I have always been a self conscience person. When I was in high school the hardest part of the day for me was lunch time. I attended a fairly large public school. Most of my friends were from my church youth group and attended other schools. The few friends I had at my school, including Chris, had a different lunch period than I did. This left me with no one to sit with at lunch. The thought every day of walking into that crowded cafeteria alone was terrifying to me. I imagined that everyone was watching me. Of course now I know that probably wasn’t true, but as a 16 year old that fear was enough to cause me to skip lunch almost every day and find an empty classroom to sit in and study.
When my husband began to be interested in missions he wanted very badly to get around missionaries. I was fine with that for him, but when he wanted to get me around missionary wives that same fear from high school began to rise up in me. I thought that all missionary wives were perfect. I just knew they were all musical geniuses who kept perfectly clean homes, had perfectly behaved children and were always sweet and helpful to their husbands while always looking like they had stepped off the cover of a magazine. I knew that none of them shared in my being overwhelmed with house work, snapping at my husband when I were tired, losing my cool with my children, stressing out over needing to loose a few pounds and the thousand other imperfect aspects of my life.
In support of my husband I began to get around these ladies in spite of my fears and what I found surprised me. These were REAL women! The ladies I met and began to know and love are some of the most talented women I have ever known. But just like me they also had insecurities and struggles of their own. I have learned some very important things about myself and others from these women that I am now very blessed to call my friends.
1. God gives us all different strengths and talents to use for his glory. One of the most relieving things I have come to know is that we do not all have the same strengths and that is ok. It is so easy to look at the talents that other ladies have and get discouraged, but God never intended for all of us to be exactly the same. In the team of ladies I work with there are amazing cooks, wonderful house keepers, ladies great with children, musical talents, great speakers, teachers, counselors, master packers, and so many other talents. The individual strengths of each one makes our team work extremely well together. If we were all strong in every area we wouldn’t need each other, and wouldn’t depend on the LORD.
I Corinthians 12:14-15, 18 “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
2. God can receive the most glory from our weakness. I have heard testimony after testimony from these missionary wives of how God has been glorified through times of extreme weakness in their lives. I recently heard a podcast with my friend Gretchen serving in North Africa. She said that while going through a very difficult time in her life and ministry that she would find her self getting up every morning and spending time with the Lord. She said that she would tell the Lord
“I can’t get through this day without your help”
She said that she questioned what was wrong with her that she was having to say this every day. Then she realized God wants us to depend on Him EVERY day. There is nothing wrong with finding ourselves so weak that we can only get by on the the Lord’s strength.
These testimonies from real women doing amazing things for the Lord encourage me greatly. They have struggles too. They have hard days. The difference is a dependence on the Lord through times of weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
3. It is not about our strengths or our weaknesses. It is all about Christ and what he can do through us if we will allow Him to.
On deputation I have had the opportunity to meet women all over the country and the world that God is using greatly. My favorite thing to see is how different they all are and how God is using them.
I am so thankful for the real women God has put in my life to teach me and encourage me. I am so thankful that God uses real people do His work in this world. If you consider your self a real woman I hope this can encourage you that God can use you too. God has made you who you are and desires to be glorified through you.
I Corinthians 1:27, 29, 31 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; That no flesh should glory in his presence. That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”