It’s become a tradition of its own: after a family get-together, once the other guests have left, my brothers and I gather around the kitchen island and give my mom a hard time. We reheat leftovers and revisit favorite moments from our childhood. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.
During one of those evenings, my brothers and I realized we could recite with almost perfect accuracy the words my mom had prayed every car ride of our elementary school years. One brother started us off, and we chimed in soon after, every line etched into our memories.
Each morning, as we buckled our seat belts or were snapped into car seats, my mom would begin: We come humbly before Your throne. You are high, high above and lifted up. You are the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Holy, holy, holy is Your Name. Once my brothers and I had piped in with our favorite titles for God, my mom would lead us in sharing what we were thankful for and then encourage us to bring up the areas of our lives where we needed the Lord’s help. Nothing was too big or too small, so we’d mention the tests we were about to take, our concerns about teachers we couldn’t seem to impress, and our need for friends when the school year felt lonely.
It was a simple routine, but one that taught us how to start our days grounded in the Lord’s presence. She gave us a big view of a sovereign God, a framework that I have fallen back on in every season of my life. I’m thankful God gave her to us as our biological mom, but I’m even more thankful for how her spiritual mothering gave me a better view of the greatness of God.
The Leaders in Our Lives
When you look back at different stages of your life, who are the women who have prayed alongside you? Who are the women who have pointed you to Jesus? Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Let’s brainstorm together.
- Do you have people within your biological family who have helped you love Jesus more? Maybe it’s your mom—but maybe it’s an aunt, in-law, cousin, or grandmother.
- What about the women within your church family? Your pastor’s wife, women’s ministry director, small group leader, or a Sunday school teacher?
- Are there leaders you may not know personally, but whose passion for Jesus has encouraged you from afar? (Joni Eareckson Tada always goes on the top of my list.)
- Can you remember anyone who was spiritually influential in your younger years? This could include a classroom teacher or school counselor, your best friend’s mom, or a college ministry leader.
- Who are the mentors whose maturity in their faith has helped you grow closer to Christ?
The Bible calls us to honor the women who have made an eternal impact in our lives. Hebrews 13:7–8 says, “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
At Revive ’21, a group of women gathered on stage to express their gratitude for Susan Hunt, a beloved author and speaker who has been called the mother (and grandmother!) of the True Woman Movement. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth presented Susan with a beautiful gift inscribed with the words:
“To our dear friend, Susan Hunt,
Thank you for exemplifying the beauty of true womanhood
and for always pointing us to Christ and His grace.
‘The righteous flourish . . . They still bear fruit . . .’ (Psalm 92).”
The point of honoring Susan, Nancy said, was not to have people say, “Isn’t she an amazing woman?” Instead, the purpose of publicly sharing Susan’s impact was to be able to say: “Isn’t Jesus an amazing Savior? He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Who are the Susan Hunts in your life? Who came to mind as you were thinking about the women who have shaped your faith? While they’re on your heart, don’t move on without taking the time to honor them.
If the thought of publicly thanking someone from a stage or even from across the dinner table makes you queasy, why not write a letter that you could hand over in a quiet moment or slip in the mail to a mentor who does not live nearby? Capturing your gratitude on paper allows the recipient to return to those words any time she needs encouragement. What a gift.
Before you start to panic about writing the perfect note, remember that only the Lord is capable of perfection. Confess your insecurities, and ask Him to provide words. You won’t need to say everything in your note. Focus on a few key points, and if you have more to say, write another letter and mail it in a few weeks! May we be women who give thanks all year long.
Mentor Texts: Ways to Say Thanks
To help you with your note-writing process, I’ve gathered ideas based on what Erin Davis, JoJo Starbuck, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, and Leslie Bennett shared when they honored Susan Hunt at Revive ’21. Their words model how we, too, can celebrate our spiritual mentors. In the classroom setting, when a quote or sample paragraph is used to inspire a new piece of writing, it’s called a “mentor text.” The term couldn’t be more fitting here.
Answer the following questions (inspired by the mentor texts), and by the time you get to the end, you will have written your own note of gratitude, a priceless gift.
- Think of your spiritual mentor. How would you describe her?
- When I think about you, I think of a woman who is ________ .
- You are not only ________ , you’re also _____ and _______ .
- When I remember how you reflect _____ , I give thanks, because that character trait reminds me of Jesus.
Mentor Text: “Who you are, that doesn’t come from talent—though you are very talented. It comes from a woman committed to being in the presence of Jesus.” —Erin
- What familial roles has she filled in your life, whether as a member of your biological family or of your spiritual family in Christ?
- I’m so grateful that God, in His wisdom, arranged for you to be my ______ .
- Over the years, you have faithfully fulfilled that role by _________ .
- If you were not in my life, ___________ .
Mentor Text: “Susan, I love you. There are a lot of us whose own mothers cannot or will not point us to Jesus, but God gives us women like you—and I’m so grateful.” —Erin
- When you think about all she does, which of those actions have made the most impact in your life?
- Thank you for consistently _________ .
- I will never forget how you took the time to _____________ .
- Because you ________ , now I ___________ .
Mentor Text: “She has prayed faithfully for us. Because of Susan’s undying devotion for the church, we love the church more.” —Leslie
Mentor Text: “Thank you for being faithful over the long haul and for inspiring your younger sisters in the faith to do the same. Thank you for leaning hard on Jesus when life has been hard, for finding His strength in your weakness and for seeking always to magnify Him above all. Thank you for loving so well and for leading us to the heart and feet of Jesus.” —Nancy
- How do you hope God continues to work in her life? What is your prayer for her?
- This season, especially, I am praying that ____________.
- More than anything, I hope that God reminds you _________ .
- My prayer is for God to continue ____________.
Mentor Text: “As you get closer to that full day in His presence, when faith will become sight, and prayer will become praise, I pray you will experience the sweetness and the richness of this promise: ‘The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines brighter and brighter until full day.’ (Prov. 4:18)’” —Nancy
Mentor Text: “Father, I ask that You would crown her with loving-kindness, and that You satisfy her with good things and renew her youth like the eagles. Just like the psalmist prayed in Psalm 71, I know this is Susan’s heart: ‘Oh, Lord, do not forsake me until I declare your might to another generation and your power to all those to come.’” —Leslie
A Note of Gratitude
Today’s the day to pick up your pen and put your gratitude on paper. Allow the questions to guide you and the Susan Hunt tributes to inspire you. Are you ready? I’ll go first:
When I think about you, I think of a woman who is faithful and strong. You fight hard for truth, but you are also tender-hearted and a loyal friend. When I remember how you reflect God’s love, I give thanks to Him, because that character trait reminds me of Jesus.
I’m so grateful that God, in His wisdom, arranged for you to be my mother. Over the years, you have faithfully fulfilled that role by building a foundation of prayer for our family. If you were not in my life, I likely wouldn’t know that God is the one we should run to with all of our problems. I wouldn’t know how worthy He is of all of our praise.
Thank you for consistently serving our family. I will never forget all the times you took me to doctors’ appointments, cried with me over disappointments, and helped me find hope again. Because you stuck with me in the hardest times, I have a much easier time believing that God will never forsake me.
This season, especially, I am praying that you experience how deeply loved you are by us and by Christ. More than anything, I hope that God reminds you that you are precious to Him. My prayer is for God to “make you worthy of His calling, and by His power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11–12).
With all my heart,