Prairie View

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Guest Post on Women's Roles

The following was written by my sister Linda in response to a blog post here.    

A little more background:  Linda had written what appears here and showed it to me before commenting.  I said that I had no quibbles with the content but I thought it was too long to submit as a comment.  So I offered to post it here instead.  She took me up on the offer.  

Response to blog post “Observations About Women’s Roles”

Though I don't have a husband to protect me, I can think of various ways that I have been heard and protected by godly men. My philosophy is generally to be fairly free to express my concerns, etc., to those over me, and then step back and not try to assume any responsibility for how or if they follow through on my suggestion. I don’t always know what the best way is to mention it, and obviously don’t always get it right or even do the best I know. But I hope I’m getting better at it.

One time when I worked at a children’s home, a parent was upset with me and had talked to others in my absence about her frustration. Then she asked to meet with me. Three of the men on our leadership team were with me at the meeting; they were not going to let me face the tirade alone (I was grateful for their presence!). However, by the time we met, the mother had become congenial, an answer to prayer I believe. We had a comfortable chat.

Another time I had to fly half-way across the country alone, to testify in federal court on a work-related issue. Though the marshal who delivered the summons assured me they weren’t after me, I still felt overwhelmed, scatter-brained, and stressed out. I told my boss (the owner of the business) that I don’t want to go alone. He did not just brush aside my request, but arranged a conference call with a Christian attorney who knew a lot more about what to expect than we did. After discussing the situation at length, I volunteered the conclusion that I’m fine with going alone. I couldn’t have taken anyone with me into the court room anyhow, because it was a grand jury trial. Though I experienced some stress before and after the trial, I realized afterward that I had not been at all nervous while on the witness stand, another answer to prayer I believe.

On the flip side, on one occasion I wondered afterward why these two men (two of the three mentioned in the second paragraph) didn’t protect me better. But perhaps the Lord blinded them to my ”need” for protection because He wanted to show Himself strong in answer to prayer, and also perhaps because He thought their meeting with attorneys during that time should hold priority. As it turned out, I didn’t need the men’s protection that time. I had expected to be testifying in court during that time, when I was spending an hour in the same room with four people, three of whom had testified against us in court. They were looking at files I had brought along in reference to the trial. I was astonished how calm I felt during that time, then I remembered that that was when people who were praying thought I would be testifying (the trial was postponed because the judge went to a funeral). Furthermore, I didn’t have to testify at all because those responsible for the case came up with an out-of-court agreement, an answer to prayer that I hadn’t thought to pray.

Recently I felt heard even though it didn’t change things. I had made a suggestion by email to a church leader. He respectfully responded in person, and told me he would take it up with the leadership team. They did not accept my suggestion and that’s OK. I still felt heard, even though they don’t follow through on what I thought was a very “logical” suggestion :)

On one occasion I expressed concern to the leadership team of our organization, suggesting a tweaking of policy. No one else seemed concerned, but the results of not responding to my concern were far-reaching and painful. But I had the chance to express my concern, and I did not feel responsible for the negative fall-out. Also I didn’t tell them “I told you so.” I don’t think that would have improved anything.

Another time (I suppose this was an honest oversight) when I felt overwhelmed at work, a superior informed me about another load of responsibility being added to my already “full plate”. I wasn’t consulted, just informed. This seemed unfair to me, but the next day I went to his office and felt free to share with him how this felt like too heavy a load for me. I don’t remember exactly how this turned out, but, as I recall, I was heard and not silenced.

On one occasion when I felt very fragile emotionally because of a bitter-sounding remark I heard someone make about me in front of a number of people. I purposely didn’t go to my authorities for support at the time because I was afraid they would “protect” me so thoroughly that it would be embarrassing to me.
I have trouble identifying with women who feel so unprotected and shushed. May the Lord untangle complicated relationships and make it clear to men and women who love and serve Him, how we should relate to each other in an affirming and Biblical way. LRM


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