To me, she is a queen among women.  She has no royal blood in her veins, though her name has a sort of regal ring to it.  She stands above the rest, with her calm confidence, godly strength, and humble spirit.  She does not boast of a high education yet walks in wisdom.  Life’s experiences have taught her much.  She has no great earthly riches, but lives a contented life, rich with joy and a deep love for God and her family.  Her hospitality is known to all who know her — opening her home and life to many, young and old, even students like me, for many years.

I was a young, insecure and very vulnerable 17-year-old when I showed up at her door almost three decades ago.  Lonely and uncertain, I grew to love and respect this lady and her family, as they welcomed me into their lives.

I remember many dark nights, sitting in her quiet living room, looking out over the lights of the city, as I poured out my heart.  Some things must have seemed trivial to her, and I’m sure some things may have confounded her, yet she sat and listened to my mixture of shattered dreams and prompted me to move to new and bigger dreams.

She has no credentials as a professional counselor, no degrees, just an ordinary lady used by God to influence the young life of another.  She had a listening ear, a calming word, a non-judgmental heart, and a simple but powerful prayer.  She made time to just be there.  A queen among women, that had a lasting influence on a young girl trying to find God’s will and way at a crucial point in her life.

I grew up in a wonderful Christian home.  When I moved away from that safe haven, I felt lost.  It was as if I were setting sail on a vast ocean, except I couldn’t quite figure out how to use the sails.  God placed this special lady in my life at just the right time!  She gently nudged and encouraged me — more than she ever realized.

In recent days, I have had much time to reflect on this special relationship.  I realize that I am now nearing the age that she was when we first met.

Am I a lady of such influence?  Who am I influencing?  We are all people of influence — good or bad.  Who needs me today, to just be there?  Who is in my circle of influence?

I may not have much, if you look at me through the eyes of the educator... or the wealthy... or even through my own eyes.  However, I have been called by God to serve, to lead, to influence.  Am I living my life to influence the next generation?  I am called to “be there” for another who has lost her way.  No big ado, no planned mentorship meeting, just a listening ear, to share the Word of God, to pray, to encourage, to build up, to help some young lady see the good even in a bad day, to guide her to the Truth and be a friend.

We never know how or why God uses us, we just have to be available and “tuned into” His heart and His voice.  Isaiah 45:3 states, “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (NIV)

God indeed gave me a hidden treasure at a very dark time in my life.  I knew He had called me, I knew He had a plan, but He used an ordinary lady to keep reminding me, in tangible ways, that I was not forgotten.  Now, I can be that lady for someone else.

Lord, help me be that kind of person to someone today.  Let me not be too busy with my own life that I miss significant opportunities and God-moments.  Help me not miss or take for granted the special friendships that you have blessed me with, or the young ladies that you have allowed on the path of my journey of life, as I follow You.”

It’s been over twenty-five years and even though life’s events separated us for some time, we have since been able to reconnect.  God has allowed me to be a part of her life in a very remarkable way and that friendship has deepened.  She is now a widow, mourning the loss of a wonderful man of God, whom I loved and highly respected.  Our paths intersected at around this same time of loss.  Now, I sit with her on long dark lonely nights, as we reminisce and she shares her wonderful memories.  Again, a year later, when tragedy came to their family, I could mourn with them and be there to share the sorrow and help out in practical ways when their world fell apart.

Our friendship is unique and rich.  God has blessed her with good health, a wonderful sense of humor, an adventurous spirit, and a continued zeal for life and living it for God.  I am honored to share many special moments with her.

God has enriched my life with many special “older” friends, many women of influence.  It has been said that, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”  Thank you, Mrs. D, for believing that I could.