By Andrae Braun
I sipped my coffee and pressed “Save.” That’s it I guess! Done. I had just finished writing my Women in Ministry lecture for the School of Biblical Studies here in Turner Valley.
But no – as I looped back to the beginning of my lecture – I realized I hadn’t yet written the introduction.
Typically in an SBS lecture, you want to start with an attention-catching beginning, or a line that makes people hungry to hear more. For this subject matter, I found there was so much in my gut I couldn’t put in just a few opening lines. I needed to pack “the essential reason” into my introduction.
What is my essential reason? Why do I feel so strongly about this subject? Dear God, how do I put this in words?
These were my thoughts as I sat in the corner of my bedroom trying to finish up my lecture, but stuck at the beginning. From where I was sitting, I could easily remember how a few years back, my daughter strolled into this bedroom and noticed the book on my bedside table. She read the title out loud, “First, they were Children.”
“What’s this about?” She asked.
“It’s about great people who have defined our time and what they were like when they were children. I am reading it so I can learn to be a better parent.”
She was interested. Picking up the book, she looked at the cover and scanned the names of the great people written about inside.
“None of them are women,” she observed flatly. Then just like that, she put the book down and left the room.
The moment was impacting for me. Why hadn’t I noticed that? It made me go further. What is life like through the eyes of a young girl looking at the opportunities of the world in front of her?
I knew well the haunt-of-a-quote from American author, JoAnn Deak (Girls Will Be Girls): “When asked about their role models, girls only list one third of what boys list. Girls are five times less likely to receive attention from a teacher.”
The experience made me grit my teeth with determination. I know Jesus has a calling on her life without “limitations” of being a woman.
This experience brought to mind another impacting memory. I was tucking my girls into bed and asking them what they wanted to be when they grow up.
An astronaut. A veterinarian. A mother.
“But dad,” Phoebe asked, “Can a woman be a leader of a YWAM base?”
My first feelings were anger and indignation. My gut revolted at the detection of her disempowerment. “Of course they can, Phoebe!” The fact she would even ask me this question at seven years old spoke volumes of the world she saw around her.
But why should I be surprised? The memory of how many times my wife had been passed over for church preaching invitations in favour of me, was fresh. This was in spite of the fact that it was she who planted the School of Biblical Studies at YWAM Turner Valley, not me. In my little world, I’d observed how sin had injected death into the status of women – even in the Church.
But as I looked at my two little daughters about to go to sleep, my hope was that the body of Christ would be welcoming to them to pursue God’s calling and giftings on their lives. I knew well that Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 did not separate spiritual giftings on the basis of whether you were a woman or man, but I also knew that “doors” weren’t completely open to them either.
And there it was! All of this reverie was my motive! As I wrote from my bedroom in my house, it became clear to me that the inspiration for my lecture was meant to come from inside my home. As a teacher, I could invest in the Church-body to which my kids would later contribute by opening God’s Word with the young leaders of today!
Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident, Competent and Daughters, by JoAnn M. Deak and Teresa Barker, Hyperion, 2002, p. 5.