Over the course of my adult life I have had the honor and privilege of meeting and forming meaningful relationships with many multi-talented, generous, gracious, wise, and deeply spiritual women. The women, of whom I speak, were: South Koreans, Dutch, and Americans representing a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. They were also from different religious traditions. There were Roman Catholics, Jewish women, and Protestants. Each of them enhanced the quality of my life by contributing to my personal, professional, and spiritual development.
The women lived exemplary, but not perfect, lives. In most cases, they juggled career and family responsibilities. They generously shared their wisdom, talents, and material wealth with me. They encouraged me and gave me guidance about men, family, and church. They shared their values and beliefs with me. They were genuinely and unabashedly humble and because of their influences I am a more well-rounded and centered person than I might otherwise have become.
Many years ago when I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia I met Mrs. D. – one of the wisest people I have ever known. She was also the wife of the pastor of a very small Pentecostal church I attended. During one of our many talks about the practical application of Scripture, Mrs. D. responded to a comment (I don’t recall the topic) by saying: “A person can be sincerely wrong.” To highlight the efficacy of her statement, she referenced the Scriptural account of the Apostle Paul’s persecution of the Believers prior to his own conversion.
Mrs. D. reminded us that, in words attributed to him, the Apostle Paul consented to and participated in the persecution of Jesus’ followers because he sincerely believed he was caring out God’s will. Later Paul concluded that he had been wrong, and the rest is history, as is often said. He became a giant of the Christian Faith and one of the most prolific writers of the New Testament.
Like Paul, before his Damascus Road experience, I have often found myself making statements and behaving in ways that sincerely reflect my heartfelt beliefs. However, after much prayer, meditation, and a careful analysis of Scripture, I have, more often than not, found myself in error-despite my sincerity. When that happens, I pray for forgiveness and spiritual eyes, ears, and an empathetic heart. Then I look for ways to put into practice whatever spiritual lesson(s) I have learned.
Thank God for the nurturing women whose paths have crossed mine and for the powerful life lessons that I learned from them.