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The Power of One: Five Courageous Women Who Made History - Moms for America Newsletter Blog

MFA Weekly Newsletter

The Power of One: Five Courageous Women Who Made History - Moms for America Newsletter Blog
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Mar 4, 2024

The Power of One: Five Courageous Women Who Made History

It’s a pretty big deal to be a history-maker.

What does it take to be counted among the world’s noteworthy figures? Is it holding a high office or popularity? Maybe wealth and a reputation for wowing an audience with verbal eloquence and sharp wit – or top honors from an ivy league university. How about someone with a winning smile and an on-point social media image?

Not necessarily.

The people we look up to, who impacted their world – represent a much different set of criteria. Start with character, honesty, and courage – even if mixed with a bit of fear. Someone who will take the risk because the moment demands it. Someone who, despite hesitation, will step forward. They are marked forever by a willingness to get off the sidelines and into the game.

When we look at the women we revere for their contributions to our culture and history, they are often regular people. Moms who cared about kids, injustice, and the world in which they lived. They knew that it required dreams of something better, but also action. Some were well-educated, others were poor. Others were up to their eyeballs in their parenting season – and still stepped up. For these women, they wondered if one person really could make a difference. And then, they did.

We want to celebrate the power of one, specifically, five courageous women who made history. See what their lives speak to you.

1. A Jar Full of Hope – Irena Sendler

The war was over when the jar was unearthed from its hiding place buried beneath a tree. It was only then that its contents could finally be revealed. Beneath the dirt this little jar hid its secret names, addresses, and other bits of information designed to one day bring families back together after World War II.

As a young child, Irena Sendler’s dad taught her, “If you see someone drowning, you must jump in to save them, whether you can swim or not.” As a young adult, she watched her home in Poland overwhelmed by the Nazi machine.

Though not a Jew herself, she was deeply moved with compassion as she saw her neighbors lose their freedoms one by one. As a government social worker, she was able to help. She even skirted the rules to find families a little more food or needed medical help. The Germans packed nearly 400,000 Jews into the Warsaw ghetto, an area too small for such an enormous population.

Amid the starvation, brutality, and disease, Irena and a small group of like-minded friends created a variety of strategies to smuggle children out of the ghetto. She risked her life repeatedly to help babies and children to freedom – carrying some through the sewers, another in a box with airholes smuggled in a truck’s cargo of building supplies, other children escorted out by Irena with a newly memorized non-Jewish name and backstory. The children were then taken to convents, foster homes, and various families who agreed to care for them until they could be reunited with their parents.

Of course, some were babies who would never remember their given name or parents. That’s where the jar came into play. Irena carefully documented each child, their names, parents, and where and with whom they had been placed. She hoped its contents would one day help families find their little ones again.

Irena was captured by the Nazis in 1943, tortured, and sentenced to death. Miraculously, she did not die at the hands of her captors; instead, she was freed, possibly through a bribe paid by her friends.

Through her care, willingness, and courage, Irena and her friends were able to rescue some 2500 children. Though these young lives were saved, most of their parents were killed during the Holocaust. Their stories testify to a young woman’s willingness to risk everything.

A couple of dramatic retellings of her story can be streamed online: Hallmark Hall of Fame 2008 movie, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, and a three-episode audio drama, “One More Name” tells her story in the Adventures in Odyssey Club.

2. A Little Writer Who Started a War – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Though it’s not confirmed that President Lincoln referred to author Harriet Beecher Stowe as “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war,” it’s often reported and may be true.

Whether historians agree on that quote or not, her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a nation-changing impact. The story of a slave named Tom and his suffering at the hands of cruel slave owners sold more than 300,000 in its first year and well over a million in England, Asia, and Europe. In fact, the only book that outsold it in that century was the Bible.

Did her vivid portrayal of the devastating cruelty of slavery precipitate the Civil War? Maybe, however, she was a mom, a writer, and most importantly, someone willing to say (through her writings) what needed to be said.

Harriet penned 30 books, poetry, and short stories and published articles during her career. She was no politician – she didn’t own a theatre or a newspaper or lead a movement. She wrote with passion and purpose, using what she had, not knowing that her story would make her a household name. She made history hunched over her writing, imagining the characters and telling their stories of tragic oppression, and changed an untold number of hearts and minds about slavery.

3. Dreaming of a Home – Wai Jia Tam

As a teen, Wia Jia went on a mission trip to Nepal, not knowing it would change her life forever.

She served 30 young girls who had suffered abuse and abandonment and now lived together in a group home. As Wai Jia worked there, she got to know the girls’ joy, pain, and dreams and learned to love each one. During her time with them, the lease for the girls’ rental home ended. The leaders informed her that this often happened because greedy landlords drastically raised the rent yearly once they learned that a foreign organization helped fund the mission.

It had become a sad ritual for the girls to pack up and relocate to another rental house every year. When her time of service ended, and she returned home, the plight of these precious girls became a fire in Wai Jia’s soul. Though only 18, she decided she wanted to buy a house for the girls and give them a permanent home. The price tag would be $100,000.

Undeterred, she created a picture book, Kitesong, using her amateur watercolor skills – redoing each piece repeatedly until the editor finally approved her effort. Her teenage dream, determination, and diligence won the day, and Wai Jia earned enough to purchase the home.

For those 30 young ladies – history was made. She provided a place to thrive and an example of dreaming and accomplishing what might seem impossible to most teens – or adults! In her book, Dream Brave: A Dare to Live By Faith When You Feel Too Small, she tells this and other stories of her humanitarian efforts and adventures. She is now a doctor, missionary, speaker, and founder of Kitesong Global.

4. A Mom, A Van, and a Voice – Kimberly Fletcher

Some 20 years ago, before her name was known throughout the nation – she was a mom.

You know – a real mom – diaper bags, car seats, and laundry. So. Much. Laundry. In the middle of mothering her eight children, something captured Kimberly Fletcher’s attention and changed the trajectory of her life. When terrorists struck on September 11, 2001, her husband, an Air Force officer, was serving at the Pentagon.

Thankfully, he returned home safely that day; however, something began to burn in Kimberly’s heart after that tragic day. In the years that followed, her passion became a dream, and her dream became a strategy. That strategy then became action. In 2004, this mom began a grassroots movement, formerly known as Homemakers For America, to champion the spread of American values, history, and patriotism.

She has covered countless thousands of miles in her van, bringing her message from big cities to small towns – anywhere moms are joining in the effort to save this great nation. Dusty roads, fast food, constant phone calls, and notes on a legal pad marked the genesis of Moms for America. Now, the organization has taken its place on the national stage, with Kimberly’s words of wisdom and inspiration mobilizing moms from coast to coast.

It would have been easy – and logical for her to remain focused on her responsibilities at home instead of getting involved. Instead, Kimberly has built a robust platform of grassroots networks nationwide. She’s become a well-respected author, columnist, radio host, and contributing writer with Townhall.com. Kimberly shared her bold ideas on numerous national media outlets, including The Blaze, NewsMax, OANN, the Rush Limbaugh Show, and Fox News. Her personal mission is to educate and inspire the women of America to realize their worth and the powerful influence they wield simply by being who they are.

She’s gathered other moms to share leadership roles in Moms for America. As a team, they have broadened the scope and effectiveness of the organization. One such powerhouse voice, Director of Civic Engagement Aly Legge, has a compelling story. An army veteran, wife, and mom of five, Aly shares her inspiring vision to protect our nation’s values and inspire others to get involved. She, along with Kimberly and thousands of like-minded mamas, is finding her voice to impact history as our nation’s future hangs in the balance. Aly is our special guest on this week’s podcast, so don’t miss our engaging conversation.

5. A Familiar Face and Endless Possibilities – You

Maybe you don’t think you’ve “made” any history yet.

You’re not feeling like Irena, Harriet, Wai Jai, Kimberly, or Aly.

Don’t worry – many of us are just trying to get through the week with all the kids healthy, safe, and relatively clean. Then there’s the laundry…

There is power in the heart and soul of each American woman – especially moms.

To make your mark on history doesn’t mean you have to empty the ocean in one massive explosive effort. Great things are often preceded by the small. How about dipping a cup out of the sea as a first, meaningful, albeit small step?

Think of it, Harriet wrote many other books and articles before her moment with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Irena was kind and helped her neighbors in many small ways before she ever saved the first child. Kimberly probably had countless conversations in her kitchen with trusted friends as she considered what she might do for and with her fellow moms – before she ever sat beneath the hot lights at a national news network. You get the picture.

Right where you are, mama, you are impacting the future by raising children to know and love our nation’s history and principles. They will carry the truth while others fall for the lies perpetuated in our current culture. Then, they will be the moms and dads who raise your grandkids as freedom-loving, proud Americans. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself ready to speak up when your school pushes porn or gender ideology on your kids. Your voice is that of a history-maker; you have the credentials as a citizen and a mom.

We invite you to learn more about the three-fold mission and core beliefs of  Moms for America. Join one of our Mom Groups, or delve into one of our classes. Consider how to become empowered to make a difference in your community. That’s where it begins.

Then, we encourage you to pray. Ask God what He would have you do. Whether you see your name in lights someday or lead a group of moms to pray weekly for your community and our nation, history is feeling your touch.