Friday, July 21, 2006

The Greatest Woman You Never Met

I say without reservation that my friend Kathi Sipes is probably the greatest woman I know. I have spent years learning from her as I reveled in her friendship. I have learned more about living my faith by watching her and studying what she is like, than by any book or Bible study outside of the Bible itself. Her life and her actions, her choices and her attitude teach me how to be a godly woman, how to love my husband and my family, how to keep a home, and how to follow Christ without reservation.

I have puzzled over her behavior, the why's of her doing things, until I have learned over and over again how each puzzling behavior is a demonstration of her faith. Each time I have puzzled, I have eventually been taught by God something I really needed to know. I have learned what submission really looks like, submission to God evidenced in so many ways, including by submission to her husband. I have learned surrender to the will of God at a time when I was struggling with a very painful and debilitating injury and the excrutiating treatments for that injury. I learned that the purpose of housekeeping is to be ready to serve, to entertain, to take advantage of opportunities that come up. I learned how to love my husband by watching how she loves hers. I have learned how to express genuine admiration, by watching her. I have watched how the most seemingly strong and capable tough guy is both gentled and built up by the loving admiration of his wife. I have watched as she deflates an angry situation through a gentle word that would have choked me. I have learned to speak gentle words when I want to bite back (if only I practiced that more often).

I have watched Kathi go to the Lord with her pain and face the day, her family, friends, work associates and irritating people with grace and good cheer.

I so want to be like Kathi. She is a woman greatly to be admired. Some people miss that because they seem to believe that anyone who is as cheerful as Kathi must either have no problems or be a moron. The truth is so different. Kathi has painful things in her life, but she chooses not to let them rule her. She is quick-witted and very intelligent woman who chooses to be cheerful rather than glum. That is so foreign to so many of us!

One day I would like to write a book for women describing lessons from Kathi. In the meantime, I will soak up every bit of time with her I can get, and will continue to work toward the day when I can be half the woman she is. You are unlikely to ever hear her speak at a conference or seminar, because she does not call attention to herself and somehow people miss her greatness. But if you one day see her name listed as speaker, do whatever it takes to listen to her. It would be a great benefit to you.