I've been thinking of the word impact lately. Particularly how we impact those around us. My daughter recently finished a book about various Christian women who did amazing things. One that caught her attention was Joni Eareckson Tada.
In case you're unfamiliar with the story, when Joni was 17 she dove into a river, hitting the bottom with her head and paralyzing her from the neck down. After battling depression and questioning God's goodness, Joni came to believe God could still use her, even from a wheelchair. She started a radio program, founded a ministry for people with disabilities, learned to paint with a brush in her mouth, and wrote books about her accident. She still speaks at events, sharing God's love and grace in the midst of tragedy.
My daughter was filled with questions after reading about this remarkable woman. She also retold and shared the story with multiple friends. Joni's life and testimony are impacting my daughter, making her consider God's goodness in hard times, and revealing it is possible to rejoice when life isn't what we expect.
Another person we have been discussing recently is Ron Hamilton. My kids have become big fans of Patch the Pirate music adventures, listening to the stories and songs daily. On one recording, Patch (Ron) explained to the kids that he had cancer in his one eye and the doctor had to remove it. He started wearing a patch and people joked he looked like a pirate. He began to write songs and record stories that taught kids biblical principles and Patch the Pirate was started. I knew all this from listening in my own childhood but my daughter eagerly found me and told the whole story.
These two people have never met my daughter and they probably won't this side of heaven. But they are impacting her, living lives that point to Christ and encouraging her to keep trusting God, even if hard things happen.
The world is full of so many 'role models' living for the things of this world. Our children need good, faithful examples to follow. And there are so many people throughout history that we can learn from.
But don't discount yourself. Maybe you don't have children or grandchildren. You can still impact those around by reaching out, getting to know others, and getting involved in their lives. I remember lessons from Sunday School teachers and Awana leaders from 25 years ago. Just step up and allow God to use you.
As a parent, I'm so thankful when other godly people take interest in my kids and model biblical living. It shows my kids I'm not the only one saying, 'Obey your parents' or 'Love the Lord' or 'Don't complain but rejoice'. And our whole family benefits from the love and kindness of a godly example.
You don't have to have a huge platform or social media presence to make an impact. Start in your own home and reach out to those around you. Ask God to put people in your path that need encouragement and then don't be afraid when he answers.
We might never know the influence we have on others but that’s not the point. We need to simply be willing to be examples and be used of God and leave the rest to Him.
Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash