This is my final installment for this series and it’s a little different from the others, in two ways. Firstly, whereas the last seven entries have looked at people that God has used in the past to shape me, this entry is more about the future. Secondly, it’s not about one person, but five separate people.
I never really had role models when I was growing up, apart from the really obvious example of my parents, who modelled a whole lot of essential things for me as I grew up. But recently, finding that I am suddenly some kind of adult, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future and what I’d like it to look like. At this point it actually would be really neat to have a role model, you know, someone who I can point to and say: “I would like to be like this person in this way”. Being a Christian who loves her job but is also open to considering doing some kind of paid Christian ministry, and also happens to be a married woman makes it hard. What kind of job do I want? Do I want a career? What kind of career? Do I want to have kids? When? How many? Do I want to stay in Sydney? In Australia? Too many questions! I need guidance!
Well for the time being, I’ve stopped stressing out about these things, because of five wonderful women that God has very graciously put into my life in the last couple of years. Some I know very well, and some I hardly know at all. Regardless of how well I know them, all of them excellently model a way to be a woman who seeks to serve God with all her life. In no particular order:
Celia was one of Matt’s colleagues at CMS. She is an ordained minister but at the moment she works for CMS helping people to work out whether they want to be missionaries. She is passionate about serving and praying for the global church but she also works hard to support the local church where she and her husband go.
Sue is my boss. She oversees all the research and advocacy work that we do at Anglicare and works unbelievably hard on the executive team to make things happen. Sue is a really gifted researcher, a really gifted writer and a really gifted manager. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of socially excluded people and also about motivating the church to care for people.
Jan is married to Matt’s old boss at CMS. Jan and John worked as missionaries in Pakistan and raised their family there. Their kids are all grown up now and I think they are all older than me. Jan thinks that I need to get the same level of theological education as Matt if we are going to actually work alongside each other.
Leanne is married to one of Matt’s old colleages at CMS. I’m pretty sure she is working, but I’m not sure what she does. She and her husband have teenage kids and the family is very involved in serving at their local church. Leanne also thinks I should go to bible college, even if I don’t do ‘Christian work’, just because it is a good thing to do and she personally benefitted from it so much.
Jenny is married to Matt’s current boss. She also did volunteer work with my mum last year in the local primary school library, and she writes a very entertaining blog. Jenny and Rowan have 5 kids, all in primary school or preschool. She is a full-time mum, and works hard looking after her family and being part of her local community at school and at church.
These five women have very different lifestyles but they all have the following things in common:
– They love Jesus, and serving him is their highest priority
– They strive to be aware of the needs of the church, both in their local context and overseas
– They invest lots of time and energy into their local communities – with friends, at church, at work, volunteering, you name it!
– You can see the fruit of the Spirit in them (c.f. Galatians 5). All five of them seem to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self controlled.
And the thing is that this is what I want my future to look like. These women have shown me that it doesn’t matter whether or not I have a career, it doesn’t matter what I do for a job, it doesn’t matter what size my family is and it doesn’t matter where I live. God gives us strength to live for him in any situation. I hope that I just love him all the more with every passing day. Praise God for these women, who are such excellent models of what it is to live as a Christian!