Have you ever stopped and considered how different you would be if you had been born into a different family? If you had never met some of the key people in your life? Do you wonder who you would be today if you had not been influenced by your parents, your grandparents, specific mentors, friends, and teachers?
We are all who we are because of others’ influence. Portions of our personalities are genetic, but none of us are islands. We have picked up worldviews, traits, and interests from those around us, and there is no doubt we have influenced others as well.
We do not realize how much value we can add to someone’s life. I had several people pour into me when I was coming up in this world and I know I am who I am today because of them.
Have you ever talked to your sweetie about the person or people who have shaped you the most? If you have not already done so, share stories about these special loved ones with each other. Here are a few of the people who touched my life. This list is brief for time’s sake as there are many others who have also greatly impacted me. ~smile~
- Granny – Occasionally, I will be driving down the road thinking of Granny and tears will appear out of nowhere. She probably had no idea how much she molded me. Her faith was amazing. This woman knew the Lord and she had such a gentle spirit. People used to call her on a regular basis for prayer and she gladly received their requests. I can remember being amazed at how quickly she could break down and cry in the presence of her Jehovah on another’s behalf. She showed me the power of prayer, showered her family with her love, and held a lasting faith. She never gave up on any of us no matter how we were living. She knew God could save us.
- Betty – God allowed me the joy of having Ms. Betty as my neighbor for twelve years and I continue to see her when I visit my parents. She claims I did not, but I know I wore this saintly woman out at times. It all started with Mom and Miss Betty working together at the same elementary school. I would visit her in her classroom after school on a regular basis – most likely while she was trying to work. Then, we moved houses and landed across the street from her, so I “blessed” her with my presence on a regular (and I do mean regular) basis. She taught me to bake, sang praise songs with me on the front porch, invited me in for treats and conversation, prayed for and with me, and listened to my drama for years. She always made me feel heard and taught me the power of listening to others. She also inspired me to be an excellent wife. I am far from where I want to be from her modeling, but I still consider her constant giving and loving an inspiration for my own marriage.
- Becky – When I was ten, friends of our family asked Mom and Dad to be godparents to their son, Chase. Not only did I fall head over heels in love with their sweet baby boy, but I gained another set of parents in the process. Though nothing was ever made official, I considered Becky and Charles to be my godparents – a trade of sorts. ~smile~ Over the years which followed, Becky became like an aunt (when I needed someone to dispense wisdom) and big sister (when I just needed to let my hair down and be silly) rolled into one. She did not mind telling me some hard truths (saying it like it was) and loving me even when I was kind of a jerk. We had many hours of talks when I was a teenager and I miss those! She helped me have fun and not take life so seriously. She brought some balance into my life. ~smile~
- Martha – A wise woman I met as a young teenager, Martha always shows up at the right time. It is uncanny! God has given her dreams about me, she is willing to talk to me about uncomfortable topics, and when I need prayer, she shows up! One Sunday afternoon, she met me at my parents’ house to admonish me not to do something I was planning to do – something I had never told her I was going to do (she had felt led of the Lord to come talk to me all day). Another time, when I was in the midst of a conflict with my mother, Martha, knowing nothing about the fight, approached me and asked, “Do you honor your Mom and Dad?” Wow. If there is sin in my life, I do not want to look her in the eyes! Martha has always been like an angel God sends me – even now – to pray and speak the truth into my life with her delightful Colombian accent, which I adore. ~smile~
- Mom and Dad – How could I write about the people who have influenced me without including my parents? They gave me consistent stability, they took me to church on a regular basis, and they never failed to show me their love. Even when I did not like their decisions or approaches, I could not deny their love. Miss Betty once said that she believed children could get through just about anything if they truly believed they were loved. I agree, Miss Betty. The love and positive attention of a parent is priceless.
Are there young people (or not so young people) in your life who look up to you (or you and your sweetie)? Think of the awesome impact you can have in their development and consider spending a little extra time with them. You may never know how God will use you in their lives. Maybe your upcoming marriage will inspire them to have an incredible marriage. Maybe you will instill the power of prayer, listening, honesty, or loyalty. Maybe you will be a stabilizing force. Maybe God will use you to talk them out of some poor, life-altering decisions.
Maybe you will even lead them to Christ.
Who have made lasting differences in your life?