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 four of the 25 women selected.
The women featured below have (at least) one thing in common—they have shared the reason for their hope (1 Pet. 3:15). Their joy, their wisdom, their kindness, and their vulnerability has been so attractive to their colleagues that their colleagues—many of whom “heard” the gospel first by watching their lives—have begun reading the Bible, attending church, and worshiping Christ.
Connie has been a teacher for the past 42 years. Currently, she teaches pre-kindergarteners at a public charter school in Washington, D.C. But in her teaching career, she has taught all ages—from three months to late adulthood. Her time teaching coincides with her time being a Christian, so most of her most godly relationships have happened in this vocational context.
- In one of my team teacher’s life, there was a season of family trials. Not only was she getting calls from her son’s high school counselors on a frequent basis, but she also had become aware that her husband was having an affair. She described herself as a “bad Catholic” and now, through this season of suffering, she wanted to read the Bible. We did. Not only did she devour it, she also devoured all the gospel sermons I passed along to her. She confessed Christ and, although her suffering didn’t stop (she divorced her husband, and her son died of a drug overdose), she is still walking in the faith.
Denice Ellenberger is the regional mentor coordinator and a senior branch office administrator at an investment company. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, and living alongside other women in discipleship. She is passionate about studying various woldviews, religions, philosophy, and theology. Denice lives in Denver, Colorado, where she attends Park Church and enjoys escaping into the mountains as much as possible.
- In high school I was voted the likeliest among my friends to be married and have kids first. If you had told me then that I would end up single at 39 years old, never married, no kids, working in corporate America, and loving it (most days), I don’t know if I would have laughed or cried. But here I am. I’ve worked in the financial industry for the past 15 years. One thing that makes my work meaningful is that, while I mentor and coach others in a professional capacity, I also get to speak into areas of their personal lives and help them apply biblical principles to their marriages, to raising children, and to dealing with trials, vices, and strugges—many times without them even realizing the religious nature of my counsel. Because of this, I’ve had a number of coworkers come to me for advice and want to know how I became so wise. This opens the door for deeper conversations about faith and the Bible, and I’ve seen a handful of people warm to the gospel and even start attending church!
Naomi Habib is an ICU-nurse-turned-physician interested in pulmonary/critical care, international medicine, and teaching, and is beginning her internal medicine residency training in Phoenix. When not at work, she can be found at her favorite hole-in-the-wall, dreaming of the next country to visit or discussing some of her favorite topics, including critical care, Christology, cabbages, and kings—preferably over street tacos.
- It was a busy night in the emergency room (ER) when I picked up David’s chart—and winced. “Suicidal, cutter.” ER physicians dread manipulative, angry cutters. Worse, David had numerous large, ugly gashes and scars that bespoke years of anguish. Stitching up all of them would bring my shift to a screeching halt. But as I cared for his wounds, I discovered that tonight was the anniversary of his father’s death—his father, the one who had verbally and physically abused him. And my heart broke to learn he was a believer. We began to speak of the Lord, of his work in suffering, his promises that had brought us through, and our favorite Bible verses.
Whitney Eldridge lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with her husband, Tony, and 1-year-old son, Crews. She is the marketing director for an outdoor-lifestyle retail company. She loves all things creative and dabbles in painting and design, while writing for her blog, Rediscovered. She is passionate about empowering women with the gospel and theology, and is continuing to embrace her true worth in Jesus.
- On a recent trip with a coworker, I was away from my just-turned-1-the-day-before little boy and was lamenting to God how difficult it was. I was considering our family’s current situation and how, since my husband is still pursuing his graduate degree, there is just no option for me to be a stay-at-home mother. I was thankful for my job but also felt the sting of missed moments and limited time. Even during my lamentation over being away from my family, though, God reaffirmed his faithfulness by enabling me to talk openly and genuinely with my friend about the gospel and its goodness—and he showed me this is where he has me for a good and joyful purpose. A few months later, my friend started coming to a 10-week hermeneutics class I was helping lead, and we’ve continued to have meaningful discussions about faith, suffering, God’s goodness, and so many other things, including my struggle with anxiety and control.
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. Cerulean is a locally sourced and Midwest-inspired restaurant in Indianapolis that’s about more than just food. It’s designed to bring people together and make community happen. Founded by two Taylor University graduates, it’s located a short 15-minute walk from the Indiana Convention Center. Be sure visit during TGCW16!