How Ordinary Women Are Making a Difference

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Nichole Forbes -Making A Difference3

Last year I wrote about making a conscious effort to pay attention to the news and to bear witness to what is happening in our world. That decision to open my eyes and pay attention has lead to many heartbreaking and yet beautiful moments in my life. The heartbreaking bit is seeing the pain and destruction that comes from hate and violence in our world. The beauty has come in the form of seeing the best of our humanity at work in my everyday life.

Every time there has been violence or destruction in our world the response from the few, the mighty, the loving has been to rise up in kindness. Where there is war there are also peacemakers, where there is hate there are also love-doers, where there is fear there are also hope-bringers and where there is death there are also life savers.

Fred Rogers was a television writer, producer and puppeteer. He was also a minister. Everyday of my childhood, Mr. Rogers spoke words of encouragement, hope, peace and strength into my world. He told me that I had value just for being me, that my feelings were important and that my imagination was limitless. He taught me how to be a good neighbor and how to be a good friend to those who may look, sound or move differently than me. He also taught me how to spot the kindness in the world.

Mr. Rogers was once asked for advice on how to help children process the tragedies they see on the news. His response was to talk about his own mother and how she encouraged him, when he was a little boy, to always look for the helpers in times of tragedy. That has stuck with me all of these years and recently, through the incredible women of the Dangerous Women Tribe, I was reminded of this truth again.

After the terror in Charlottesville, VA, I asked the DWT how they were responding to the evil in the world. I wanted to know how we could tangibly amplify the good in the world when there is so much darkness surrounding us. I wanted to see the helpers in action. Their responses lifted my spirits and gave me hope.

In big ways and small ways, and in everyday ordinary moments, these courageous women are stepping out and living for justice and peace and hope. The way they are choosing to respond to hate with love and determination has filled my heart and given me courage to do the same.

Here are some of these magnificent helpers in action:

“I am starting an online book club where we only read books by women of color. I believe we live out what we put in. I believe books are a beautiful platform to ‘input’ diverse voices and in turn amplify and honor them by discussing how they may shift some paradigms in us that need shifting.”
~Carrie Kuba

“I work for an organization that welcomes newcomers to Canada and we provide settlement and safe transitional housing for up to two years. I just invited a Syrian family and their grandparents for dinner on Sunday. We are all going to go to the beach together and then come for dinner at my house. Its small but something tangible that I can do.”
~Rose Woller

“I teach yoga at our racially and socioeconomically diverse elementary school. I teach kids to be in touch with their own feelings and to develop empathy for others. I also get to tell them they are valued and have gifts for the world.”
~Sarah Henderson

“I am training to be a tutor for parents at my daughter’s school. The program helps English language learners with things like homework and forms. Part of the program is getting parents to volunteer in their kids’ classrooms.”
~Annie Rim

“I am speaking, writing and sharing my story about living with bipolar in hopes that I can help women who are struggling and scared to bring it out into the light. I am passionate about ending the stigma our society gives those with mental illness.”
~Shaley Hoogendoorn

“I am trying to mother my children in a way that changers our world. My son noticed the homeless people (in our community) and it made him sad that he couldn’t help them. We baked little packets of treats and did a baking/lemonade stand and he made $45 in four hours. We took my son to buy $5 Tim Hortons gift cards and we took him on walks to hand out the gift cards. It may seem trite but it was a beautiful experience with my son.”
~Sarah Gibson Neve

“I began the first LGBTQ+ support groups in my small town. When we first started we had a group for adults and a group for youth. For some of the youth, it was the first time they had ever heard that God loved them, that they were loveable and worthy of love.”
~Erin Thomas

“I am blessed to have a job that takes me into the homes of pregnant women on the fringes. People of color, undocumented families, Muslims. I lament with these folks over the changes in the USA and I try to point them to agencies offering help. I feel the biggest part is showing love. I have the honor of holding newborn babies that they proudly present as I walk through the door. I get to exclaim how very beautiful their babies are. Such joy!”
~Ellie Hagey

“We just moved and I really wanted to get to know my neighbors. We have a big house of Albanians on one side. We’ve said hello a few times and they’re always so friendly. Last week one of the men was outside with his baby girl and happened to mention it was her birthday. So my daughter and I went shopping for a little gift and then we took it around. They invited us in, fed us cake and coca cola and my daughter played with two of the bigger girls. All the women were home with the kids and they all said that I need to come over again because they want to practice their English. I’m so very glad I did this little ‘dangerous’ things and stepped out of my comfort zone. “
~Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen

These women–these courageous, loving, dangerous women–are teaching me, moment by moment, what love in action looks like. They are teaching me that we can all be helpers, lovers and peacemakers. They encourage me to step outside of myself and love beyond the limits I thought I had. They remind me that my one small act of kindness is a piece of the larger resistance against evil. They show me that the holiest of work happens when two people decide to see each other, to really see each other’s humanity.

So Lovelys, how are you amplifying goodness in your world? How are you being a helper in the midst of tragedy? How are you living love in action? Please share your story, your hope, with our community.

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Nichole Forbes
Nichole is just a regular gal loved by an extraordinary God. She believes in community, justice and freedom. She tries to live brave everyday and to say the kind words that need to be heard. She raises her three Not-So-Wee-Ones in the middle of the Canadian prairies with her favorite person ever, her husband, Brad. On an average day you can find her running errands in her really rad mini-van while sipping coffee and rocking out to The BeeGees. She blogs and is the author of Finding Me in Him: One Woman’s Journey to Discovering Her Identity in Christ.
Nichole Forbes
Nichole Forbes

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  • This post has me searching my heart (especially my motives) because everything I do is happening within a pretty small circumference. Cleaning my daughter-in-law’s kitchen before she comes home with my [adorable] granddaughter is pretty small compared with venturing into unknown territory.

    • Oh, but that is an invaluable gift!!

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Michele, you have no idea how liberating and life giving those small acts of kindness are! You are a helper, too. I see it is n the thoughtful words of encouragement you offer to these Shelovelys too!

  • Roos Woller

    Thanks for sharing this. It gives me hope that no matter how small or dim the light is, it is breaking through the cloud of darkness and amplifies the good and beauty that is out there. No act of kindness is to small for God to use.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      It’s really not! I think our millions of small acts of kindness make much more of a difference in the end than someone’s one grand gesture could ever make on its own.

  • Love this reminder that small things can make a great impact.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Yes, and often what we consider a small thing to do feels like a huge thing to receive 💙

  • There is so much inspiration here! So encouraging to hear of all the diverse ways women are living for peace, justice, and joy. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      The women of The Dangerous Women Tribe are such a force of wisdom and goodness and justice. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from each of these brilliant women!