I remember spending a lot of my free time just asking God if this was truly what he wanted me to do. Did I hear Him correctly? Women? I questioned God a lot that week, making sure it was His calling on my life and not someone elses. Women's ministry is just not something I would have pictured myself doing. I often struggled in my reltationship with women so why would God call me to minister to them?
When I returned home God began to create within me an even greater desire to serve the women and He began to give me a clearer vision. As I continued to read the account of Nehemiah I began to relate to his desire for the rebuilding. Nehemiah heard of the holy city walls still lying in destruction and was moved to rebuild them. He desired to restore, not only the walls of the city but also it’s people. God began to give me the desire to see our women’s ministry and the hearts of our women restored not just to God but also to one another. I began, like Nehemiah, to quietly observe the state of our Women’s Ministry. Although it was not in complete ruins as Nehemiah’s wall was,for it had a lot of wonderful things happening, but it was in need of some changes. God began to show me those areas where the wall had been allowed to crumble. So we began to pray and ask God how we might use all that we learned in CA to change and rebuild this ministry.
We quickly realized that like Nehemiah we would encounter enemies. Our enemies would not be from outside the walls but from within. Opposition came before we even shared what we thought God’s vision was for our women. As we began to go to work changing the areas we felt God calling us to change those that would oppose also began to go to work. They began talking among other sisters, spreading rumors that had little or no facts. In their fear of the ministry changing their attacks grew to the point of personally attacking me and the team. They tried to turn others against us. I became very discouraged.
As I continued my studies of Nehemiah I was struck by the similarities to what was happening to our newly developed team and Nehemiah. As soon as Nehemiah gained permission from the king to go to Jerusalem, two men, Sanballat and Tobiah, heard about it and “were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.” So they set about a plan to discourage them. Nehemiah 6 verse 9 says; ‘they were all trying to frighten us, thinking “They will become discouraged and the work will be stopped.”’ The work will be stopped! I read that verse over and over. The work would be stopped! The enemy wanted me to be so discouraged that I would quit.
There have been many times in the last three years that I have nearly given up. The work can be very hard. But God continually reminds me who I am fighting for. Nehemiah 4:14 says “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” God reminded me of the women who need to hear truth, who need to have hope, who need to be healed. Remember who you fight for, your daughters and granddaughters, the women in your church and in your communities. These are the women we fight for.
The work is hard, and discouraging at times. You can organize and plan for weeks for an event and have only a few women show up. I remember Elizabeth saying “Go with the goers”. Recently that has played over and over in my mind. Go with the ones God sends you. Minister to the women who come, and know those are the ones that God wants at that particular event. They are the ones who will be blessed. Don’t worry about the 100 women who didn’t show up.
I still have a long way to go. The work seems in my mind to go so very slow. Trying to get women involved seems a task that is impossible and it will only be God working in the hearts of the women to get anything done. But as I take the time to listen to their hearts God gives me a real love for them. Many women have been very hurt by previous circumstances, and people. So I continue pressing on, building a ministry that is built on the truth and God’s Word. I will not back down from that truth, or that which I believe God has called me to do.
Throughout Nehemiah’s leadership he was attacked by his enemies, but he prayed that his hands would be strengthened and that he would remain faithful to what God called him to do. When the enemy attacked, he was ready. Nehemiah did not run in fear or give up. He stood firm, over and over it says that he prayed and then allowed God to battle the enemy. Nehemiah allowed God to do the battle, all Nehemiah needed to do was continue doing the work God gave him to do.
I am still learning the importance of remaining steadfast to that which I know God has called me to. I still get discouraged, and there are times when I feel that God is chiseling very hard at my own character in order that I might be a better, godlier leader. Nehemiah devoted himself to the work and what needed to be done. I need to do the same.