20 Women

Businesswoman Awkwardly Bending over Yellow CounterHere in Alabama where I live The Birmingham News, Birmingham Magazine and Red Mountain Theater Company are having a contest to find 20 women in Birmingham who are making a difference in the city or lives of the city’s population.  The woman can come from any walk of life.   I wonder who will be nominated and the cynical part of me thinks that the ones who are nominated and probably win will be those already in the spotlight.  Local politicians, media personalities, successful business women, women known for the worthy causes they support…the “A” list I suppose, those women who are known widely because they quite often are in the media spotlight already.  Don’t get me wrong, those women are surely making a difference, a positive, uplifting impact on the Birmingham community.  It’s simply that I think of the women who are making a difference who don’t get recognized at any other time.

Women who make a difference live right next door to us and across town from us.  They are in our homes, our churches, our schools, our work places, our courtrooms, our medical facilities and everywhere else.  Most of them rarely, if ever, hear they make a difference in someone’s life.  Sometimes the person is a woman we meet at a crossroad in our own lives and we don’t realize the difference she is making and then we never see her again.  Sometimes we are so use to this woman being in our corner we forget how extraordinary the woman’s presence is in our lives.  Sadly, so many times we recognize her but it simply never occurs to us to acknowledge the difference she is making.

These women may be mothers or may not be.  They may be married or may not be.  They are someone’s wife, significant other, mother, aunt, daughter, friend, cousin, sister or niece.  That’s the point, they can be any woman.  They could be you.

The contest I read about in the January 13, 2013 Sunday edition of The Birmingham News specifies that the contest is for women in the Birmingham, Alabama area and it is limited to 20 winners.  I wonder how many essay entries the paper will receive?  More importantly, I wonder how many women I could nominate who have made a difference in my own life but who also probably won’t make the “in Birmingham” criteria.

What about you?  Can you name 20 women who have impacted your life in a positive way?  Who make a difference?  Perhaps not just in your own life or the lives of your family but in your community?

PROVERBS 31:10-31 N.I.V.

(Though the Scripture is written using the word “wife” this passage can apply to all women regardless of their marital status.)

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.  She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.  In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.  She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

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