The Power of Weakness
WOW! JUST WOW!
Yesterday was a mountain top experience for me at the Advancing Women's conference after various valley lows the past few years. This was more than a typical conference. It was definitely not a group of moping women. Neither was there feminism at play. There were so many nationalities and so much diversity represented, and yet there was undeniably unity of heart and purpose amongst the women present.
I have spoken at various women's conferences and at many other conference; but actually in the past 3 decades I have never attended a women's conference. I never thought I would ever attend a women's conference. Somehow God disrupted me. It happened yesterday. I met some old friends and made some new ones too!
Thanks @Wendy Yapp for cornering me! ;} And more importantly for courageously putting this together with your team. It is hard work and I am glad you didn't shun the hard work! Well done Wendy and team!
I was not just encouraged but blown away by what God did also in using this to confirm and flow into the conference happening on my end next week with Equipping Hub- 5 Gifts of Christ for Disciple-making movement (we have an almost full house of pastors and leaders already - for those interested 23-25 March 3 days of Equipping - register at https://www.trybooking.com/CFJKG ). Nothing short of a divine orchestration by God!
I hope this short blog which I wrote last week and finished today encourages more women to rise up to their God-given kingdom assignments in this city and beyond.
For the past 4 years since I have moved to Perth, my eyes have been opened to see the immense needs in this city and the state of Western Australia. When I first arrived, like Nehemiah I was burdened in my heart to see more labourers rebuilding the walls of the city with ground-up initiatives and movements. And I cried out to God to connect me to others who are serving the community and to meet with them, if they were around. Being new in the city, I met with some pastor friends and some kingdom friends whom I was introduced to, to prayer walk the city as well as to pray together.
Coming from a very compact and densely populated but one of the safest city-state-countries in the world, Singapore, into Perth, Western Australia, I have always wondered where the agents of transformation are in this city. When I arrived with my family to Perth 4 years ago, I was told that one should not be in certain areas in the city at dark; I have read about women who worked in the city having to lock themselves in bathrooms to stay safe from assault even in broad daylight; I have read about teen crime in suburbs, car windows getting smashed even in broad daylight in my suburb which is one of the "safer" suburbs to live in, bicycles stolen from garages, old person got attacked by robbers, homelessness and rough sleeping and the list goes on.
10 years ago in Singapore, I started and founded an organisation challenging the next generation to start ground up initiatives to bring positive transformation in the cities (www.youthtransformnations.org), and together with a bunch of passionate youths have pioneered and was involved in a movement connecting 10,000 fathers and children across 10 public schools. Increasingly so in the past 20 years, I have also seen various amazing ground up movements and initiatives from others, both big and small, in the areas of education, government, family, amongst the youth, ex-convicts, migrant workers, etc. And then in the past 10 years of my journey, together with various other pioneers who have gone ahead of me, a body of teaching was developed to increasingly help shift Church culture to Kingdom culture, where my husband Jason and I find ourselves to be chipping at the sacred walls of church-ianity. (www.mccnresources.org)
Psalm 68:11-12 AMPC
The Lord gives the word [of power]; the women who bear and publish [the news] are a great host. The kings of the enemies' armies, they flee, they flee! She who tarries at home divides the spoil [left behind].
Above is a word I held onto in my earlier years, as a young leader and woman in ministry.
Today, an army of women has surfaced! Some of them like Kavitha from Chennai (Women of Worth, India) have defied all odds to bring change in their city and nation. It was an honour for me to see and be seated with many of these women yesterday at the Advancing Women conference, who have pioneered initiatives for community transformation uniting, inspiring other women to do so as well.
I am deeply encouraged to see the fulfilment of this verse that has given me hope and courage in my younger days when I was still finding my footing in a male-dominated industry. Today I stand shoulder to shoulder with this army.
The Power of Weakness
I learnt this in my early days as a woman in a predominantly male industry. As a woman we are always thought of as weak. We are smaller in frame, physically not as strong or as fast and frame-wise more fragile compared to men. That in itself I have discovered, is my true strength. My ability and capacity comes from my weakness.
When we are weak, God is strong and can show Himself strong. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Our weaknesses are the perfect stage for His strength to shine through.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Men, on the other hand, are strong. And that can be their weakness. A man can do something in their own strength and that can be perceived as authority.
Women on the other hand need to make sure they truly have authority when they step into a room full of men. To say women have more to overcome than men, is an understatement. I have been in leadership meetings, in prayer meetings, in boardrooms, in conferences speaking alongside men, and speaking to a predominantly male audience; I have been in places and countries where women are despised, they are nobodies, and treated as second-class citizens and objects, while speaking to local men who are pastors. Through that God has taught me what it means to have true spiritual authority.
Especially in a boardroom full of men, where men make the decisions, the women minority has to be one of substance and have true authority to pull it off. Whereas men on the other hand can get away with more being a man. Minority with God is better than majority without. I was once in that position and was I glad God came through in the end! I still remember the moment very vividly, a male senior pastor turned to me and said after everything was over, done and dusted : "Karen, God is with you."
Isn't that all that matters, that others can see God is with us. Moses cried out to God, if your Presence does not go with us, then how can the other nations know that we are distinctly His? (Exo 33)
Women, find your true identity and true spiritual authority in Christ as His daughter, His beloved.
I am not saying women do not rely on their own strength. But men can get away with more than what a woman can in male dominated industries. In Christ we are neither male or female, and God does not consider your gender ever as a qualifier. God will use a man or woman alike. In fact He can use an animal or an object to achieve His plans and purposes.
So women you can do whatever God tells you. Never let anyone take that away from you and rob you of your God-given potential. I hope and pray women all over the world will arise to be part of this "army" and "great company" as spoken of in Psalm 68 who will bring light in the darkness, hope to the hopeless, and good news to the poor! We are living in the days of greater fulfilment of what scripture says.
Women and men alike, may you rise up to your God-given kingdom assignments in this hour!
Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh]"