March 8th was International Women’s Day (IWD).
I’d not heard of it. That doesn’t mean anything, though. Much of the time, I am encased in a 5 square mile world. Our church, grocery, bank, mall, and my jazzercise studio are all within 5 miles of the house. I do look up and around occasionally, but not when life is rolling chaotically, albeit routinely, along.
But, back to IWD. One of my passions is inter-denominational women’s ministry. I should narrow that…..hurting women’s ministry.
In honor of IWD and my passion for hurting women, I want to tell you about a non-profit program I advocate, Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC©). If I’ve ever talked to you in the ladies’ restroom at a ballgame or sat next to you on a plane, you probably have a CWJC© business card from me. It’s THAT important of a program.
WHY? Because it works. CWJC equips hurting and impoverished women with jobskills, lifeskills and the support of sisterhood. But, most importantly, we walk alongside these beautiful women and help them unlock the treasure chest where they have kept their dreams and their self-worth. When you’ve been beat down enough, you hide these precious entities so that no one can steal them. But, after awhile you forget where you hid them.
For 10 years I worked as a church secretary for my home congregation. It’s a beautiful family of Christians. But, I saw what didn’t work in the benevolence arena. You know it’s not working when you see the same families month after month, year after year. I’m not bashing my church. We are keeping bellies full and that’s fine. It is a valuable ministry.
But, for me, I wanted to be a part of the transformation of lives. I found that through Christian Women’s Job Corps.
Potential participants (protegees) undergo an interview to make sure we are a good fit. Accepted protegees sign a covenant (contract). This holds our protegees accountable to certain responsibilities she has agreed to. It holds the program accountable in assisting her while she is in our program, mostly through networking and classwork. We are a hand-UP not a hand-out program. The protegee is then paired with a mature Christian woman as a mentor.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Humility and a new found respect for those existing below the standard of living (70% of the worlds impoverished are women). The most remarkable transformation involves escape from the sex industry or sexual abuse. These women are emotionally devastated.
Have you ever watched a butterfly struggle initially after emerging from the cocoon only to watch it strengthen and then finally fly away in splendor? God let’s us watch. He does all the work. We just fill in the gaps.
ALL OF US have the same basic needs, to love and be loved, to have a full belly, a few clothes and shelter from the rain. Through my work with CWJC, I have learned, ‘….but for the grace of God, there go I.’ I could be any one of these women.
I have been witness to horror stories of humanity. I’ve been witness to incredible hope and courage to allow her to rise above the quagmire. HOPE always wins! I am honored to serve these women. It has given me a capacity to love like I’ve never known.
You can find more information at cwjchope.org.
In the beginning, I was scared. I didn’t know what I was doing. (I still don’t, but don’t tell the other board members that!!!) I just felt this overwhelming call. I put all my trust in the Holy Spirit to guide. The fear subsided. All that was needed was showing up. He took care of the rest. He has blessed me 1000 fold in allowing me to be in our protegees lives. There is a joy-burst in my heart when I see a ‘graduate.’ Usually, she is radiating that feeling right back at me. I think that God calls that unity of spirit.
How can this encourage low-libido wives? When we strive to be the BEST we can be, putting ourselves/fears aside to serve, being the flesh of Jesus on earth (his hands and feet), when we call Him into our midst to help others, He answers immediately. Whether it’s women, children, marriages, elderly, men, homeless, etc, find YOUR way to serve.
Not everything comes down to sex, but when you are feeling good about yourself spiritually and emotionally, there’s a trickle down affect into how we feel about ourselves as sexual creatures, too.
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me,” John 12:26.