I’d picked up a copy of the magazine that is specifically written about women for women. It is free, and I find it in the hospital waiting rooms where Sweet William and I frequent much too often.
This one’s cover showed pictures of twelve women chosen as most admired in as many categories. I read the women’s stories, all of them worthy of their being chosen. They have worked hard to educate themselves and achieve success.
These are high-profile women, some of the movers and shakers of the community. They carry briefcases and they carry weight and influence.
As the days go by after reading the summary of these successful women, I begin to formulate my own list of most admired. They will never grace the cover of a magazine. Their stories may not be told in print. They will not get a make-over or a fashion consultation so their photographs look polished and professional.
But the women on my list have achieved something that ranks them in a place of honor, in my opinion.
There is woman who opened her home to an aging mother-in-law, and this after her own children had left the nest. At a time when she and her husband could have thought about travel and beginning to explore their couple-ness again, she is responsible for someone who becomes more in need of care as the years go by. She handles it with grace and dignity.
There is the woman who comes to help me in our house sometimes, the one I have called on in emergencies to let our Little Dog out when Sweet William was suddenly hospitalized. She enters our house with a smile and joy that brightens our lives. She has her own problems for sure, but she continues to work multiple jobs to help provide for her family while making sure her children get to ball practices and games, music lessons and the unceasing activities of this generation. She maintains an openness and honesty with her children in the midst of her crazy schedule. Her kids are growing up to be responsible and hard-working, following her example.
There is the woman whose grandson lives in the far corner of the country. She is his life source in many ways. Her love and devotion to him is unmistakable, and she makes the journey to him many times throughout the year. Her continuing prayers for him are evident in his young life as she sees God intervene and provide. She keeps up with his activities and his grades, doing what she can from her distant home, to see that he has every available advantage.
There is the younger woman who is taking care of her mother who has been left with a sever disability, while she has a husband and children at home. Life has dealt her some rugged blows, and she keeps walking forward, seeking different avenues to advocate for her family, making sure they have what they need.
There is the friend who checks on me, asks about my day, and willingly hears my honest raw truth coming from a fractured heart. She has her own burdens, yet she cares about me and mine.
There is the teacher, influencing lives on a daily basis, praying for her students and showing them God’s love actively while not being able to mention His name.
There is the nurse who gives skilled expertise to patients in hospitals, rehab centers and nursing homes. She cares for those unable to care for themselves while offering a smile and some cheer on many a gloomy day.
There is the woman who fosters other people’s children, giving them a safe haven when they have been removed from home, some experiencing untold horrors.
There are the women who volunteer. They teach Sunday school to the least of these; they meet weekly with middle schoolers; they have a heart for understanding teenagers. Theirs is a special calling.
There are the mothers who home-school and invest their daily time and energies into the hearts and lives of their little ones, knowing there is no other more important job. They sacrifice some of the frills of life so they can give themselves away.
There are the women who are caregivers of children, husbands, parents, and relatives who have experienced life-changing illness or injury. Their lives are focused on another and not themselves.
There are the women who are friends to other women, loving them with a listening ear and words that encourage. They offer a comforting place to speak one’s heart and not worry about being exposed on Facebook or Twitter or to the next-door neighbor.
Women are a wondrous group. They may be described as the “weaker, more delicate vessel” in physical make-up, but they make up for it in determination and courage. They are fiercely loyal, tireless in their efforts, and they give of themselves to a fault. God endowed women with a heart like His in so many ways, their nurturing, relentlessly loving, tenacious way of holding on in hope.
Almost an entire chapter of the scriptures is dedicated to a woman’s worth. More than rubies. Priceless in value. Her characteristics are most definitely to be admired and emulated.
If I had a list of most-admired women, it would be long. The women who are are making a living and making a life. Giving and selfless. Loving in word and deed.
These women are strong. They are beautiful. And they are worthy of honor.
“Give her the reward of her labor,and let her works praise her at the city gates.” — Proverbs 31:31