Mia has always been an example to me since she was very little, and was the inspiration behind one of the first ever More Precious posts! Mia is incredibly kind and generous - something that might sound unusual for a little sister to be known for. For many of my birthday presents, Mia saved her £2 a week pocket money for weeks at a time to get me something beautiful - an example that we don't need to have lots of resources to be generous for God, but that we can be bold and brave with what we have and trust that He will use it for His purposes.
Today I'm celebrating Mia's kind heart, her generosity and her potential to keep being used by God in bold and brilliant ways!
At the incredible age of 95, my Grandma Eileen Hunt, is an amazing source of wisdom, fun and great inspiration in my life. For as long as I can remember, my Grandma has sought to follow Jesus and shine His love to the world around her, while also loving her family dearly and serving her local church.
Grandma has never sought the limelight for her own sake, and recently was honoured with the award of a war medal for her service in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War. She has always looked out for opportunities to encourage her four children, twelve grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, and prays for us all regularly.
We had the privilege to lead a small group with Lucy for only a few months, but in that time she showed me so much of what it really means to lay down your life and follow Jesus. Lucy modelled this in the way she loved her friends, her colleagues, her family, but most radically in the way that she recently gave up her successful career, because she knew God was calling her to work with refugees.
The theme of International Women's Day this year - being bold for change couldn't be more suited to Lucy. Incredibly bold and brave, Lucy has a true fear of the Lord, and seeks to be obedient to His call on her life. My prayer is that we might model this obedience and courage in the way we all live our lives.
I’ve chosen to write about a woman I never met, my grandmother. Sarah was a missionary, living with my grandpa in India, where they raised three children. In their time, Sarah served in a Weslyan Methodist church, at one point providing rehabilitation for Bangladeshi refugees and constructing a children’s isolation unit in a nearby slum hospital. I visited these places less than four years ago, and there are still many nurses whose eyes filled with tears when I mentioned who my grandmother was. Sarah lived her life for others in need, and even gave her life for them.
At just 36 years old, Sarah died while rescuing an orphaned child from tram tracks in West Bengal. My parents have been slowly telling me the story of my grandmother’s life as I’ve grown older, knowing that I could not have appreciated the depth of her compassion and selflessness in my younger years. I’m not sure I even appreciate it fully now. These words inspired the hymn written on her grave and speak of the way God did great things in order for her to be the humble servant she was:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name.” (Luke 1:47-48)
Who better to celebrate on International Women's Day than my mother!? One of the rare people who manages to emulate the elusive Proverbs 31 woman, my Mum is hardworking, has endless energy and a deep strength: not afraid to make bold decisions when she is convicted, and brave in the face of challenges.
I hope to learn from her hospitality and her ability to welcome people into our home in a way where they feel totally loved and included. I hope to learn from her skill of making people feel like she is completely interested in every part of their lives, and most of all I hope to learn from her steadfast trust in God through every season.
My bet is that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have come across my Mum and have been changed for the better by her wisdom. With advice on everything from dating to baking, here's to the inimitable Hilda Beauchamp!
Amy has been my youth minister for the last 4 and a half years. She's always up for a laugh. She's so happy and smiley. She's one of those people that just being around puts you in a better mood. She's safe. When she's around, your fears flow away and you're relaxed. When I'm feeling rubbish and believing the lies in my head, she questions me, pushes me and she never doubts me. She doesn't leave me walking in darkness and tell me to work it out myself, she walks with me.
I'm truly inspired by how her full trust is in God. She abandons herself in worship. She's knowledgeable in theology and she teaches it with admirable passion. And these are just some of the reasons why Amy is the most inspirational woman in my life and is my role model.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV)
Ruth is a great example of a Biblical woman being both bold and fierce in loving and stepping out whilst fully trusting God. She shakes off customs and status and instead sacrifices the chance to remarry and be able to carry on a lineage, by deciding to stay with her mother in law, Naomi. Ruth didn’t go back to what was familiar and safe. She broke the rules without fear of the consequences due to one thing - love. She didn’t let her past, be it filled with loss, pain and hurt, define her. She loved fiercely and trusted God’s provision in her life.
Like Ruth, let's cling to those that God has called us to, refusing to give up on them and leave them when life gets tough. Let's not be afraid to take bold risks in order to live fearlessly authentic, God honouring lives. Let's show up and work together for the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes I find it so hard to let my conversation be full of grace. It is so easy to speak critically of others; to complain and grumble about my circumstances; or to talk cynically, discouraging those around me.
In contrast, my mum’s words are always full of grace. She never speaks ill of others, but instead recognises and celebrates the God-given gifts in each individual. She encourages and affirms. She recognises that her life is a wonderful and undeserved gift from God, a sign of his unbounding grace; and through her words she conveys that grace to others.
Mum – for teaching me how to make my conversation full of grace, thank you.
My granny sometimes used to read me ‘God’s Missionary’ by Amy Carmichael at bedtime. Carmichael went to India as a missionary in 1895 and soon became aware of the cultural practice of Indian parents or guardians dedicating their children to the gods with a hope of finding favour. Their offspring became ‘temple children’ and lived in moral and spiritual danger. Her mission became to rescue and raise these children and she set up the Dohnavur Fellowship in 1901, a charity that still exists today.
Despite being eager, Amy never had her own children but God provided her with the opportunity to be a mother in a different way to children who needed her; and all those at the Dohnavur Fellowship knew Amy as ‘Amma’ or ‘mother’. She is quoted saying ‘It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfil the desires which He creates.’ Amy is my inspiration because she was bold in following God’s call on her life and trusted Him to fulfil her desires, even if it didn’t initially look as she imagined.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-12)
I first got to know Dani while we were serving on the kids worship
team at Hillsong London. After finishing high school and preparing for uni, I was working out how to live out my faith in a completely new setting outside of safe boundaries that I knew and could depend on.
Dani's music writing and service to the kids at church, to see their lives completely changed by Jesus, will never stop being an inspiration for me of how to be bold for the Lord and prayerfully wait
on Him in every circumstance.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of
witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2a)