When our family left New Jersey to move to Indiana, we had to say good-bye to our church family. Our last Sunday in New Jersey, at the end of the service, we were invited to the front of the church and the Pastor wished us well and prayed for us. Then everyone in the church filed by and said their good-byes to us. It was a very emotional time as you can imagine.
But when I remember that day, what I remember most was not the emotion, it was a comment that one woman made to me.
She was a woman I was only a little acquainted with. She was a single mom and as far as I know I’d never had any intimate conversations with her. But she said to me, “I just want you to know that I’ve watched you and your family over the years and you’ve been a huge encouragement to me. Thank you.”
That comment blew my mind. It was the first time that I ever became aware of the fact that I could influence somebody without being the slightest bit aware of it.
And that comment changed my life in many, many ways.
At that point in my life I was completely family-centric. And although my family is still my first priority, that comment opened my eyes to something larger.
For the first time I realized that I could influence people other than my family. I had a new awareness and it changed my behavior.
For example, when I was at the grocery store, how my children behaved became less about reflecting what a good (or bad) mother I was and more about encouraging other mothers that you could raise children who didn’t beg for items at the store. And if they did ask for something, they could graciously accept being told “no”.
That comment in many ways has also influenced the writing on this blog. I write not just for my family, but to encourage and share with other moms. If I can at all influence other women (like you), I want to show you that you don’t need to be so stressed out and overwhelmed by motherhood. Instead you can find joy in the simple things. You can live within your means. You can take care of yourself. And you can be a great role model.
But most of all, I use my blog and podcast because I want you to recognize that you’re not alone. I’ve been there (and still am there) and I’m cheering for you.
So why should you care how your family is going to look or act when all of our families are going to look different and act differently? Because if I have any influence at all, that means you probably do, too. So you should care about the way you live, not just for your children, but for other women as well.
So if it were all about me, I’d ask, “How have I influenced you?” But since it’s not all about me, instead I’ll ask, “How are you influencing people?”