Hi everyone, thanks for following my blog! If you are new, bienvenidos (welcome)! I’ve just returned from a life-changing trip with Azmera (www.azmera.net) to Costa Rica where we facilitated a retreat for kingdom-minded cross-cultural workers. It will take a while to process all that God did in that place, but here are a few recurring first impressions that I’ve been waking up thinking about each morning
1. Women everywhere need love and acceptance.
We were created to love and be loved. There is a hole in our hearts desiring unconditional love and acceptance. This need can ultimately be met only by knowing we are loved and accepted by Jesus. He knew us before we were born and chose us before the beginning of time. He saw how we would live each day including each sin, and he loved us anyway. Because of this great love he provided a way to be in relationship with him and to walk in his grace moment by moment, day by day. He gives grace upon grace upon grace, never ending, unrelenting, like the waves crashing upon the seashore.
Oh my friends, if only we could fully grasp how long and wide and high and deep is the love Jesus has for us! It would break our chains and calm our fears and fill us up to overflowing with all of the fullness of God. This is our source for loving one another and a lost and hurting world.1
2. Women everywhere need encouragement.
To encourage simply means to give courage. How easily we become discouraged and lose hope. We need courage to walk a life of faith when we face struggles and challenges, whether it’s the daily living of life, or the unexpected “big stuff” that completely derails life as we know it. Our courage comes first from the presence of God through Christ in us. As we embrace the hope He gives us with confidence, we are to use that to encourage one another daily. In Hebrews 3:13, the word encourage literally means to call to one’s side for the purpose of strengthening, comforting, consoling, and discipling one another in the hard places of our lives.
The apostle Paul asked the Philippian church to pray for him in his trials that he would have sufficient courage to glorify Jesus. He called for Timothy to come quickly as he languished in a Roman prison during his last days on earth. Can we do any less than call out to our fellow sisters in Christ to come alongside us in our struggles? Can we do any less than be women who will be present and point others to Jesus in the midst of them?2
3. Women everywhere need community.
Loving and encouraging one another requires connection with other women in a vibrant community of believers. A branch by itself bears no fruit, but a branch connected to the vine bears much fruit…and when connected through the vine to other branches yields an abundant harvest.
Friendship starts with relationship with Jesus. On his last night with his disciples before his crucifixion, Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants…instead I have called you friends….” A servant is in relationship with his master by command; a friend is in relationship with Jesus by invitation. Out of that relationship springs a connection with other believers of like-minded, kindred spirits who love, accept, encourage, forgive, and serve one another as we do life together.3
I write from the perspective of women’s ministry in the US. I’m not saying that women are the same everywhere. They aren’t. There are different challenges when serving cross-culturally that I don’t pretend to understand. There are different resources and opportunities available for women (or lack thereof). There are different cultural norms for the roles of women.
What I am saying is that we all have the same deep need for Jesus, and the same need to be refreshed in his love, to be encouraged in our faith, and to live in transparent community with one another. How about we start right here, right now, wherever you are?
1Psalm 139:15-16, Ephesians 1:4 and 3:18-19, Romans 5:8, 2 Timothy 1:9, and John 1:16
2Joshua 1:7 & 9, Matthew 14:27, Acts 4:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:13, Philippians 1:19-20, and 2 Timothy 4:9
3John 15:1-15 and Galatians 6:2
P.S. If you are a cross cultural worker looking for ways to connect, check out https://velvetashes.com/ which is an online community of women doing life together across the globe.