Busting the Myth about World-Changing Women

By on March 2, 2012

By Grace Fox –

Hillary Clinton

I used to think world-changing women were gals with household names. Women such as Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Harriet Tubman, and Hellen Keller fell into that category, or like the women you’ll find in the article found at Bio.TrueStoryNotable Female Leaders A to Z”. But not me. Not with my resume.

I spent more than two decades at home with my kids. During that time I cleaned other people’s houses, taught piano lessons, became a licensed daycare provider, coordinated Girl Scout cookie sales, and cheered from the sidelines at countless Little League games. Small, seemingly insignificant deeds filled my days. I sometimes wondered if my life was making a difference anywhere beyond my home’s four walls.

Years have passed, and I think differently now.

“Don’t discount the smallness of your deeds,” writes Max Lucado. “Small deeds can change the world.”

I ought to share these words with my daughter-in-law. She parents four kids, ages newborn to four years. Caring for them requires an endless supply of small deeds: serving snacks, wiping noses, changing diapers, folding laundry, playing referee, and kissing owies goodbye.

The repetitive nature of these deeds, done day in and day out, can sometimes cause young moms to forget their importance. The same is true for women in other scenarios.

A wife, weary from caregiving her husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s, feels like her services matter little. An office receptionist questions her role’s importance as she answers the phone yet again. A teacher spends countless hours preparing lessons andgrading exams, and then ends the school year doubting her effectiveness. Why bother anymore? Do my efforts really make a difference?

Small deeds matter little, our emotions say. But Jesus says otherwise: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants and grows into a tree where birds can come and find shelter in its branches…The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast used by a woman making bread. Even though she used a large amount of flour, the yeast permeated every part of the dough” (Matthew 13:31-33 NLT).

Why compare small deeds with mustard seeds and yeast? Because the analogy paints an accurate word picture. The type of freckle-sized mustard seed to which Jesus referred sprouts into a tree that grows approximately nine feet tall. And a teeny bit of yeast mixed with flour and liquid grows a loaf able to satisfy a family at mealtime. So small deeds can have a big impact. They do make a difference.

Sometimes those small deeds influence those nearest us and trigger an ever-widening ripple effect. My daughter-in-law, for instance, performs the same tasks over and over for her children. Her efforts promote a healthy lifestyle and, done with the right attitude, teach her kids how to treat others with respect and kindness. Hopefully these youngsters will mature into responsible adults and make a positive contribution to society.

Sometimes those small deeds impact others whose names and faces are unknown to us. I recently met a woman named Colleen who proves this is true. Her eyes sparkled as she told me about a project about which she’s passionate.

“I’m collecting toonies,” said Colleen. “I encourage people to fill a jar with two-dollar coins and then donate it to a project called Living Hope. All monies raised help provide reconstructive surgery for African women whose faces and ears were mutilated by rebel forces.”

Colleen worked as a nurse until chronic health issues ended her career. It couldn’t, however, dampen her desire to help others in pain. And so, she invests time and energy in doing a small deed. Ultimately her actions are changing the lives of women half a world away. (See http://www.watoto.com/livinghope for more information).

Don’t discount the smallness of your deeds. A listening ear lent to a coworker might spawn hope where there is no hope. A kind word spoken to a young mother struggling to calm a crying baby in the grocery store might ease her frazzled nerves.

Here are a few other actions that qualify as small deeds:

  • Pray for someone on-the-spot rather than simply saying, “I’ll pray for you.” This works in person as well as online. When I receive an email from a distraught reader, I respond immediately with a written prayer for her. Feedback tells me these prayers mean a lot more than a promise quickly forgotten.
  • Send a handwritten note of appreciation or encouragement to someone for no particular reason.
  • Send a sympathy card to someone who’s suffered a loss.
  • Pass along a good book rather than leaving it on your shelf.
  • Sit with a friend while she’s undergoing a chemotherapy treatment.
  • Help a senior who’s trying to learn computer skills.
  • Bake cookies and take a plateful to your next-door neighbor

We don’t need to have household names to become experts at doing small deeds. Our actions might not be earth-shattering but they’re world-changing, at least in our corner of the world.

 

Grace Fox is an international speaker and author of five books including Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. She’s also the national co-director of International Messengers Canada, an interdenominational organization that specializes in creative short-term and career ministry opportunities in Eastern Europe. She lives in Abbotsford, BC. Visit her website: www.gracefox.com. Contact her at [email protected].

About Grace Fox

Grace Fox is a sought-after inspirational speaker and the author of several devotionals including Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for Busy Women. She’s also a contributor to Morning Moments with Jesus 2014 (Guideposts Books). Her new devotional, Morning Moments with God: Devotions for the Busy Woman (Harvest House) is scheduled for release on January 1. www.gracefox.com. She and her husband direct International Messengers Canada, a ministry that offers creative short-term and career opportunities in Eastern Europe. She’s the mother of three grown children and five grandbabies. www.im-canada.ca.

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Busting the Myth about World-Changing Women