5 Ways Great Women Encourage

You may not know this. (I didn’t.) But Henry Ford (of Ford Model T) had quite the wife.

Her name was Clara.

Though, if this was Henry talking, he might introduce her as the “great believer.” It wasn’t just his idea of a motor carriage that Clara had faith in. She offered unwavering support for his ambitions. Over fifty year’s worth. *low whistle*

Of course, she wasn’t the only great woman who knew how to encourage. . . .

Show enthusiasm.

There are some moments that you wait and wait for. . . . And in June of 1876, that moment had finally arrived for Alexander Graham Bell. He was invited to present his telephone to the Emperor of Brazil. He telegrammed his fiancée the news.

In my head, Mabel squealed, jumped around a bit, and then sat down to write.

My dear Alec:

I cannot begin to tell you how pleased and delighted your telegram has made me. Very grateful also, so much happiness has been given to me of which I am so unworthy, somehow I feel as if it could hardly all come true. But if I do not deserve it you do after all those years of labor. I am so glad I just want to dance for joy. . . . 

. . . It must be glorious there among all those gifted men and beautiful things. I think I can see you there among them all just where you ought to be. [Read the full letter.]


Mary Moffat understood David Livingstone’s heart for evangelizing. It was hers too.

Daughter of missionary Robert Moffat, her maiden name provided many connections for her husband’s ministries. Mary was constantly with child though, traveling uncharted territory, and tending to the health of her young family without complaint.

She did all she could for their dream . . . even leave. (Didn’t see that coming, did you?)

For many reasons (chief among them health and education), Mary was sent to live in England with their children. Wholesome Word’s article David Livingstone: Finding a Wife on the Field explained,  “She endured, for years at a time, suffering and suspense and separation that he might be free for the work.”


Pat Nixon knew how to go all in.

In the early—I’m talking genesis of Richard’s political career, she walked her pregnant hiney up and down the campaign trail. And when that wasn’t enough, “[Pat] sold part of her inheritance—her one tangible asset, a share of a property she owned with her brother Tom—for $3,000 and invested the bulk of the proceeds in six-page pamphlets that introduced the unknown Richard Nixon to the public. . .” and on it goes in Will Swift’s Pat and Dick.

I mean, hours after giving birth, the woman was writing press releases.

Her time, money, and energy motivated and sustained the one-day 37th president.

Keep the faith.

In NPR’s How Clementine Churchill Wielded Influence as Winston’s Wife, biographer Sonia Purnell tells the story of the Dardanelles military campaign. The lives of 44,000 British and French soldiers were lost, and Winston was pegged as the scapegoat. Sad on all accounts, right?

He then resigned from his government position to join fighting in the trenches.

Winston wrote to Clementine [Klem-uhn-teen] of the horrors. He longed to return home and knew it could be arranged so. However, Clementine encouraged him to stay. To stay. In danger. With a very real possibility of being shot dead.

The thing is, she knew if Winston rushed home, the people would not forgive him. To ever hope of attaining the position of Prime Minister as Clementine knew he did, the people would have want his return.

Prove true.

I don’t truly “get” Emma Darwin. I think she’s fantastic, but she’s on this level that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

She married Charles. And—I feel it’s important to note that before they even became engaged, Charlie boy came clean about his religious doubts. Pause. Okay. This is big, guys. Emma loved Jesus. Devoutly. It’s kind of what her family did. They were known for it. Yet, there she was wed to the nerd who would one day be known as the Father of Evolution.

Despite their differences, Emma stood by him. She strengthened his arguments and punctuation by editing his bookThe Origin of Species. 

It’s clear to me now, after reflecting on these stories, that it takes a good amount of courage to actually encourage. I’m not sure I would’ve given up an inheritance so my husband could try a career in politics on for size—let alone advise him not to come home from war.

Could you?

It’s not for the faint of heart.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

Swift, Will. Pat and Dick: The Nixons, an Intimate Portrait of a Marriage. New York: Threshold Editions, a Division of Simon & Schuster, 2014.

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How do you become a great woman? I'm asking. It's not rhetorical. You see, I'd like to be one. I intend to gain a fair blueprint by learning from inspirational women in history. You're welcome to join me.

6 thoughts on “5 Ways Great Women Encourage

  1. Love the courage and encouragement these women provided! But I can’t wrap my head around Charles Darwin’s wife either – she actually edited his book? Wish she had inserted some God in there. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emma Darwin is certainly a lady I’d like to get to know better.

      As far as “how could she possibly edit *that* book?” . . . Two things come to mind. The first: neither one of them expected the response to which “The Origin of Species” received. The other, of course, is that she loved him. And on that note, love often has unexpected responses too.


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