Some journeys in this life begin when we’re off the beaten path and end shortly after we’re set on the right path. Madeline Elizabeth Kristine is a nod to that journey, the pain endured and the beauty that has come from the challenges that arose while finding the “right path.” You see, Madeline Elizabeth Kristine doesn’t exist – yet. It’s the girl name we’d chosen for baby number four, if he had been a girl (and for a short time, we thought he was). Each name is an a marker in time – a nod towards women of great faith who sacrificed a lot to help me find the path I’m on now. When I was at my lowliest, ugliest and most selfish, they selflessly loved me, prayed for me, sacrificed time and energy to lift me up. My children, my marriage and my faith life are what they are today because of these three remarkable women.
Madeline was the deaconess of the church I grew up in. She was the first woman I ever trusted with my deepest secrets and rather than judge me, she taught me to take those straight to the feet of Jesus and lay them down. She literally saved my life a few times when I was suicidal and she interrupted me with a phone call or dropping by to say hello. God used her in my darkest years of childhood to shed some Light on my situation. I thank God for her influence every time I consider what might have been, had she not intervened on my behalf.
Elizabeth was a neighbor several years ago who became a beloved “Aunt Beth” to my daughters. While we were only friends a short time, the influence she had on my faith journey will last a lifetime. Elizabeth is unwavering in her faith and in her dedication to her family. In all things, she is committed to doing right and walking on right paths. I will never forget this woman or how her prayers saved my family and my marriage. She is one of the most patient women I’ve ever known. This would probably surprise her to hear that. I hope that someday I get to tell her, even if it’s in Heaven. It’s worth the wait.
Kristin(e) is another woman who, like Elizabeth, continues to inspire me to be a better person. Her faith in all things marriage, motherhood and faith life is truly amazing. I do not use that word lightly, especially in regards to Kristy. She is the very definition of Super Mom because it’s not in her own power that she does all the things she does – she is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, and it is evident in all that she does. She also spent countless hours praying for me, caring for my children and advocating on my behalf when life wasn’t going so well for me. (Because of the choices I made.) Kristy taught me more about grace-filled motherhood and marriage than I’ve learned from any other source, aside from the Bible(!).
When/if I’m blessed with another daughter, I want her to be as strong, resilient, graceful and beloved as these three women. They are absolutely some of the most amazing people to ever walk the earth and we are all better off because they’re here. May God be continually praised for their faithfulness and dedication to serving Him.
Madeline, Elizabeth, Kristy…thank you. Words are so insufficient, so I’ll continue to pray God’s blessings upon you week after week for as long as I live.