Connected Women Build Up the Church

I confess I do not remember the days of strong WIC Ministries in the PCA. I confess that I didn’t even know WIC Ministries existed until a year ago.

I am currently thirty-five and became a member of a PCA Church when I was twenty-three. During my first several years in the PCA, I was a new believer, a new mom to four children under the age of five, and new pastor’s wife—I barely had any extra margin for women’s ministry in my local context—but my heart always longed to see more connected women in our Presbytery. The men in our Presbytery meet monthly for prayer, and quarterly for Presbytery Meetings; I always desired to see women from different PCA churches gathering together for encouragement, connection, equipping, and prayer.

Part of a Greater Whole

Last year, at my first Women’s Leadership Training (LT), Karen Hodge asked if I would be willing serve on her National Women’s Team as Regional Advisor to Women’s Ministries in Mid-America. I was quite shocked that she would ask me; I had only been leading women’s ministry in my local context for four years at the time, and I was in every way a newbie when it came to connecting women outside of my local context.

As I have served awkwardly as a newbie Regional Advisor—learning as I go, one PCA acronym at a time—my heart has grown to see connected women on a Presbytery Level, Regional Level, and National Level. Being a small slice of the Women’s Ministry National Team has given me a diverse group of wise women who have prayed for me and walked alongside me during a difficult season in my life, and helped me troubleshoot the women’s ministry issues I have faced as a young leader in my local context.

The love and connectedness I have received when I reached out beyond my local context, has blessed me more than I could ever ask or think. To step out of my small suburban, Ohio women’s ministry and serve alongside life-giving leaders from South Carolina, Texas, Delaware, and Washington has helped me practically see what Paul writes about in Ephesians 2, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

7 Women to Remember this Mother’s Day {and How to Remind Them God Sees}

I grew up in a church that publicly honored mothers on Mother’s Day. At the entrance to the sanctuary, they placed a box of little carnations to be pinned on the blouses of women with children as a sort of badge of honor. During the welcome, the pastor would ask all of the mothers to stand. It is right to honor mothers. So much of their sacrificial work is performed in middle of the night moments or behind closed doors, and it is good to affirm their efforts, stirring them up to love and good deeds when they may be tempted to feel as if no one sees or their work doesn’t matter.This ritual to honor mothers was certainly a help to me growing up. My selfish childish heart needed to consider all the ways that my own mother laid down her life for our family and to thank her for it. I remember feeling proud of my mom as she stood during the public acknowledgement of mothers. I also wondered why she always cried, and I remember seeing that most of the women cried during this part, seated and standing alike. Despite all of the beautiful opportunity that this holiday offers to affirm the role of mothers, it can also be a trigger, exacerbating deep seeded pain in those with children and those without. For this reason, Mother’s Day provides the church not only with an opportunity to “see” the unseen work of mothers, but to acknowledge the unseen pain of all women, caring for them by reminding them that our God is El Roi, the God who sees.

Theology for the Rest of Us

I first discovered the reformed faith in my mid-twenties. I went on a journey of discovery, learning from pastors and friends over coffee and dinner. I read and researched with the time I had, and I gained a strong foundation in theology through the discipleship of my local church. When I did have kids, I taught part time at a local community college. My classes were online, and I had great flexibility around them. When the kids were asleep or watching Thomas the Train, I could read, research and write. For years, I was able to slowly but surely add to my theological foundation. I had margin in my life to do so, and I worked to keep that margin, knowing that I would be better at everything else I did if I was growing daily in my understanding of the deep things of the Word of God.

Fast forward a few years. My boys are now 12 and 14. Though they don’t need me in the same way they did as toddlers, they still need me as an engaged parent as much as ever. But life circumstances have also funneled me down to taking a full-time teaching job. I love my job, but it, along with parenting my children and participating in our presbytery’s new church plant, has officially taken all the flexibility and margin out of my life.

I no longer have time or mental energy to research the types of commentaries or online theological discussions I used to find intriguing and informative. Yet, my need to live in light of the deep truths of the Word of God is as strong as ever.