I think they are tremendously vital to the church, and in many places they are the heart of the church. Women have a nurturing way about them that can draw people in, they welcome them, they relate to them just where they’re at. Even when we read Scripture, sometimes we read things differently or we have insights into certain passages that maybe men don’t have. We’re equal in every way, but we’re different, and our minds work differently. So I think we have insights that sometimes the men don’t have.
So you’re saying that different is good?
Oh, yes! A part of being created in the image of God, male and female, is to complement each other with our differences. We fit together and make a more complete picture, just as 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the body and all the parts of the body together making a whole. We need each other because we complement each other in the way our thoughts process; even on an emotional level we can be different and complement each other.
Roles for women have changed very dramatically in the past 100 years in most societies. Even very traditional societies are feeling the stirring of change in the roles of women. Although most of us feel that roles in the past were restrictive, the absence of roles is confusing to a woman trying to find her niche in life, because you can be anything, but on the other hand, you can easily be nothing.
God has gifted each of us in different ways. Competition shouldn’t be present in any healthy relationship. He wants us to bloom and shine the way He created us to be. He has given us all different roles, different jobs to do, but that doesn’t detract or reflect on anyone else’s. It’s a very personal thing. Sometimes we tend to compare ourselves to other people and put ourselves down because we may not have a career. Maybe we’re home with our children. We need to realize that if that is our lot right then, then that’s where God wants us. There’s no more important role than being a mother. The mother is an artist, she’s a sculptor, she trains for eternity. Nothing could be more important. In reality it’s the most important powerful position on earth because we prepare people for eternity.
There are a lot of pressures on women today from the media and from society of what and who we’re supposed to be. As Christian women, we know we’re supposed to see things differently. How does the Bible value women?
Was anyone honored in the Bible more than Mary? She was a young girl. She had not been to the seminary or the rabbinical school. She was really a nobody in society, yet she was allowed the greatest privilege of any human being on this earth. She was given that privilege because she walked with God and recognized His voice. I think of Hannah, Abigail, and Elizabeth. God chose them to make a profound impact on history, because they heard God’s voice and followed His bidding. Within their societies, within their cultures, they were key players in God’s plan. Our influence can be profound in our families, communities, and churches, but only if we have a personal relationship with the Lord.
How would I as a woman go about finding my role in life, and in my church? How would I find God’s will and find my niche, and begin growing into my potential?
God creates within each of us different interests, and I think He wants us to find our passion and run with it. So many times I’ve asked God to open and close doors according to His will, to make it so clear. And He does!
Sometimes we need to look at the needs in our churches and communities. Some people intuitively know what their gifts are. Others don’t, so they need to try different things. You should see what the needs are and see how you fit in.
So it’s not the case of waiting until God gives me something really important to do?
I can remember sometimes being frustrated when the girls were small, and I kept looking at all the things that I was unable to do as a stay-at-home mom. Yet when I accepted the limitations and I thought of them as being temporary, I was at peace. Every stage allows for growth and different ministries, new challenges, and we’re stretched in different ways at each stage of our lives. I have discovered we don’t grow unless we are stretched.
We may think. If I could only go to school, or have that experience, or find a husband, or do this or that, I’d be happy; but circumstances have nothing to do with our happiness. God wants us to find contentment in each day and wait upon Him, as His will unfolds.
Tell us a bit about your journey. I think your role as the GC president’s wife is uncharted water for you, and there is no manual or job description.
How I wish there was! It’s a bit like when Ted and I first got married. I struggled with what I was supposed to be and do as the pastor’s wife. Then it dawned on me that what I needed to do was to love those people, and God would show me what He had for me to do. I ended up doing everything with Ted, visitations, Bible studies, cooking schools, vespers, etc. And I loved it. And I loved the people.
As to my role now, I still love getting to know people, and learning about different cultures. We may be very culturally different, but we’re basically all the same. It’s very exciting for me to meet these wonderful people around the world! I think the best way to say it is that I feel like the world is our church, and Ted is the pastor, and I’m the pastor’s wife.
You’ve got a lot of loving to do!
I know! I know! I’m learning that.
The issue of the value and importance of women must be important to you as a couple, seeing that you have three daughters and five grandchildren. What do you wish for your daughters and for your grandchildren?
We are very proud of our daughters and the way they are mothering their little ones. I think women have tremendous value. I see our sons-in-law encouraging our daughters to be all they can be and to grow and to develop as mothers and wives, and at the same time maintain their unique personalities. It’s interesting with our grandchildren to watch their little personalities develop, their interests and their gifts, and see how they are uniquely different from each other—just as all of us are. He’s such a creative God; He made us all so uniquely different, and He wants us to grow, blossom, and become the wives, mothers, sisters, and friends that He would have us be.