May 8, 2020    


When asked to write on the most influential woman in my life, of course, my mom would be number one. However, two other very important women in my life shaped me through the years to be the woman I am today, my mother in law and my pastor’s wife.

My mother was married at sixteen and gave birth to me at seventeen. She, to me, is the epitome of strength, always putting her family first. She taught me how to love and be loved. Her door is always open, and there is always a house full of love and laughter. She taught me the value of marriage as she and my dad will be celebrating their 46th anniversary next month. My mom planted the seed of God in me at a very young age, and for that, I will forever be grateful! Did I know Jesus? No, did I go through the motions of the church? Yes, but she planted the seed. As I grew into my rebellious teen years, I, of course, gave my mom many heartaches and gray hairs, but she never gave up on me. After having a child of my own, we truly became best friends, and we remain best friends to this day. All through my life, that seed continued to grow without me even knowing – Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

My mother in law has been an integral part of my life for 23 years now; not always seeing eye to eye but who truly does with their mother in law – lol. She has become a rock in my faith walk. She tried for many years to have us join her at church, and we would go on her birthday and mother’s day, honestly just to make her happy, but now I know she was actually watering that seed. She is a faithful prayer warrior and gives godly guidance and correction when it’s needed, and I can say today that she is one of my best friends, and I’m so blessed and thankful that she had Randy and that she is my mother in law. She led us to Living Hope at a very dark time in our life when our marriage was on the verge of ending, and for that, I will forever be grateful! – Hebrews 12:1-2 “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”

Enter our pastor’s wife, who grew and continues to grow that seed. Since knowing her, I have truly accepted Jesus and have put God first in my life. My life was out of order, and now having God first followed by my husband and then my children, my life has never been better or more purpose-driven. She is a true spiritual mentor, and I strive to be a fraction of the woman she is – Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed in strength & dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future”

All these women continue to guide, teach and correct me each in their own ways, and I know that God has given me each of them for He knew his plan for me, and it had to include each of these women for me to be the woman I am today. For this, I will be forever grateful for each one of them. – Jeremiah 1:5, “I knew you before I formed you in your Mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart.”

I am so excited for my seed to continue growing and cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for me!! There are so many other women, family, friends, and church family that have shaped me to be who I am today, and I love you all! Have a blessed day and reach out to the important women in your lives and let them know they are loved and keep those beautiful smiles and let your lights shine!!

Standing Together

Jess Baker