Earlier this year, we invited women to apply for a special dinner hosted by Every Square Inch at our upcoming women’s conference. Almost 100 women applied by submitting 750-word reflections that answered three questions: (1) What do you do every day? (2) How do you feel about what you do? (3) When have you found your work particularly meaningful?

Today, we feature 4 of the 25 women selected.

LightstockThe women featured below have (at least) one thing in common—they are working in ways that they incarnate the love of God to their neighbors. Whether that means loving her patients (Anna), her readers (Elizabeth), her foster children (Kelly), or her clients (Rebecca), each of these women is leveraging her work to embody the love of God to anyone who crosses her path. In their work, they are the hands and feet of Jesus, helping those who look to them for help, encouragement, and hope.

Anna Smith is a night-shift nurse who works at a large hospital in Indianapolis. She primarily cares for neuro and trauma patients who are recovering from a variety of problems—from strokes to major motor vehicle accidents. When she isn’t working or catching up on sleep, Anna loves to run, bake cookies, and mentor other young women.

  • As I read through the New Testament, it’s clear that Jesus was passionate about providing healing and education to the people with whom he interacted. He was so willing to get down into the dirt of people’s lives—to provide the care they needed to fix their physical concerns as well as teaching them about ways to move beyond their current state of suffering. The connection between Jesus’s ministry and what I do as a nurse is clear. Healing and teaching are integral parts of what I do as a nurse, so nursing is absolutely an opportunity for neighbor love. Although the job is often not glamorous, I am blown away by the opportunity I have to be Jesus’s hands and feet.

Elizabeth Hyndman is an editor and social media strategist for LifeWay Christian Resources. When she’s not inserting Oxford commas and answering questions about Bible studies, she likes to drink chai lattes, write, and explore her home city of Nashville, Tennessee. 

  • Because I get to read the comments on our blog and social media as part of my job, I get to see the end results we work toward. Women write to tell us their stories and how our studies and events have had an effect on their lives. One woman wrote in to tell us she had invited a friend to participate in a Bible study we hosted through our blog. The friend had been hurt by the church and had decided never to enter its doors again. She was, however, willing to study God’s Word through the internet. The moment was a perfect marriage of my two jobs—Bible study, online. The end result was a woman being discipled and encouraged in her faith.

Kelly Hughes is a mother of four, foster parent, piano teacher, creator of the PghMomtourage, and founder of the Foster Love Project. Kelly seeks to provide resources to local foster families and serves as an advocate for foster care and adoption in western Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Andrew, live in Pittsburgh, where they serve together in local church ministry.

  • “In 45 minutes you will receive a 2-year-old boy and his 4-day-old brother who is still detoxing from drugs in his system.” Goodbye, last night’s blissful sleep. Hello, newborn world. We saw the bruises on his arms and the shaking of his hands. We prayed for his mother to be rescued from the addiction that held her so tight that she chose drugs over these precious lives. Three short days later and off to court they went, only to be sent to live with a relative. Barely time to blink and no time to say goodbye. We pray they are loved and cared for wherever they are. We hear the statement over and over again: “I couldn’t do foster care because I couldn’t give them up.” The self-centeredness of this statement pierces my heart again and again. These kids certainly never asked to be in the middle of such difficult and uncertain circumstances. You may have heard the quote, “We embrace the heartbreak of letting them go if it means they know the feeling of being held onto.” We cling to that truth when our hearts ache during the grieving process.

Rebecca Meyer is a counselor with Cross Care Counseling and a ministry associate in the Chaplain’s Office at Wheaton College. In both contexts, she equips people to think biblically about the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender. In addition, she is a recitation instructor for the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation’s School of Biblical Counseling distance learning program. She and her husband live in Chicago.

  • Being charged with coordinating campus conversations about sexuality as a woman lends itself to having frank conversations about sexuality with both male and female colleagues. This feels like living in uncharted territory, in the middle of something incredibly politicized and sometimes X-rated. When I was in third grade, I wanted to be an astronaut. Although that plan didn’t pan out, I feel like an astronaut at the college. Surprisingly, I love being an astronaut! I consider it a great privilege that students trust me with their questions about sexuality. I have a front-row seat to the surprising, transforming work of the Holy Spirit. I genuinely love the students for who they are and who they are becoming. I can’t think of anything more God glorifying than making campus a safer place and being a conduit of freedom from sexual sin.

Editors’ note: The Faith and Work Dinner at our 2016 National Women’s Conference next month, June 16 to 18, in Indianapolis is being sponsored by EDGE Mentoring and Cerulean Restaurant. EDGE is a national mentoring organization for emerging leaders that combines personal, professional, and spiritual development in one experience. If you’re looking to mentor, or be mentored, you can find out more at Edge Mentoring. Finally, space at TGCW16 is running out, so be sure to register soon!