I am getting ready to step into the wonderful world of women’s ministry – head on! I have always been connected to women’s ministry at church. Since I began coming, a little more than seven years ago. Only now, I will be sitting in the “facilitator’s” chair. And, I am so excited to finally step into this new season of my life. To have the opportunity to teach and encourage other women.
But, I have to address something before I begin leading… I have a truth I need to work through first. Thus, this post. On St. Paddy’s Day (to celebrate a Christian missionary who sought God’s will above the comforts of the culture).
Like I said, I am excited about serving in women’s ministry.
Only I will be a different kind of women’s ministry leader.
I love women’s ministry.
I love having the opportunity to
dig into the Word of God with
my sister-friends on a regular basis.
I love the community it brings.
There is much I love about it.
It’s just… I am a different kind of woman than most of them are.
I am single; they are married.
I am childless; they are mothers.
And, I am more than okay with my place in life. Finally! Can we just say, “Praise God! It has taken 28, almost 29 years, but she’s FINALLY got it!”? :) To the extent, that I have a new Scripture I am clinging to. Hear the story about that, in a sec..
My Current Placement
As I step in feet first, I am falling deeply in love with my Savior and the mission He is calling me toward. There is a Scripture that used to effect me like finger nails on a chalk board. I used to cringe, whenever I found it crawling in my singleness or purity Bible studies. Like a bad movie, I would find it when I least expect it. But, I am falling in love, as I see it breath into life for me.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
“I speak now to those who are not married. I also speak to widows. It is good for you to stay single like me. But if you can’t control yourselves, you should get married. It is better to get married than to burn with desire… (1 Cor. 7:8-9)”
As I examine my life as it currently is, I am finally content with my life. I am content with singleness. I am content with serving God, and just ENJOYING Him as He is! I don’t need to wait for that next step or two of my life to unfold – before I begin enjoying the life that God is giving me!
I can be the best me as I am, with Jesus, at this very moment!
I think we make a big mistake regarding our sisters in Christ (Whoa, fighting words!). Some of our studies even refer to women as “wives and mothers” with little notice given to women who are single or in any other position in life. Unintentionally, we make them feel less than… because they aren’t married or having a child. We might even tell them “it’s not the same,” but they are exactly where God has placed them.
While their lives are comparable to ours, it does not give us a right to see them as experiencing “less of God’s best” – just because they are not dating anyone and not mothering their own children.
Here are Three Tips to help us encourage our sisters
who might not fit into our
mold of the Christian woman
(again, fighting words – I understand!).
Affirm them where they are, not just where you expect them to be going.
Instead of telling them, “Just wait until you are a wife and have your own children,” affirm them right where they are. Encourage them. If they are an example to other women, tell them. If they are providing loving examples of how to put others first, tell them.
Recognize not every women is going to be someone’s wife or mother. It is a ministry opportunity, indeed, but it may be God’s will for you – not them.
Remember Anna who is seen sitting in the temple praying. We visit her in Luke 2. I love her. I have never met her, but cherish her heart for the Lord. She is sold out for her Savior. She centers her heart on God, and allows Him to be the One Thing to filter her life through.
“There was also a prophet named Anna. She was the daughter of Penuel from the tribe of Asher. Anna was very old. After getting married, she lived with her husband seven years. Then she was a widow until she was 84. She never left the temple. She worshiped night and day, praying and going without food. Anna came up to Jesus’ family at that moment. She gave thanks to God. And she spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the time when Jerusalem would be set free (Lk. 2:36-38).”
She is a full woman, just as you are. God’s will is different for each of us.
At times, it can be difficult to remember this one. In our culture, we tend to believe the lie that we must be ” ” in order to be a “real” woman. In this case, we have to be a wife. We have to be a mother. Not so. We are called “good” by our great God. When He made us, it was good. We are fully woman right where we are, because God has made us. We are complete in Christ.
“So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority (Col. 2:10).”
We need to remember the truth that God may not have a spouse for that sister of yours (to dig further into this, please see Matthew 19:8-12; 1 Cor. 7). It is far better to offer hope that is everlasting (through Jesus Christ) than to paint a picture of a fantasy life that may be designed for you – but not her (Again, hard truth. I know).
What Jesus Christ offers, He offers to everyone. We need to keep pointing our sisters back to Him. We need to keep encouraging her in ways that will brighten the light in her soul brought on the Word of the Lord. We need to keep pointing her to Jesus. She might not ever have a wedding or bring a new life into this world, but through Jesus Christ – she can change the world.
How to Encourage Her:
Encourage her to cling to the Savior Jesus.
Encourage her to seek after His will for her life.
Encourage her to keep serving Him.
Encourage her to keep fellowshiping within His Church.
Encourage her to stay content where God has her.
Encourage her to keep making Jesus Christ her #1 priority.
Friends, we have to break through these barriers set before us. I have laid out some tips to help us to break down these barriers of “what makes a woman” – so we can pursue the great treasures of Christ.
Let’s not neglect our sisters who don’t fit into our mold of a true woman of God.
… Keep loving her.
… Keep encouraging her.
… Keep pursuing God and His Awesome Purposes for our lives.
… Keep the greater things before you, today.
“But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him… (Phil. 3:7-9a).”
He wants to transform us. We have to lay down the mess of conformity, first. This message is designed to strictly encourage. If you find it a bit hard to digest, let it sit with you for a while. Think back to a time when you were single, perhaps it was a few decades ago. Consider what would be the most encouraging thing to hold onto. Something time couldn’t factor into. The truths of Christ is the most encouraging thing we could bring to our sisters in Christ.
As we lead in love, let’s set out to make sure we neglect no sister from feeling His love through how we encourage them.