On Sunday, one of our college students preached and made the point that we all, likely, have our own Romans 16 list. You know, a list of people who have helped us and been instrumental in our faithfulness and productivity in the gospel. We were each challenged to complete our own Romans 16 list, and I thought I’d share mine here, if for no other reason than to encourage you to do the same. Literally write down the names of the people who have impacted you. Pray for them. Thank God for them! Pray that you will be on someone else’s list; that your life will be one that glorifies God and helps bring others closer to Him. My list could be longer, but here are some of the most influential Christians in my life. I will be forever thankful for their kindnesses, love, and hospitality.
- Steve and Jamie Harless, who provided many Sunday morning cinnamon roll meals and countless rides to church for a 9-15 year old girl. You were my second parents and I will forever love and cherish you.
- Tim Orbison, who taught me the Bible and to dig deep into it for the true meanings of words of phrases. I will forever remember my first Greek word, makrothumia. Little did I know it would be a word I would need for my entire adolescence.
- Lonnie Jones, whose practical lessons about Christianity kept me focus, and whose youth activities provided me a friend family and a safe place to learn about God’s great love and forgiveness.
- Shawna Brown, who encouraged me to be a faithful Christian woman when I was young and naive and unsure.
- Lisa Corder Carper, whose friendly smile and hilarious personality made me want to be better, and whose children inspired me to be a better person all through my growing up years.
- Terry Edwards, whose love for the Bible lands inspired my own. I will forever hear his sing-song voice when I think about all of the remarkable places Paul traveled.
- Kathy Pollard, whose lesson on Hannah at PTP brought me back from the verge of something dark. She showed me I had so much to learn and so much growth to achieve. She has inspired me ever since.
- Marci Hopkins, whose hospitality and kindness is unparalleled. Her friendship is like a winter cloak, keeping you shielded from the cold that life may throw your way.
- Richard Hopkins, who is the kindest and gentlest man I have ever met, who is truly worthy of double honor for the way he feeds and cherishes the flock of God at North Charleston. He is like a father and I will forever love him as such.
- Brooke McNutt, who has been a faithful companion and friend during dark and trying days.
- Dan Winkler, whose love for the Lord is contagious, whose forgiveness is inspiring, and whose depth of Bible knowledge challenges me to do and to be better.
- Christy Jenkins, literally one of the best people I have ever met. She is a true friend, who will pray for you and encourage you and lift you up, even without a word. Her presence is a gift to all around her.
- And finally, my Robert. He came into my life at just the right time. I was broken and a mess. I was fragile and weak. I was a lot, sure, but really just crying for help. And he was that help. He showed me the love and forgiveness of Christ. He continues to help me be better, every single day. He pushes me to be the best that I can be, encourages me when times are hard, and lifts me up when I feel weak. He is a rock in my life, a great representation of Christ to me, loving me the way he is called. He makes me job as a wife easier, gives me so much strength to do hard things, and is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever seen. I love him, am thankful for him, and thank God for him and his remarkable presence in my life.
There are likely thousands more I could name. I wanted to be like Lacey and Julia and Leah when I was a wee pre-teen and they were the cool youth group teenagers. I had amazing friends hugging me and loving on me during those emotional, life-changing CYC trips. I had many professors at Freed who took great interest in me and were more than teachers, administrators, and staff, but were friends. There’s AP and Alyssa, whose friendships are locked deep in my heart and will forever be cherished. There’s Paul and LaDon, who have gone above and beyond in generosity and offering a listening ear. Cliff Goodwin and BJ Clarke, whose lessons have provoked major changes in my attitude and life. Denise Skelton, whose parenting style consistently influences my own. The list goes on and on and on. Thank you all for loving me and encouraging me and motivating me.
I am looking forward to and longing for eternity with you.