It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.  No, your beauty should come from inside you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear and it is worth very much to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Where do you come from?  Who are you? I have done some searching on and found lots of surprising facts about my heritage. For example, my great, great, great (I lost count of how many greats) uncle was Light-Horse Harry Lee III, the uncle of Robert E. Lee. Two of my grandparents had American Indian ancestors, which is very difficult to research, but I remember the stories that were passed down through the family. Our ancestors give us a foundation of where we came from but really don’t tell us who we are.  

In my opinion, who we are comes from the influence of our family, teachers, friends, and church families. In my case, I come from a long line of very strong women. Now, you may think being strong means being outspoken, political or community activists, or even physically fit. I see strong through the eyes of my two grandmothers, my mom, and now, my daughter and granddaughters. These are the people that are my “ordinary saints.”
Memories of a beautiful, white-haired lady with her large family Bible in her lap every time she took time to sit down. This same quiet lady jumped to action and saved me from a lifetime of scars on my face from a terrible burn. Other memories of seeing the beaten, bloody, and broken face of my sweet grandmother after an intruder thought he had found an easier way to make a living by preying on unsuspecting elderly women and hearing him testifying in court that while he was beating her she kept witnessing to him and forgiving him. Watching my daughter raise three beautiful daughters while her husband was deployed three times into harm’s way, as she worked for Semper Fi Fund helping hundreds of active and retired Marines that had been severely wounded and their families.

When asked to write about “ordinary saints” in my life, I couldn’t pick just one. These strong women have done uncommon things, that when woven together have made generations of strong women in my family. Quietly and gently molding each other and all who knew them as they kept God at the center of their lives. So maybe where we come from and who we are is not nearly as important as WHOSE we are.

Linda Kiehl

About the Contributor

Linda Kiehl was born and raised in Spartanburg for 18 years prior to meeting her husband, Jerry. After living the Marine Corps life for 28 years, they settled down in their home town and joined FPC-Spartanburg.