A few years ago I read a book called Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. While it’s a secular view of women’s role in the world, the perspective is true in its simplest form: If women make up over half the population, then women should have a significant voice and influence in society. Scripture and church history concur with the importance of women.
Let’s take a look at women in different stages of the DMM cycle.
1. Anna the Prophetess
In Luke 2:36-38, we read about a widow named Anna. After losing her husband, she committed to “worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day” in the temple for the redemption of her people by way of a Messiah. Anna, along with Simeon, a priest in the temple at the time of Jesus’ birth, is among the first to realize this baby boy born in a stable in Bethlehem was the Messiah they had waited so many centuries for.
I want to be like Anna praying, worshipping, and fasting. I want to hold relentlessly to faith in the promises of God for myself and the people around me. Movements begin and end with women like Anna.
2. The women who saved Moses’ life
There are times in life when we encounter impossible situations. Moses’ mom knew his life was at risk soon after she gave birth to him. Pharaoh was mercilessly killing all the Hebrew newborn boys. She knew Moses would not survive if she didn’t do something drastic. In a courageous act of faith, she did the unthinkable. She cradled her baby boy in a basket and placed him on the river bank near her home. She watched Moses drifting down the river. And all she could do was rely on her faith that God would deliver him.
Exodus 2:4-6 goes on to say.
And his [Moses’] sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children.’
We know from the rest of the story that Moses’ mother ends up nursing her son under the guidance of Pharaoh’s daughter until giving him back to be raised by the Egyptians.
Each woman in the story is incredible. Moses’ mother was astoundingly brave and creative, trusting in God to preserve the life of her son. Moses’ sister Miriam was resilient and loyal to her brother, following him down the river until she knew he was safe. And the daughter of Pharaoh was, I would argue, a Person of Peace to Moses, having pity on him and making arrangements to preserve his life. The simple act of welcoming someone into her home would later make way for the people of God to be rescued from slavery.
We have regular opportunities, big and small, to welcome people into our homes with generosity and empathy for their situations. We never truly know how being a person of peace for others could change the course of someone’s entire trajectory.
3. Lydia the Seller of Purple Goods
The account of Acts gives several examples of women Paul encounters in his ministry. One such woman was named Lydia. In a city called Philippi, Paul met Lydia as she was praying by the riverside on the Sabbath. She’s described as “a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.” (Acts 16:14). As Paul spoke of the person of Jesus, her heart was drawn to his message. She later welcomed him into her house. By the time Paul left, Lydia and her whole household became baptized.
Lydia is often given as a classic example of a Person of Peace. But what I tend to like best about the retelling of Lydia’s story is what Paul says about her at the very end – “And she prevailed upon us.” (Acts 16:15) She was determined to know this message Paul spoke of and for her entire household to receive the salvation that he said was readily available to them. She was so determined that she prevailed upon them until Paul and his travel companions gave in and went to her house.
4. Pricilla, A House Church Leader
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Pricilla, a woman who is regularly mentioned by Paul in his letters, alongside her husband. Paul speaks of them as “co-workers” in Romans 16:3-4 commending them to the church as ones who have sacrificed so much for the Gospel. They travel together with Paul, encouraging the local churches (Acts 18:18, 18:24-26). In Romans 16:5, Paul writes for the church to greet the house church meeting in Pricilla and Aquila’s house.
Women, we are needed in house churches. I am sure Aquila was an incredible man. But the husband and wife together were more effective in equipping the saints of the churches that Paul had started.
If a place for you feels messy or unclear in a house church, speak up and let people know. Your voice, talents, and giftings are all needed when the body of Christ meets together in fellowship.
5. Jocelyn the Empty Nester
Recently a good friend came to visit me. She’s in a very different stage of life than me. Her children are grown, out of the house, and getting married. One day while I was getting ready to pick up my son from school, she asked if she could tag along. In the car, she explained to me how she had realized that moms spend so much time with their kids while driving them from place to place and how those moments are a great opportunity for meaningful discussions. With that realization, she asked if she could tag along in the car to help spark discipleship conversations. I was blessed to have the company of a dear old friend on the drive. She asked me compelling questions about our life and how she could pray for my family. It brought new value to an old routine, and she loved seeing my life, my kids’ school, and simply being with me and my son.
The continued development of leaders in a disciple-making movement doesn’t have to be a complicated process. We might think we need to find a small window of free time in our already tight schedule. But we can enter into someone else’s world in simple ways, like riding in the car with them as they run errands or sitting in a school pickup line. And it’s in those simple moments we can have conversations of encouragement and accountability.
As a fellow woman with a desire to make disciples everywhere I go, let me encourage you with this:
You are seen. You are valuable. The Kingdom of God is big enough to welcome you in as a co-worker in the efforts of The Great Commission. Don’t shy away but press in to all God desires for you, your family, your neighbors, and the nations of the world.
This article was guest-written by one of our Waha users. If you’ve got a story to share about your experience using Waha, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature it here!