A Strong Woman in My Life

(This blog first appeared on Lyn Cote's "Stories of Strong Women" blog. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share it with you.)

“Being faithful in the smallest things is the way to gain, maintain, and demonstrate the strength needed to accomplish something great.” – Alex Harris

I was browsing through some material the other day (okay, I was surfing the internet) when I came across this quote. It struck me as deeply profound, and at the same time it filled me with hope. I’m not one who aspires to greatness, but I am faithful. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am surrounded by examples of strong women who have accomplished great things through faithfulness in the small things.

One of my favorite people in the entire world is my Aunt Patti. She was ten when I was born, and I thought she was the coolest, most awesome grown-up ever. As a teenager she listened to “deep” music, and talked to me about the meaning as though she cared about my thoughts. (Bob McLeans’s American Pie comes to mind.) She loved to learn, and communicated her thirst for knowledge by telling me what she learned in high school, and then college. After college she worked at a series of incredibly interesting jobs, like prison guard, and police officer. She never lost her desire to learn, and worked her way through graduate school, earning a Master’s in Social Work. Then she joined the army where she served for years, including a tour in Korea. I’ll never forget my pride when I flew to Washington D.C. to see her promotion to the rank of Colonel at the Pentagon.

You’d think she would stop there, wouldn’t you? Nope. She was selected to attend an exclusive War College and graduated with a second Master’s degree. Then she retired from the military and returned to school, and last year earned her Doctorate in Psychology. Now she fulfills one of her heart’s desires and counsels victims – juveniles, rape victims, and veterans with PTSD. But she hasn’t stopped learning. Next year she plans to enter Law school! She is doing great things with her life, but not one of them happened because of a single act of greatness. Instead, she has been faithful to her dreams and her goals one small step at a time.

The heroine in The Heart’s Frontier doesn’t have the opportunity to go to college. The Amish don’t place an emphasis on education. The setting is the American West, where there weren’t many opportunities for women, Amish or not. But Emma is strong like my aunt in one very important way – she is faithful, even in the face of difficult situations that stand in the way of her and her desires. And in the end she accomplishes…well, you’ll have to read the book to find out, won’t you? And you might want to hurry. Book 2 in the Amish of Apple Grove series, A Plain and Simple Heart, comes out September 1!