Women who have made an impact: Reflections for Women’s History Month
For Women’s History Month, we’re pleased to feature members of our 2023 Springtide Ambassadors Program (SAP) as they reflect on women who have made an impact on their lives. Below, Lensa and Tabatha’s reflections show how women from the past as well as the present can influence one’s spiritual journey.
A woman who has had an impact on my life is Khadija bint Khuwaylid. Khadija was one of the first women who accepted Islam as a religion and the truth. She was born in the sixth century CE to merchants of the Quraysh tribe, who ruled Makkah (Mecca). Khadija inherited her wealth and used it to conduct trade after her parents and the husbands from her first two marriages died. She then used what she earned to help orphans, widows, the poor, the sick, and others in need.
Khadija was known as a powerful, smart, independent woman, and many men wanted to work for her. This is how she met Muhammad (SAW)* — she later proposed to him, they married and had six children together. When he started getting more messages as a prophet, Khadija was there to support him, assure him, and financially support him. She used her power and influence to protect him from dangerous people. When their home became too unsafe for Muhammad (SAW) to remain, she left with him even though it ended up taking a toll on her health. Her illness progressed, and she later died at the age of 69 in 619 CE. Muhammad was devastated by the loss of both Khadija and his uncle in the same year; the year 619 is known as the year of sorrow in recognition of the two beautiful people who helped him in the beginning of his prophethood. Khadija was revered in his memories for the rest of his life and was held as a great model for both men and women for “intelligence, virtue, courage, and devotion to family and to God.”
Khadija encourages and challenges me every day because of how close she was to her religion — she gave up everything just for the sake of it. As a successful businesswoman, she further expanded a thriving family business with her skills and compassion. She was a very powerful woman even though women at that time were valued less than men — until Muhammad came and taught people how important women truly are. Her dedication to Islam moves me daily to become a better Muslim myself.
One specific woman who has impacted my life is Cassie Sabin, who used to be my youth pastor. Cassie has supported me over and over again. She was by my side when I believed I was completely alone, when I felt anxious and discouraged beyond measure, and when I thought that all I could do was to continue to live each day by myself — never leaning on anyone, never trusting. She listens to me intentionally and cares about my problems, she encourages me to take care of my body as a God-given gift, she makes herself available as an instrument for God’s provision in my life, and she always reminds me who my Creator is and who He says I am. She has been the embodiment of Proverbs 18:24**, a real “friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Secondly, along her side, I feel accepted and secure. In a world full of judgment and division, Cassie has welcomed me, shown me grace, and helped me in ways I do not think she even realizes. Her open arms and big heart for people have pushed me to let go of all my judgment towards others, comparison, and self-righteousness. When the Bible says that we should accept others just as Christ has accepted us, so that God will be given glory (Romans 15:7), I think of her.
Perhaps, most importantly, Cassie has led me closer to God – who love really is. She has loved me by embracing me and inviting me just as I am and also encourages me to be humble, wise, obedient, and compassionate — to be a servant and a forgiver, to be more like Jesus, the “founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Cassie’s good deeds shine bright and bring clarity to my path. Her care, lack of judgment, and true love have influenced my life beautifully, making her a woman figure — a mother, a mentor, a friend, and a leader — for whom I will always be thankful.
*The abbreviation SAW stands for the Arabic words “sallallahu alayhi wa salaam” (may God’s prayers and peace be with him). Muslims use these words as a sign of respect to Allah’s Prophet when mentioning his name.
**Scripture references from Tabatha’s reflection come from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV).