Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a woman who loves to teach

I wrote this a while ago, and in the way of things, it's not something I'm feeling at the moment - just something I struggle with occasionally! But in case it's something you struggle with too, here it is:

It's not always easy being a woman who loves teaching. It's not always easy being a woman who loves theological argument. It's not always easy being a woman who loves reading, reflecting and writing.

I'm not complaining. I am glad, so glad, that my body carried our 4 children for 9 months (impossibly draining and difficult as it was) and that I had the incredible experience of giving birth to them and smelling their yeasty soft damp heads as they nestled against me. I'd never give up the joys of female conversations and female crafts and female caring.

I rejoice in the role that God has given me. I rejoice in the gentle strength of submission and the beauty of a marriage which, in its own imperfect way, is a stumbling yet increasingly joy-filled picture of the marriage of Christ and the church. I rejoice in the blessing of teaching and encouraging women, and watching them blossom into the women God wants them to be, strong and free in the grace of Christ.

But there's part of me that longs for the quiet life of a scholar. There's part of me that watches men teaching mixed gatherings of Christians and longs to teach all the wonders I've discovered in God's word to my brothers and sisters. There's part of me which struggles with the impulse to butt into conversations about theology and stun listeners with my insights.

At this point, some of you are probably thinking, "Well, why not? Does God give us gifts and desires for no reason?" It's not so simple when you're convinced that the Bible teaches different roles for men and women. The post that sparked these ramblings - Spirit-Gifting and Ministry in the Church - reminds us that none of us, whatever our views, are free to use our gifts without qualifications, and that God doesn't make mistakes.

God has made me the way he has for a reason. He makes women who write and women who love to spend hours with their noses in a book and women who enjoy teaching for a reason. He makes you, with your gifts, for me; and he makes me, with my gifts, for you.

Not for my glory. Not so that I can be recognised and respected. But for his glory. So that within the confines of this small life, with its boundless opportunities to teach and train our children and to teach and encourage my Christian sisters and to encourage my Christian brothers, his name may be glorified.

So that you and I, my Christian sisters, may build one another up in the faith. So that we, with our Christian brothers, may be transformed into the likeness of Christ. So that together we may honour and glorify our Lord.

images are from stock.xchng


mattnbec said...

Thanks for writing this post. Really worthwhile articulating.

I strongly identify with every word. Except for the phrase about the quiet life of a scholar. I am still to finish my BTh, almost 10 years since I started it. By the time my husband's one is complete, one PhD will be plenty for us thankyouverymuch!!

Jean said...


BGSydneyside said...

Thanks Jean,
This post was great- I know this is something i really struggled with particularly when I first started dealing with God's words in the Bible about men and women. I'm not sure I'd like the quiet life of a scholar but if I could be a loud scholar that would be fun!

I'm so thankful that i love teaching and that I've had solid training as I work with kids. We often think that kids ministry involves less hard theological work but I think it takes more. Adults can in many cases weigh your words against the Bible- many kids cannot. So how more crucial is it that we work hard at a passage or a theological truth that we are trying to teach to make sure that we clearly present God's words as they are!

Random thoughts from me ;)

Hon said...

SO yeah! Thanks for acknowledging the good things to grieve about (not being able to exercise good gifts for good purposes) and for sinful things to grieve about (wanting the glory and recognition of being gifted). Reflecting along the vein of your post... gifts are given in our particular contexts, so we must be wise in using those gifts in those contexts. May those of us with pent up teaching energy find ways to glorify God!