1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Yesterday afternoon I was meeting with a few folks about an idea we have. This idea is pretty cool and you will be hearing lots about it at a later date but the idea is to continue to build relationship with the folks who come through Community Compassion Fund. We were meeting in my office so while we were laughing loudly I saw a pair of eyes that I recognized peeking through the window and I knew that I had to jump up and run out of my office to give her a hug. Now, she may be mortified that I am highlighting her here but I will explain more as I go. The other two people in my office looked a little taken aback at my jumping up and running to the door. My explanation was brief, “My boss is here and I need to go see her.” Officially this was the case, we had some things to talk about, but the reality was that she is also one of my dearest friends and I was oh so excited to see her.
This person is someone I met when I was 15. She came to chat with Lebanon UMC’s staff parish relations committee to be our pastor. I was the youth member on the committee. When she walked in, I was ready to nerd it up. I asked questions such as, “And what will you provide the youth of this congregation?” and “How do you think you will be able to reach out to other youth?” Yeah, I was that kid. Kate, who would become my pastor, handled my nerdiness well and became part of my life that July. We re met at Annual Conference where I explained where I was in math and what nerdly things I was doing at that time….wow, and she still befriended me!
Kate is one of the most faithful people I know. She has a heart for God. She was the first woman preacher I had encountered and she was irreverent and fun. Her ministry opened new doors for me and when I was discerning my call, I knew that I could go there probably with a bit of Kate in mind. Today we are dear friends and I just adore her. I know that she has my back, will pray with me and for me when needed, that she has God’s call always on her mind, and if I am really upset I am not afraid to swear with her or giggle fiercely, or weep. She has been through many many many things with me and I hope I have been as good and loyal of a friend to her and we will get through much more together.
All of that being said, and probably to her great embarrassment (sorry Kate), I thought of women in my life who struggle beside us in the word as Paul writes to the church in Philippi and who have inspired me to continue to do so. I am encouraged to read about these women that followed the word so closely and helped Paul establish churches. We know that he was following Jesus’ example who also had women followers but were not as well acknowledged as the men disciples. All of that to say, Paul and Jesus, knew that there were women of faith who were strong and committed to the word. I have known so many wonderful women of the word, strong women who have blazed the trails for me and continue to show me what it means to be a woman of the word. I think of my grandmother who highly values education and faith. I think of my mom who raised me as a strong woman of faith. I think of my mentor through ordination and women pastors that I so greatly admire. I think of my women colleagues who are awesome and strong and hear God’s call. I think of woman heroes who have gone before me such as Georgia Harkness and Eliza Garrett to just name a few. I think of these women as beacons of call and God’s work in the world.
Who are the women in your life who set an example of faith and call? Who are the ones who struggle with the word as Paul writes? Who during this season can you point to as people who have changed your life and who make your ministry possible? Take a moment to thank them today. 🙂
Prayer: O God, we lift up great women in our lives who bring us closer to you. We pray that they might continue to feel your presence and your awesome call yet again. Amen.