03 Jan New Year Reflections
The beginning of a new year always has a way of causing us to pause and reflect on the previous year, but to also look forward to the upcoming year. On Sunday, the teaching took us back through the history of our church, our unique campuses, and where we are going in the future.
It got me thinking about my role as a woman, an Ezer, and how I lived out my unique design as a woman in 2016, and put things into perspective going in to 2017. Grace Church offers a lot of teaching and resources regarding this topic, which you can find here. In Biblical Femininity, there are three aspects of a woman’s role that are explored: to invite, nurture, and partner. Here is a brief summary from the Grace Church website:
Inviting is the gateway to being nurturing and partnering. Inviting is having a heart and a spirit that is approachable, vulnerable, comforting, welcoming and inclusive. An inviting woman offers the promise of finding life, joy, peace and rest through Jesus Christ. Throughout scripture, we see that God is an inviting God. In Matthew 11:18, Jesus invites us when He says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” By trusting that she is accepted and loved by God, a woman is free to make others feel accepted and welcomed, and she points others to Christ, not herself.
Nurturing is life-giving. The purpose of nurturing is to create strength in another individual, helping them to be who God intends them to be. Nurturing is equipping others around us to live out their God-given calling. Nurturing is not self-centered; instead, it is a posture of humility. Nurturing has nothing at all to do with our personality nor does our individuality or our season of life dictate if we have this capacity. It is, simply put, a capacity that every woman possesses because she is an image-bearer of God and God is a nurturing God. Jesus reflects the nurturing nature of God perfectly as seen in Matthew 6:31-32, “so don’t worry about these things, saying “what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heaven Father already knows all of your needs.”
Partnering assists another in movement toward a goal. Women were created with a unique mission. We have the ability to come alongside others and help carry their burdens. We can also further the cause of another by contributing strength, support and assistance. Within the partnering capacity, we see the idea of submission. Our best example of what godly submission looks like can be found in the Trinity. Christ, God the Son, is in a position of submission to God the father. Christ is not a lesser, unequal part of the Trinity and He does not feel devalued by being eternally submitted to God the father. Likewise, all believers are called to submission. Specifically for women, submission is the act of a woman denying her core sin of autonomy, being a law unto herself. When a woman submits, she intentionally owns the cause of another. She is putting herself under the authority of another in a way that is honoring to the Lord. Partnering within marriage always calls for submission but partnering outside of marriage may or may not include submission. We can partner in a variety of relationships, with children, siblings, co-workers, neighbors, friends and parents.
Here are some of the questions I worked through Sunday afternoon:
How did I do with each of these aspects of my role as a woman in 2016 with where I am at, in my current stage of life?
How did my personality affect the way I live out my design as a woman this year?
In what ways did I struggle with inviting, nurturing, and partnering?
Going into 2017, have there been any significant changes in my life, and how does this affect the way I invite, nurture, and partner?
Are there any changes I need to make in light of 2016 regarding my relationships with others?
I hope these questions are as helpful for you as they were for me. There is value in re-centering our lives around the gospel and how we live in response to it!
-Catie Chance, Anderson