As we continue our story series, I’m pleased to introduce you to a fellow author and working mom, Elizabeth Knox. Elizabeth just released her first book, Faith Powered Profession, and she has a deep passion for helping us connect our spiritual values with our work.
Elizabeth, please introduce yourself (and tell us the many hats you wear).
I’m a wife, new mom, daughter, sister, friend, first-time author, part-time program manager, slow runner, 4-season-loving gal. I have made Washington, D.C., my home for the last 10 years.
What key events have marked your journey?
I grew up in rural northeastern Pennsylvania – gorgeous rolling green mountains, with wonderful parents and siblings. When I graduated from high school at 17, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to study in college. I decided to delay college for one year and I repeated the 12th grade as a Rotary Exchange student in Khon Kaen, Thailand. (At several points during my childhood we hosted exchange students so I had been introduced to the concept from a young age.) It was an amazing experience, and while I was there — in a 95% Buddhist country — I met missionaries and became a Christian.
At the end of that school year, I returned to the U.S., and spent my freshman year of college at a small university in Pennsylvania. For my sophomore year I did a National Student Exchange to the University of New Mexico (like spending a semester studying abroad, only at another school in the US). I liked it so much that I stayed! I made great friends and received a great education, but it also confirmed that I love the East Coast. So I spent a year working in my hometown and getting to know my parents as an adult, and then I attended the Maxwell School at Syracuse University to earn my masters in public administration.
I moved to D.C. right after graduate school and started working in the Defense field. After 5 years here, I saw a tall, handsome Texan at a party. We started chatting he offered to drive me the three blocks home. We sat in his car and talked ‘til the wee hours of the morning. We have been married for three years, and about 10 months ago we had our first child – a little boy who is an absolute delight!
I also have a passion for professional Christian women. Several friends and I were trying to figure out how to deal with challenging situations at work and stay true to our faith. I couldn’t find many resources on that subject at the time, so I thought about writing a book. I tested the ideas out as a Bible study with other professional women at my church, and when it worked well, I started writing. The book – which was just an idea four years ago – was just released on September 1st!
How do you integrate your faith, home, and work?
I try to remember every day that my “job” is to glorify God. Being a wife, mom, and a working professional are some of the ways to do that. And glorifying God is my motivation to do each area well.
I try to live my life as a blend, realizing that each part of my life – my faith, my family, my job, my hobbies – all influence one another. Things I practice in one area are transferrable to another: leading a team at work and leading a small group at church use similar skills, the daily discipline of reading and studying the Bible is applicable to the discipline required to prepare for a race. Loving my family well means doing my job well. If one area is suffering, it’s not too long before other areas start feeling the strain. It motivates me to prioritize my faith, my family, my job, and my health.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My Great Uncle Red has been the source of some really good advice:
- Never judge anyone by his or her first impression, but always make a good one yourself.
- Know how to give a really solid handshake.
Thanks Elizabeth for sharing your story! To connect with Elizabeth, you can visit her blog and order your own copy of Faith Powered Profession: A Women’s Guide to Living with Faith and Values in the Workplace. (We’ll be talking more about this book in the coming months!)
Does Elizabeth’s story strike a powerful or familiar chord? If so, please let her know.