Influence: Having the capacity to effect character, development, or behavior of someone or something. (New Oxford American Dictionary)
Eve, the first female, wife, and mother to walk this earth, I'm positive was influential. For the most part we only associate Eve's influence with that moment in time when Satan deceived her heart away from God, and along with Adam, she tasted death. We tend to focus much on her negative influence. But you know what? Eve had pure, perfect influence prior to the fracturing of everything this side of heaven.
I always feel like I know so little and yet everything about Eve. I know her heart carried the same ingrained root desires that my own heart does, as well as the heart of every other woman. Outside of her creation, her union with Adam, the fall, and the consequences of that one bite of fruit, we go on to read that she had children. But, I sincerely hope that she had many moments, through the grace and strength of God, that she used her influence over others and over creation for good.
God seems to like highlighting the influential ability a woman carries within herself throughout the whole scripture narrative. There's Hannah who cried out to the Lord asking for a son, and when He heard her cry and answered, Hannah gave her son, Samuel, back to Him and His glory. Samuel then went on to be a great, as well as the last, judge of Israel. Rahab, who despite being a prostitute, sheltered Israelite spies in her home, and went on to become a member Jesus' family lineage. Then there's Abigail. You really do have to love Abigail; she was incredibly wise, but humble, which gave her the ability to speak into David's life during the moments he was prone to outbursts of anger. (Probably on more than just that one occasion we read in 1 Samuel.) The isolated Samaritan woman who was an outcast in her own town was later used to bring all of Sychar the news of the gospel through her testimonial encounter with Jesus at the well. There's Lydia, who opened her home for Paul to rest and played a large role in aiding church where she lived during its infancy. And for all the gripping we sometimes do over the Proverbs 31 woman, it's so easy to see that Solomon was describing a woman who embodied influence for God so well that her community and family flourished.
All these women, and many more found in scripture (I didn't even go through a list of historical female figureheads), while not perfect--when they leaned on and trusted God, they were called blessed and honored. There's a question here then begging to be asked by my self and all daughters of these great women of faith: How are we using our influence?
We all influence someone or something. Not one of us is exempt from this. The question is not an 'if', but a 'how' one. See, God gave some instructions in Eden, one of which was to go out and steward creation... to influence it. Not for ourselves, but for Him, by the unique giftings and abilities He's given each one of us, our differing history, culture, and environment we occupy and find ourselves living in.
I want to leave that question on the table for us to dwell on today. To chew around in our mouths, and taste. There's an answer for each one of us; that's the nature of how questions. They come off tasting differently per person.
But we can be certain of one thing: If we'll come, open-handed and open-hearted, trusting Him, He will indeed use us to influence our communities, culture, family, friends, the workforce... and all of creation. I just hope and pray for you and I that our how's lead to being called blessed and honored, as the generations of women before us were.