Tonight while walking around the track trying to get some exercise I started thinking of the individuals who affected my life and made me the person I am today. I have been so blessed by the many people that have poured into my life; some with the intent to make me a better person, as in my parents and family. While others, who with out even realizing it, just by being who they were changed me forever.

When I was a little girl my parents sent me to a church camp one summer. I hated it! I was so miserable. The whole week I was so lonely and wishing that I were at home enjoying the summer in my own comfortable back yard. The only solace I found during the week was in a woman who taught us our bible lessons each day. She was so pretty and kind and generous. I remember her teaching us how to sing Psalm 150. Though I can’t recite or even remember how we sang the Psalm she forever made an impact in my life. In fact I believe that I am in ministry today because of her.

Every day we are influencing those around us with out realizing it. In the early 80’s I got a job working at an upper end salon working for a man who forever changed my self image and his influence in my life has consistently over the years made me not afraid to reinvent the way I look. I learned to be daring but stay classic.

My husband has been such a wonderful influence in my life. He has given me the freedom to be me, without condemnation or judgment of failure. He is such a strong personality, but he allows me to voice my opinion and over the years and really seeks my opinion first above all others.

This has given me the freedom to take risks and know that it is okay to make mistakes and be wrong every now and then.

Now as I am getting older my children and other young people that God has brought into my life are influencing me is great ways. I have found the value in age, but I also see the value in youth.

It truly is amazing to be around young people and see through their eyes how they view the world. For them the world is not a large scary place but a community to embrace and understand other cultures.

There have been so many people everyday who make me think differently and want to strive to be better than I am at this moment.

Several years ago a wife of a man running for political office spoke to the crowd about the virtues of her husband. She made such a great case for him that everyone was moved. When she came off the stage someone leaned over to the man running for office and said, “She is your greatest asset.” At that moment I realize what I wanted to be said of me when I am gone. “She was my greatest asset.” Not just of my husband or my children, but I want to influence those around me.

I believe to be an influence you must continually allow yourself to be influenced by others. I believe in the saying that Ghandi made, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” But even to a greater depth encourage those around you to be the change as well.

Not everyone should be a flamboyant southern woman with lots of jewelry.

Scripture says, “As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

The greatest influence is Christ. Col. 1:27 says “Christ in me the hope of glory.” As you walk into the destiny He has for your life you can be the greatest influence to others just because you are being what you were meant to be.

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