dedicated to Els, Elfie, and Erika
I have three Godly women in my life. Three women that I want to honour, and say something about each of them as they have made a lasting impact on my life. Shown me unconditional love, shown me grace, shown me mercy, and encouraged me from the moment that they met me. Blessed me in more ways than I could have possibly imagined. Each of these women are God’s women. Women near to God’s heart. Praying for the brokenhearted, serving their communities in ways that is so humbling to see. An inspiration to see. They don’t know each other. But they do have one common denominator – they know me – a sinner saved by the grace of God.
Els – I met her at a ripe old age of thirteen after my parents divorced. We still went to church occasionally. Probably more for my sake, because I always came back from church services feeling more peaceful. Els approaches my biological father and asks if I can join the youth group at her house every other Thursday. Everything happens on a Thursday in my life (or so it seems). For whatever reason, my biological father says “Yes, Hannah can attend”. I started going to the church youth group when I was fourteen. This is where I met God. This is where I learnt about God’s love. About God’s grace in each of our lives. In this church youth group I decided to follow Jesus. But what I remember so clearly is when on Maundy Thursday when I went to church with her – I witnessed her weep for Jesus. That was really an eye opener for me, the way she wept for him. It was in that moment that I understood the sacrifice that Jesus made so that we could have eternal life. God gave up his only begotten son so that we may live. What a sacrifice. I often spent an hour before the youth group talking with Els, and hearing about God’s love. She was like a mother to me during those difficult teenage years. She prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed for me, and still does. Fourteen years later we are still connected on a deep spiritual and emotional level. Even though we don’t meet regularly. Sometimes its years before we meet. Once I didn’t see her for eight years (though we would keep in touch regularly). Els spends all her time volunteering and helping the sick, praying with the sick, teaching the poor. She has a heart for intercessory. She is a saintly woman of God. She possesses grace. She possesses a deep humility. She is an inspiration, and I want to thank her for the love she has shown me and that she helped me through a difficult phase in my life and showed me who God was. A compassionate God.
Elfie – Elfie I met in Berlin last year. Though I only met her a handful of times, she made a lasting impact on me. Her hunger to serve the Lord, and the community that she is a part of. The pain of losing her husband still visibly etched on her face brings a softness to her. A mutual understanding between us. Loss. Grief. We laugh a lot like two teenagers. We pray together. I enjoy spending time with her because she shows me grace, she shows me understanding and encourages me to reach my potential. Still encourages me. Buys my books so that she can pass my book on to other people. Her countenance, the way she serves the Lord through helping people in the community – refugees mainly is an inspiration. I learn a lot from her in the few visits to her house. A woman that trusts the Lord, and shines God’s love and grace to the world despite her own pain. She is an inspiration because she teaches me about how God can still be in control of a sad situation, of how God can heal us and bring people together to be a blessing to each other. Thank you Elfie for our shared laughter. For our shared meals, for welcoming me into Berlin. For showing me grace. For having a listening ear. Keep doing what you do best! Sharing the love of Christ everywhere.
Erika – I only met Erika in March. Yet she has made a lasting impact on my life. A woman of God. A praying woman. A selfless woman. A woman that gives and gives and gives. Blesses and blesses and blesses so many people and doesn’t want anything in return. I met her only because I spoke in her church through Jules Riding ministry. We are connected on a deeper level. Again through loss, grief and desire. Desire of wanting to be a mum… She is a mum to many different people. I had a mini burnout early last month, and I was invited to come and stay with her. I am still with her now. I entered her house. In every space of this house you can feel the Holy Spirit present. You can feel God’s presence in this home. Prayer soaked rooms. Erika gave me a refuge. A safe place to be where I could meet the Lord and come to terms with everything. She’s breathed prayers over me, encouraged me, supported me, and blessed me in more ways then one despite her own difficult circumstances. Erika has a ministry to the community around her. She serves people by taking them to hospital appointments, cleaning their house. Her genuine smile can brighten the room in minutes. Her love for the Lord shines through in everything that she does. A woman worshipping the Lord at every hour. In tune with the spirit. Praying at every hour. She has shown me ways to be still before the Lord without having to communicate it out loud. Erika wakes up with a worship tune every morning. Whatever the circumstance we are in – she has a song that brings comfort. Thank you Erika for showing me how to rest in the Lord’s presence (I am still learning). You are an example and inspiration to me on how to live for the Lord every minute of the day. Thank you for showing me your love and grace. For opening your home to me. For not judging me. For accepting me for who I am.
Lastly, I just want to say there are many more women that have impacted my lives. But it is these women that have shown me a way forward in this darkness. These women are praying women at every step and stage in their lives. They have inspired me to live my life more for God, less for myself. It is a privilege and honour to know them.