobering thought.
My Uncle James passed through my thoughts. Although I don’t see him often, he is always an affirming voice in my life.
I thought of my kids and how raising them has changed me. And I thought of my dear Grace House church fellowship and how these wonderful folks have loved me and my family. Oh, and the friends who warred for my very life during my darkest night.
And I find I am blessed. God has crossed my path with positive influencers.
I also am aware that I have had a role of influence in many lives. From teaching to leading to ministering to counseling to blogging to the day to day walking out life with family and friends, I have touched lives.
What about you today? Whose influence has molded and shaped your life? Whose life are you molding and shaping?
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