Baltimore and the NEXT conference was amazing for me in so many ways. But, probably in the top two was God granting me, by His mercy, a new compassion for college girls. Ask any of my college girls that I have done ministry with in the past and they will tell you different things. One of them probably is not compassion - and for that, to them, for the gospel - I must apologize.
But, this wknd God granted me that in his compassion for me - for the sake of the gospel.
Before listening to Carolyn McCulley's breakout session on her new book, God had already stirred this. But, after it - it was amazing (even going to HRC afterwards and talking about it with the guys I was with for dinner). As I listened to the woman bartender and many women sitting at the bar in the restaurant, being loud, carrying on, cheering on the pouring of liquor - I couldn't help but hearing them and saying to myself "ladies - there is something BETTER!"
So, here is a short list I jotted down in my journal:
1. BE different in the love of Jesus. When I look at young women, you can usually tell on the outside who they are. Usually. But, I want them to grasp the love of Jesus (the mystery of this grand, crazy thing) that alone can change them. All of us are searching for something, until we come to rest in the love of the one who Created us. "The most heinous sin is ignoring our Creator" was said this wknd. I find that girls do this in so many ways. I do this in so many ways. We are longing for something that will make us whole. We want many worldly things to afford us that satisfaction and completeness. Only Jesus will do that.
2. LOVE differently in the love of Jesus. Relationships are probably the most crucial thing in the lives of young women. They crave and desire to be loved. Many women will do most anything to get it. And I'm just not referring to unbelievers - although they do this too. We, as Christian women, strive for love to by pursuing men who are not our's yet.
3. LIVE differently in the love of Jesus. After we know our BEing is different because of Jesus - our lives will look radically different. We won't want to pursue after the things of this world. We will want to pursue Jesus and the roles for which He designed us. I remember starting seminary and thinking I wanted a MDiv because MDiv in Women's Ministries was way too narrow. Oh, God, please forgive me for not understanding your grand design then. How often I play the part of an egalitarian, wanting man's approval because the approval of women doesn't matter. We will want to live and act differently in the light of this crazy love!
4. DRESS differently in the love of Jesus. This is probably the most visible thing we are women do. And there isn't a list or checklist of ways that women should dress. But, how about dressing conservatively and femininely. There is someway that we can dress that will present something totally different than what the world is offering. Everyone doesn't have to wear floral prints and pink. But, many times we dress like men (polo shirts, jeans or khakis, tennis shoes, no jewelry, short hair) - why do we want to do that. Yes, I have on gray slacks today. But, I am wearing a coral shirt with some black dress shoes and jewelry. All to say, our outward appearance should be noticed by the world by being feminine and modest.
Two passages I love for the above reasons and have studied recently and heart preached recently:
3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
And Eph 5.1-17
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,and arise from the dead,and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
I don't know what this will look like as I minister with college girls and young women. I pray as I begin doing ministry in a new church, have opportunities to meet new women on behalf of SBTS and CBMW, speak at different events, continue in ministering to the young ladies I already know, and hopefully raise my own daughter in the future - God will shine brightly for the gospel in my life for HIS GLORY.