Friday, March 20, 2009

The Theology of Wonder Woman

In Genesis 2:18 God made the first reference to woman by calling her a "helper." Helping others, perhaps especially men, is part of our Divine Purpose. We were created for it ... wired to do it ... can't help but help. It's who we are.

I found some interesting facts recently that seem appropriate to insert here. The following are some items invented by women in America:
  • The circular saw (1812) - take that Tim "the tool man" Taylor!
  • The life raft (1882)
  • The fire escape (1887)
  • The windshield wiper (1903)
  • Correction fluid (1951)
Other than the circular saw, do you see a pattern here? Look at all these amazing "HELPS" women have invented! I bet there is a wonderfully hilarious story about each mess someone got themselves into which called for each invention! "Necessity is the ___________ of invention?" The MOTHER! Coincidence? I don't think so!

Now please don't misunderstand ... this is not a male-bashing blog entry. We need men as much as men need us. We were created to be partners. The reason this is all running around in my head these days is because I've realized what a GIFT it is to be a female called to the military chaplaincy. In many ways it feels ludicrous. I joked with someone the other day that I seem to have the same conversation with God almost daily. It goes something like this:



"Um, I was just wondering if you were sure about this whole chaplaincy thing ... "

"I'm sure."

"I mean, because, it's kinda crazy. ME!?! In the military!?!"

"I know. But I'm sure."

"Ok, just checking."
He has to laugh at me regularly. But here's my point. Maybe, it is actually to my ADVANTAGE to be a female as a chaplain. Maybe just maybe, God has designed me in unique ways to "help" soldiers that is different than the ways male chaplains can help. (Not better, just different.)

Just a thought.

By the way, here is a picture of the other women I met recently at the FIRST Army Female Chaplains Conference I was fortunate enough to attend. My deepest respect and highest regard for these women who dared to allow God's supernatural strength to empower them to the high calling of military chaplaincy. Thanks for blazing the trail I now tread upon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Perseverance ... Even in the Rain?

Philippians 4:13 has always been a favorite verse of mine. I guess a person's life verse says a lot about them. In my case, it seems to say that I constantly live in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances.

Ok, so I've never climbed an ice rock like in this picture. I won't lie, that picture makes me want to wet myself, and not just to keep warm. But it does seem that I find myself in situations ... far more often than I'd like ... that require a level of resolve I'm unable to muster on my own.

Truth be told ... if left to myself, I'd live a very safe little life with a total absence of fear-inducing risks. And my safe little self would die weak, lazy, and immature. But that's not God's best. Instead, He calls me to things so much bigger than me they cause me to bury my head in His chest and say "tell me when it's over!" But in the midst of His safe embrace, He turns me around, makes me open my eyes and with an endearing little chuckle says, "C'mon, we'll do it together." And at the end of the day I find myself exhausted, amazed, and strangely grateful.

This lesson seems to come almost daily right now. Not always big things. Sometimes just little baby tasks. Like the other day ...

I had signed up to run in the Perseverance 5k. (I'm trying to improve my PT run times, so signing up for 5Ks seems to offer good accountability to do that.) I was somewhat looking forward to the race thinking it would be a nice way to start my Saturday ... a nice run on a warm Birmingham day. But that's not what happened. Instead God opened up the floodgates and drowned the city ... for days. (Anyone seen my ark?)

Aww, too bad. Guess they'll have to cancel the race. Oh well.

But much to my surprise, when I called the church hosting the event, I was informed they had no intentions of canceling the race. Great. Now I have a decision to make. Do I stay in my warm, dry bed and sleep in? Or do I get up and go for a 3.1 mile run ... in the cold, nasty rain? Ugh. I'm not proud to admit it, but I had actually decided I would get up, go to the church, pick up my race packet (aka free t-shirt), and go back home and go back to sleep.

(I know. Don't even say it. I'm just being honest.)

Oh, I had good reasons. I mean I could slip! I am accident prone you know. That's all I need is to get injured. I actually told myself the SMART thing, the RESPONSIBLE thing to do was not to run.
One problem. This was called a "Perseverance 5K." Could I really in good conscience ever wear that shirt knowing I was the antithesis of perseverance?! Suddenly I realized I was in that place again ... that place that makes me stop and ask myself what I'm really made of. And instantly in those moments, I know what I have to do. Rarely am I excited about it, but at least it is usually clear.

So yes, I ran the race ... in the rain.
And I ran it in a new personal record time! (Maybe just to get out of the rain, but who cares.)

So what's YOUR race today? What's YOUR thing that you can't seem to talk yourself into doing? Just do it! You might actually get more out of it than a free t-shirt.

See that smirk on my face in the picture? It's because I realized I did it ... and every time I do it ... whatever it is ... I am less inclined to hesitate the next time. Who knows, with enough practice at this perseverance thing, "going for it" may just become my new default! Imagine having to be talked OUT of things instead of into them! But one step at a time.

Besides, something tells me God is going to give me plenty of opportunities to practice.