Today is International Women's Day, and although I'm not one to give a great deal of credence to U.N.-sponsored events, it has gotten me thinking about the women I admire the most.
Of course, any such list has to begin with my mother, but I did come up with a few others that have earned my respect and admiration. Here are a few (as I said, my mom tops the list, but the others are in no particular order):
One of my favorite, albeit corny, things to say is, "I want to be just like my mom when I grow up." In my late 40's, I don't know how much hope or time I have left when it comes to this aspiration, but my mom is indeed pretty much everything I would want to be. She is godly, loving, nurturing, wise, beautiful, funny, feisty, organized, disciplined...she's amazing! If you want to read more about my precious mom, read this tribute I wrote about her.
Ever since I played Barbara Youderian in a reader's theater in college based on Elisabeth Elliot's Through Gates of Splendor, I have been a confirmed fan of Elliot...not only as an author, but as a woman of God.
Elliot's husband Jim was killed by Auca Indians in 1956. Says Elisabeth on her website: "The Aucas were... a fierce group whom no one had succeeded in meeting without being killed. After the discovery of their whereabouts, Jim and four other missionaries entered Auca territory. After a friendly contact with three of the tribe, they were speared to death."
Acting in "Bridge of Blood" was a turning point in my life. For probably the first time in my life, I was strongly impacted with the reality of a world in need of a Savior, and the fact that I wanted to do my part to make a difference in that world.
I've also read Elliot's Shadow of the Almighty, Passion and Purity, and Elisabeth's only novel, No Graven Image. Searching her website, I see that she's authored more books than I realized, and they will definitely go on my reading list. Elliot is a remarkable Christian woman whose life and writings I equally admire.
Joni Eareckson Tada
I have admired Joni Eareckson Tada since first reading her book, Joni, sometime in the late 70's.
After a diving accident made her a quadriplegic, Joni desperately wanted to die. Fortunately, she never acted on her suicidal desires, and the result has been a lifetime of incredible ministry. With her Joni and Friends organization, Joni serves as an ardent advocate for the disabled. She has authored many books, hosted a radio show, and even starred in a movie about herself.
Her strong faith in the grace and sovereignty of God shine through her beautiful writings. Joni is quite simply a remarkable woman of faith.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Joni about her thoughts on the movie, "Million Dollar Baby." You can read that interview here.
By the way: Joni is currently hospitalized for pneumonia. She is expected to make a full recovery, but her website request prayer: "Prayers for improvement in her breathing, for comfort, support, and for a speedy recovery are greatly appreciated."
Talk about a Renaissance woman! National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice is brilliant, well-educated, attractive, musically talented, and has risen from humble beginnings to one of the most important roles in national government before the age of 50! Here's an article about Rice from Christianity Today.
Other women I respect or admire for various reasons:
Oprah Winfrey--You may not agree with all her views, and I'm not sure where she stands spiritually, but you have to admire her for her generosity and graciousness--and as a small-time media woman myself, I respect her as a powerful and successful woman in media.
Some of my favorite Christian fiction authors
Robin Lee Hatcher
Liz Curtis Higgs
These women, and many others I could mention, wield their pens (or computer keyboards!) to spread God's love and hope through the printed word. Never underestimate the eternal impact this can have on the life of a reader! I truly admire them.
So, what women do you most admire? Please let me know in my comments section!