Thursday, August 17, 2006
my path to women's ministry
My path towards women's ministry began when I went home for the Christmas holidays to visit my parents. My mother had invited me to attend her ladies' Bible Study with her. Sigh. A room full of thirty year old wives and mothers? Do I have to?
On top of that the women were reading through Loving Your Husband, by Cynthia Heald. A junior in college and not a single date to boast of, I was not qualified to partake in a discussion on the matter, so I sat back to listen as the women discussed the topic of *how* they could show love to their mates. I began to squirm at the blatant disdain most of the women felt towards their husbands. They were failures as husbands, fathers, and men. I clenched my fists.
Once they had all had their say, a minister's wife looked across the table at me. "Christine, what are your thoughts."
"You wouldn't care to know. I'm young and single. What do I know?!"
At this the women in the room turned their attention to me, assuring me that my thoughts mattered.
I began slowly.
"I believe that a man feels most loved when he knows that he is respected."
I went on to describe how I desired to serve my husband and show him respect to himself, in front of our children, and before others (whether he was present or not). In matters of submission, I imagined the thrill of being able to serve my husband even if the task was small. I longed for the Lord to bring me a mate that I could run along side of as we ran the course God had set before us, cheering him on ... quenching his thirst ... rejoicing at his/our victories.
I did not qualify my statements by saying that I would only do these things if he proved to be a godly leader and lover. I knew that many of their husbands were not. However, wives are responsible for their own actions and attitudes ... not those of their husbands. Scripture does not describe the marriage relationship as "Wives, submit to your husbands when they lead you in godliness." Instead, 1 Peter 3:1 states, "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives—"
After explaining my opinion, the women sat there slack-jawed for a moment ... and then ... they burst out laughing!
I put my head down ... half in anger, half in pity.
"Ha ha ha ... oh, Christine! Just wait till you get married. Just wait and see. Ha ha ha ha ha! You're so green!"
My face burned and tears stung my eyes. Not from shame. But the hopelessness I saw in these women ... the search to excuse their own faults by placing the blame on their husbands ... the pride ... the bitterness ... the disrespect ... the sin.
Many had come to Bible study hoping my mother would pat them on the heads, understand their point of view, agree that their husbands were failures, and pat them on the back for doing the best they could do under the circumstances. Perhaps the Bible might even have some sort of loophole that would make them feel even better about themselves.
Their disregard for Scripture and their lack of understanding of the character and will of our God pierced my heart. Then and there I was determined to do my part to raise up women in knowing God through the teaching of the Scriptures. Women apply this intimate knowledge of the their Lord to their daily lives through discipleship/sanctification. The girls and women I work with will receive a foundation of biblical and sytstematic theology followed by applied theology (applying what they know of God and man to their daily lives). Women who know the love and holiness of God Almighty will seek to honor and obey His Word.
I have sought in my own living to apply King Lemuel's mother's advice to her son. She described a godly wife who's husband is confident in her and her abilitites. She seeks to do him good and not evil all the days of her life. All the days ... even before she is married? Indeed. Take God's inspired Word seriously, ladies. Look at the married women around you. Are they disrespectful? Do they leap at the opportunity to bite off their man's head? Do they ignore their husbands? Have they grown bored in their marriage? Single women, like myself, this is not your fate. Do what is necessary today to love your future husband. It's really no different than living the Christian faith. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength ... and ... love your neighbor as yourself. Being conformed into the likeness and image of Christ, living the gospel daily, and removing selfish pride from your life is essentially the ulitmate preparation to living with and respecting and loving a husband.
For more reading click on the following links:
I'd rather laugh than cry: cover letter and resume
(My path to Southern Seminary)
Loving Your Husband Before You Get Married, by Carolyn McCulley
(Note that my precious little iBook is back from the hospital. She has woken up from her coma. But sadly, she is suffering from amnesia. She remembers nothing. Not the thousands of songs we listened to together. Nor the hundreds of pictures we looked at. We will get through this together. It's a new beginning. A fresh start. This time around will be better than the last. She looks forward to meeting Mike's new macBook ... I, however, will smash it if I see it.
I'd appreciate it if you have my email address, shoot me an email so I can store your info in my address book. Thanks.)