“God knows that women can reach women like no one else can.  He knows that women can nurture and disciple women in such a way that they will get it.  God knows that women can lead women and that they can do it through the local church.  Le’ts get back to what God’s intention was in the beginning.  There is no better way.”  

~~  Jaye Martin, “Women Leading Women”.

For the past several months, I have been sharing my journey of Leadership in Women’s Ministry. It’s a journey that the Lord has walked me through, and I wasn’t ready to share what He taught me until I was a good distance on the other side. Some of the best life lessons are learned not through perfect journeys, but somewhat scarred and marred ones. You see, if we never experience the battles, we will never understand and appreciate the victories. And we won’t have the real life wisdom that comes from being in the trenches, walking out our faith and our calling.

I did a Beth Moore CD study on Leadership a few years ago, and as she was describing in detail what it means to dress ourselves in the Armor of God every day, she so beautifully described the Shield of Faith, which protects us from the fiery darts of the enemy. She said (I’m paraphrasing), “Caesar awarded his soldiers after battle, some with shields full of darts. We don’t want the darts, but the beauty of a shield full of darts is not that you didn’t take a hit–the darts are the point. The beauty of it is we held up our shields.”  God protects and preserves us for His good work when we trust Him and hold up our shield of faith.

To recap, here are a few reminders as we continue to walk out our leadership journey together as women!

** Sometimes our God Dreams are derailed, discarded, and delayed. We can sometimes be blindsided by relational issues that can undermine the ministry and take it off course.  We need to learn how to navigate strong personalities and develop environments that lead to open, honest communication, and healthy accountability.  We must remember that healthy relationships are vital to effective leadership. We must let go of what entangles us and keeps us from running the race God has set before us.

** Sometimes God takes us to the place of Something Else. Usually because He has something else for us to learn. What the Lord had to teach me had to be learned in the Place of Something Else, because the ultimate work He had for me required testing that could not be learned in the Place of Same. When God takes us to the place of Something Else, we must understand that the work He is doing there is on His timetable, and we learn to rest in that peace.

** We can learn much from Jesus’ encounters with women and from the Women of the Resurrection about our role as women who lead in the church.
Women who lead biblically and boldly:
– Can expect to be criticized.
– Are committed to walk, stay, watch, and wait.
– Are entrusted with proclaiming truth and the radical good news of Jesus to a world that desperately needs to hear it.
– Stay true to God’s purpose for their part in the story.
God has given us a message and a mission and we mustn’t relinquish our part in the story! He has charged us with completing our mission and there is no place for fear, or for remaining comfortable and secure in our religious havens. We must be Resurrection Women!

** As women who lead, we will make mistakes. But if we pay attention, adequately prepare ourselves, and plan well, we can avoid making costly ones. Nehemiah gives us such a great example of leadership, and we would do well to study his life and the story of how God led Him to lead the people to rebuild the wall, and to re-introduce God’s Word to the people of Jerusalem once again. In a nutshell, we see that
1) God had a work for Nehemiah to do for the benefit of His people, and Nehemiah followed God.
2) Satan has a plan to thwart the work of the Lord and often uses the influence of powerful and persuasive people to accomplish his plan.
Nehemiah consistently goes to the Lord immediately in each situation. He is not drawn into relational issues and conflicts that would wrongly influence his direction and take him away from God’s task. He made decisions time and again that reinforced his commitment to the work and courageously led the people to rebuild the wall in 52 days!! He did not allow the wrong people to influence his decision making and God prevailed among His people.

As leaders, we must be ready to expect attacks. If we are to be effective in our leadership as women in the church, we must soak ourselves in the Spirit, through prayer and scripture. We must be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power so that we can stand firm. Not because we want to be in charge, but because we have yielded all power of our own to the All Powerful God. I began this blog series with the title, “Leadership, Women’s Ministry, and What I Discovered When I Stopped Being in Charge.”   I discovered real freedom, real strength, real beauty, and real purpose!  And hey — I’m still learning:)  The Lord has so much for us to do on this earth in His name — let’s come together and help one another accomplish His work together!

“Yes Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for You.  Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”  ~~  Isaiah 26:8