Summer is giving me a little more flex time and I am enjoying extra time spent with friends...often over a cup of coffee...actually copious amounts of coffee...
The question I am asking my girlfriends this summer is this:
What is God's dream for women?
If you look around and see the oppression and marginalization of women around the globe, I think it is safe to say that this isn't God's dream for women.
Last week I was in Peterborough, Ontario and grabbed coffee with my good friends, Ali Malott, Linda Gibson and Wendy Burton and I posed my "question of the summer". Ali serves on the pastoral staff of Calvary Church in Peterborough. Linda is Academic Dean of Master's College and Seminary and Wendy is the Interim director of the Women's Network for PAOC Eastern Ontario District. I love the experience and perspective of all of these amazing women.
Here is a transcript of our conversation:
Leanne: So friends, what is God's dream for women?
Wendy: God’s dream for women is that they would live in the freedom that He has paid the price for and that they would know what that freedom really is...freedom to live in the dreams that He has placed in their hearts and to walk in the gifts that He has given them.
Leanne: Hearing you say that, it makes me think that it is about identity and women understanding who they are.
Wendy: Yes, understanding who they are “in Christ”.
Linda: Along the identity lines too, that women to would understand that God created male and female both in His image...so women bear the image of their creator.
Leanne: They are not second class citizens.
Linda: That's right...they are not second class citizens. They were created second but they bear that image. To understand who God is , you have to understand that He created male and female complementary together, working together...so both pieces need to be there. I think that is part of what women need to understand about who they are; they are created in God’s image.
Leanne: I think women have a big identity crisis…we do a lot of thinking about our status...but we don’t do a ton of work around our identity. What difference would that make; if we actually lived out the identity of an imagebearer?
Linda: Yes, we will often take our identity cues from people who are feeding back to us. We look to see who we are in relationship to somebody else. For example, I am somebody’s mum, somebody’s daughter, sister, aunt...and while I am all of those things, I am at the core an image bearer of God and that is a wonderful starting place to draw your image from because it has so many implications for taking the limits off of who you are.
Leanne: That view certainly raises it for women.
Wendy: ...and that’s where the freedom comes.
Ali: The one thing that sticks out for me is "empowered". When we understand that we are image bearers of God, we are then empowered to dream the big dreams...to be able to see dreams become reality. Its not an “I am woman hear me roar”, but being truly empowered by the Spirit to do those things that He has placed in our lives and our hearts to do.
Leanne: Imagine if women really understood who they were and walked in that freedom...I believe it would be a completely different world. Equality, freedom, dignity, harmony etc.
ZOE Projects recently recommended the book "Half the Church" by Carolyn Custis James. Carolyn asserts that Christians need to be the ones that are driving this movement for women's worth and dignity globally. We should be leading the way in telling women the truth of their value.
It was a great conversation and further fired the desire for moving forward with ZOE projects...bringing the truth of value to women around the globe. Here is a challenge...if you are having coffee this summer with good friends...ask the question:
What is God's dream for women?
It will certainly lead to interesting and inspiring conversation!