The Thankful List

In my 40 years on this planet, I’ve been blessed to be shaped by many amazing men and women, but on this Thanksgiving morning, I want to specifically acknowledge a few of the women that have formed who I am.

Nina Dixon and Betty Hughes, my grandmothers. There they are, flanking that handsome junior high devil there in the picture, with Betty on the left. When in 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul reminds Timothy of his faith tradition that begins with his grandmother, I really resonate. Betty, my maternal grandmother, came to faith later in life and showed us how to press into Jesus through some really difficult life circumstances. Nina, my paternal grandmother, taught her family the value of being steadfast in prayer.

Ann Dixon, my mom. Really it’s tough to narrow down what I’ve learned from my mom. For sure the list includes generosity, service and perseverance in suffering. Also, I first learned the importance of Kingdom hospitality watching my mom bless the foster kids and international students that we hosted in our home as I was growing up.

Una Lucey, my staff mentor. I’m the campus minister I am because Una signed up for a mentoring role in my life way back in my junior year of college. My 16+ years of fruitful ministry are Una’s as well.

Pat Sexton, my mother-in law. Steadfast, resilient, generous and hopeful. That’s Pat. Plus, she always has my favorite cereal on hand when we come visit!

Dr. Carolyn Stefanco, my college professor and adviser. Dr. Stefanco nurtured in me both a love for writing and a concern for gender issues. In particular, she guided me through my senior project, a study on this amazing woman.

Ruth Haley Barton, author. If you are in ministry and you haven’t read Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, do so now. Kingdom leadership does not have to lead to burnout!

The Bleeding Woman, from Mark 5:24-34. This unnamed woman has been a companion on my spiritual journey, especially as I have sought Jesus for healing in my life. I love her risk-filled faith, first expressed as she pressed through the crowd to touch Jesus’ cloak but then taken to another level when she came forward publicly in response to Jesus’ question.

Enisa Dedic, General Secretary of the Bosnian IFES movement. What do you do if God calls you to lead a ministry that doesn’t yet exist? You say “yes,” you pray a lot, and then you start it from scratch! Enisa is a woman of courage and perseverance. I love planting new things, and Enisa’s example has inspired that passion in me.

Tina Loveridge, co-worker. I work with an amazing group of women, and Tina is one of them. In particular, Tina has become a partner as I’ve started to think about gender issues in the church. From Tina I’ve learned how to advocate, and she’s opened my eyes to the global injustices that women endure.

And last but in no way least…

Amy Dixon, the amazing soul who married me. 15+ years ago Amy took on this crazy and I’ve been learning ever since. If I’m more patient, less moody, more loving, less angry and more/less a million other things, it’s because God has used Amy to shape me, in word and by example.

What about you? Which women are you thankful for this morning?

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