Wendy did a series on support networks for ministry wives recently. As I read it, I sensed that this was something missing for me. But at the same time, I feel like I don’t fall neatly in the ‘ministry wife’ category and my issues are different from women who do. Additionally, I feel like I have few models of older women in ministry to follow and wasn’t sure about peers to connect with. The thought of trying to start something was exhausting. But God provided. Last week, Lisa Brown worked out that I should be part of her Ridley young-women-in-ministry support network and invited me along. It was an energising and encouraging evening.
Here’s what was good:
- I wasn’t running it. It’s such a difference not being the leader of something for once. I could relax, knowing that someone else, whom I trusted, was in charge.
- I learnt heaps by not being the leader. Lisa is a fantastic group leader – I just wanted to sit and watch her do her thing.
- All the women in the group were high functioning. Part of the reason I was able to relax was that I didn’t have to worry about anyone. They were all stable, mature Christian women.
- I laughed with other women – really laughed. And not just a polite chuckle but a real laugh, for a long time. I felt unselfconscious.
- We ate healthily, by which I mean, not tiny little servings or commenting the whole time on what was ‘naughty’ or how long it would take to work off the calories. And the food was amazing – Lisa’s husband cooked up a storm and everyone brought something along.
- It’s a diverse group. This sounds odd because we’re all young women, at Ridley, looking at going into ministry. But we came from a variety of theological backgrounds and persuasions, even different positions of the role of women in ministry.
- We’re all on the same page in that we’re thinking about ministry vocationally. Everyone’s at different stages, but there was no need for lengthy disclaimers or explanations.
- These women engaged on my level. No one put looking at the Bible and seriously wrestling with it in the ‘too hard’ basket. I wasn’t a freak or an expert because I wanted to do so.
- The conversations were real and practical – no one balked at the idea of talking about the realities of prayer, emotions, pride, selfishness, etc but it wasn’t uncomfortable or overshare-y.
- There was the opportunity to ask questions and get thoughtful answers.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.