Thoughts From The Hill…

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

Twenty-five years ago, I was a new mother questioning every decision I was making for the itty-bitty human in my charge. Searching for a woman who lived nearby, I longed to sit and chat with someone a little older and wiser. The expectation in my mind was small—coffee, talking about marriage and babies, and other God conversations. One Sunday morning in the church building hallway, I confidently asked an older friend if she might be interested in getting together. I explained I thought I could benefit from her ideas and wisdom. Twenty-something years my senior, she had warm dark eyes and a soft voice.

In the past, I had always left our conversations calmer than before, lulled by her attention and gentle touch.  She had known Jesus since she was a girl, and I could see the love for Him in her face and the way she cherished His word.  So, I was astounded by her response to my invitation. “I don’t think I have much to offer.” A humble reply, I thought until I discovered she was dead serious. Stunned by her response, I scrambled to convince her otherwise.  What on earth would make her feel so useless?  I was not asking her to teach a weekly Bible, only make a tiny investment of time in a young mom needing encouragement and reassurance. 

How could she not understand who she is to her Father?  A priceless treasure, equipped for every good work. Instead, she caved to the self-condemning thoughts, walked away, missing an opportunity. I walked away with hurt feelings and disappointment. 

Throughout the years, I discovered many women within the body of Christ often feel the same: Ill-equipped, uncomfortable, mediocre, or “less than.”  So many of us have bought the lie that God cannot possibly use us to advance His purposes.  But that thought simply doesn’t align with scripture or Abba Father’s heart for us. We are significant to Him. God used numerous women throughout the old testament as His representatives, despite their insecurities.

Esther had no guarantee that she would not lose her head when she approached the king’s throne without summoning. I have to wonder how she felt walking down the long corridor leading to King Ahasuerus’ inner chamber—equipped, comfortable, brave?  Scripture seems to indicate that young Esther knew where to find her help and strength.  Go, gather all the Jews…and hold a fast on my behalf…I and my young women will do the same” (Esther 4:15-16). Likely her heart was pounding as she willingly risked her life for her friends and nation. 

The unnamed Shunammite woman offers the godly traveling man, Elisha, and his companion a place to stay within her family’s home while in the region. She even convinces her husband to build on an extra room for the travelers, complete with amenities.  Did she compare herself to other formidable women like Esther because she was not saving lives or preserving nations? Did either woman understand Yahweh doesn’t desire a good performance but a relationship and a dependent heart?  Both women’s stories on the pages of God-breathed Holy Scripture are reminders of His desire to fulfill His purposes through women who belong to Him. 

Within the new testament, the apostle Paul held great respect for women and depended on them to help promote the gospel. Did they also like my friend, like me, ever think they had nothing to offer? We also see devoted women serving and supporting the ministry of Jesus. And Jesus crushing societal norms, defending and bringing women close to Himself. The most poignant picture we have of Jesus’ love and compassion for women is when He is dying. During His last agonizing moments on the cross, He entrusts the care of His mother to His beloved disciple.  Offering salvation, compassion, purpose, and friendship to the marginalized, the love He displays for women is evident.    

What we believe about the nature of God and our worth as women in Christ dramatically impacts how we live our lives. Like Phoebe, Lydia, the Marys, and the woman taken in adultery, we are fully known beloved daughters–the apple of His eye. We have the filling of His Spirit, His love, and life. And we have been given gifts to offer the world and Church.

Because of Christ’s indwelling, we are included in His grand plan. But it’s not Christian service He is after. It’s Us. Now the pressure is off. We as women can relax and rest confidently in the One who can serve and love perfectly through us. Never again do we need to succumb to the message from God’s enemy, “I have nothing to offer,” because the truth is, as women with Jesus in us, we have everything to offer. 

You are Loved and of great worth