We are a very rich people. Not only are we living lives at peace with God (only because of what Jesus has done for us), but we have the unmerited blessing of walking through life together (is this the “riches of the inheritance of the saints” that Ephesians 1: 18 talks about?). I am so thankful for my church family. We are a very rich people.
I am regularly strengthened and inspired by the example of women in our church that are embracing the will of God for their life—whatever that would be. The single working woman who is pursuing excellence in her job and reaching out in hospitality to others after work. The older woman who is serving younger women, when many of her peers would be indulging in “my time”. Women who are embracing the limitations of old age—and are being vessels of love and encouragement. The moms of “mid-life” families–who are throwing their whole lives into their families–knowing that all too soon the house will be quiet. The young moms who are embracing such huge adjustments in life—-and whole-heartedly giving themselves to their families. The teenage girls…..who are babysitting and helping so many people. I’m surrounded by greatness!
Shannon Odell recently wrote us a beautiful example of what I’m talking about. And I am so happy to share it with you. Thank you, Shannon. You did a great job honoring Becky—who I’m so proud of.
Over the years, the pastors and members of CrossWay Church have taught me many things. As I have gone away to college in Michigan, I have become even more aware of how blessed I am to have grown up in this church, and how much I have learned from the people around me. Among many things, CrossWay has taught me that we ought to encourage and honor one another. Today, I would like to honor Becky Howell, wife and mother extraordinaire, and a woman I am very grateful to call my friend. After God’s grace and my wonderful mom, Becky has made the biggest impact on my heart in the area of having a vision for being a wife and a mother.
During my senior year, I had the privilege of spending every Friday afternoon at the Howell’s, for the purpose of helping Becky in any way I could. When I started, the twins were three months old, and Liam and Clara just as energetic as ever. It was a loud and busy place, but a household that I loved to be a part of every week. Every Friday on my way home, I felt that I came away far more blessed by Becky and her example and wisdom than I had ever been able to serve and bless her.
Becky is a submissive and respectful wife. From when I first started spending time at her home, I was amazed by the way she looked to her husband for leadership even in things that could seem small and trivial. I was effected by her humility from the first time I heard her ask her husband what time he thought the kids should go to bed. How easy it would be for her to make the decision herself, as she spends all day with the children, and could feel that she knows what would be best, yet she yields to her husband’s leadership and seeks to show him Godly respect.
A house of four children all under the age of five sounds like it would be one of chaos. Becky’s home is certainly loud and lively, yet it is one that is full of love and order. Her ability to balance her duties as a mother and a homemaker also blessed me. She trains her children in love, caring first and foremost for their hearts, seeking to raise them in the fear of the Lord. She has a fun and creative personality, always looking to have fun with her children, and to make memories with them. She selflessly lays down her own desires and works to build relationships with each of her children.
Finally, Becky is an example of laying down one’s life for the Lord and what He has called her to do. Before my senior year, I did not have much of a vision for motherhood. I would say that I wanted to have a few kids, simply because that’s what I thought I was supposed to say. I hoped for only a few, as I wanted to have my own life, to have time for myself. After spending Fridays in Becky’s home, my entire perspective changed. By God’s grace, I see that the home is a mission field, that it is a joyful and a good place where one learns to die to self and live for the Lord. Many people, including myself, often have grand desires to “save the world,” to make an impact that we can measure and see. I understand now that the home is one of the greatest settings from which I can make an impact on the world. As a woman, I can seek to raise my children – and many of them! – to fear and to love the Lord. This is the greatest sacrifice I can make, and the greatest way I can seek to spread the good news of the gospel.
I am so grateful for Becky Howell, for the way she welcomed me into her home every Friday, and for how much she has taught me simply by providing an example of how to be a humble and an excellent wife and mother. She reflects God’s grace and love, and shares it with those around her. God is so good to place women like Becky in Crossway Church!
~ Shannon Odell