This past week Sarah Bessey wrote a post over on her blog honoring her spiritual mothers--women linked to her spiritual journey who have helped give birth to the new creation in her. As Bessey says, "They were the midwives – by their lives, their faith, their obedience, their work, their prayers – for the work that God has birthed in me, and through me."
This started me thinking about all of the women who helped shape my journey, who taught me new things about faith and God and being a woman of faith. The women who walked with me, cried with me, prayed with me, and rejoiced with me.
In my personal life there's my actual mother who began to teach me about Jesus long before I could even say his name. My grandmothers and my sister. My Aunt Georgie. All my Bible school teachers from cradle roll on. Mrs. Baker, my 1st grade teacher, and Mrs. Priest, my second grade teacher. Bonnie Martin and Laura Opton my youth pastor's wife. Opal Cox. Mrs. Smith, now Mrs. Ryan. Mrs. Kingston. My social work professors Susan and Brenda. Meagan and Erin and Carrie. My college mentor Patrice. Kara and Carey. Lori Vanderkamp and Kristi White. Suzy, Kaelea, Alasha and Pearl. My neighbor Shirley. Emily. My "every girls". Jenny and Sharon. My Peace Corps buddy Carmen. Puleng. Sarinah and Sioux. My colleagues and friends Beth and Bev and Catharine. Mommy Martha. And Tosha.
My writer mothers whose writing challenges me to think deeper and to be a better writer: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Maya Angelou, Anne Lamott, Carolyn Curtis James, Shauna Niequist, Kim Van Brunt, Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey, Micha Boyett, Enuma Okoro and Grace Sondra.
My biblical mothers whose stories I turn to time and again to remember and to believe: Hannah, Sarah, Mary the mother of Jesus, Abilgail, Tabitha, Priscilla, the woman at the well, Esther and Vashti, Mary and Martha of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene.
My historical mothers whose legacy lives on to shepherd women across the generations: St.Teresa of Avila, St. Clare of Assisi, Sojourner Truth, Corrie Ten Boom, Dorothy Day, Amy Carmichael, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mother Theresa.
And the many others who I haven't mentioned here.
Chance meetings. One time conversations. Passages and verses. Stories passed from one mother to another.
Women who stand among the great cloud of witnesses, unnamed, but whose legacies carry on in the lives of their spiritual daughters.
I want to remember these women. I want to honor them and bear witness to their faith and their devotion and their lives.
As Bessey so eloquently said, "What could I call them but a congregation of saints?"
Who are your spiritual mothers?
Let's continue what Bessey started. Let's name them, and by naming them honor them.
Share their names and stories in the comments below or jump over to Bessey's blog and share them there.