In honor of Women’s History Month (whether you’re a man or a woman), let’s think about those women who have gone before us, lighting the way, setting our hearts afire, showing us how to live and love and make a difference—Mother Teresa, Erma Bombeck, Rosa Parks, Elisabeth Elliot, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Esther (of the Old Testament), Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malala Yousafzai, and so many others.
They might not have been prominent or famous—women like your mother, sister, professor, babysitter, choir director, doctor, neighbor, colleague, best friend, employee, caregiver, pastor, or maybe even a stranger—those who were the role models, visionaries, trailblazers, inspiration-givers, change-makers, and hope-creators.
Pause and think about the way God brought them into your life. Spend a minute thanking Him!
And, you know me—you know what I’m going to say next! You could write an entire memoir based on the women who shaped you, taught you, nurtured you.
With that in mind, here are a few quotes to get your memories and ideas buzzing:
“A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” (Erma Bombeck)
“If you don’t speak up now to help right wrongs, someone else will—but you and your family won’t survive. Who knows? Maybe you are in your position for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14-15, paraphrased)
“‘There, it does seem so pleasant to talk with an old acquaintance that knows what you know. . . . Conversation’s got to have some root in the past, or else you’ve got to explain every remark you make, and it wears a person out.’ Mrs. Todd gave a funny little laugh. ‘Yes’m, old friends is always best, ’less you can catch a new one that’s fit to make an old one out of,’ she said.” (Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs)
“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.” (Malala Yousafzai)
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” (Erma Bombeck)
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” (Abraham Lincoln)
“I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.” (John Steinbeck, East of Eden)
“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” (Rosa Parks)
“A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.” (Gina Carey)
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” (Abraham Lincoln)
“I don’t know exactly what’s next but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” (Julie Graham)
“If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” (Max Lucado)
“The fact that I’m a woman doesn’t make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I’m a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
“She is clothed with strength and dignity.” (Proverbs 31:25a, NIV)
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26, NIV)
“Blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” (Luke 1:45, NIV)
“…wherever the Good News is preached in all the world, what this woman has done will be told, and people will remember her.” (Mark 14:9, NCV)
“How blessed . . . the woman you instruct in your Word, providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil.” (Psalm 94:12, The Message).
“God proves to be good . . . to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope for help from God.” (Lamentations 3:25-26, The Message)
Did several women come to mind when you read those quotes? I hope so!
The most instrumental women in my life were my mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and aunts.
Elizabeth, the Kenyan lady who worked with us during our eight years in Africa, was and still is a major role model. (You can read about her in my memoir, Grandma’s Letters from Africa.)
Amy Carmichael, too, influenced me through her devotional, Edges of His Ways, as did Mrs. Charles E. Cowman and her devotional, Streams in the Desert.
Recently I was talking with my husband about my best friend in high school, Cindy, who, in her soft-spoken way, changed the trajectory of my life. Without even realizing it, with one short question she changed the way I studied and took tests. On another occasion, she modeled how to stand up to peer pressure. Many decades later, her examples still inspire me.
Who are or were the noteworthy women in your life?
What stories can you write about them?
Choose two or three and get started writing vignettes.
Soon, give serious thought to writing even more such stories
and compiling them into a memoir.
Your stories could have a far-reaching—
maybe even life-changing—
impact on your readers.
To paraphrase Mother Teresa,
your memoir might not change vast numbers around the world,
but it could be like a stone cast into the water—
it could create many ripples.
And who knows how far those ripples might reach?
Your memoir could be someone’s much-needed
“word spoken at the right moment” (Proverbs 15:23).
(If you missed Tuesday’s post, click on that link.)