This year represents the 15th year of my professional career as a teacher. Counting the years I worked as a peer tutor and as a substitute teacher, the count is actually more than 15 years. Today I realized that for the first time ever, I am involved in some capacity with every level that exists in the American educational system. My children are homeschooled, one in preschool, two in elementary school, one is split between middle school and high school. I teach at the undergraduate level, and while I am supervising graduate interns, I am also a student at the doctoral level. I have previously worked in public schools, and I desire to one day run a private school. I teach online, face to face and hybrid courses, in both secular and religious institutions. In the past I have taught at both the community college and university levels. I have written and published works pertaining to the professional training of teachers, and I have led professors and teachers alike through various avenues of professional development. I have consulted with new teachers and veteran teachers and homeschool parents, and I have served as a department chairperson multiple times. I work as the director of a learning center, and my students call me Professor, which is a title that makes me feel both undeserving and respected all at once.
I say these things not to boast, as some may take it, but rather to confess. One should think that after all these years of professional and academic preparation, very few “ah-ha” moments spring forth about the business of teaching and learning. Over the past few days, however, I have had the extreme pleasure of experiencing an “ah-ha” moment that only a teacher might truly understand. I tell my students often that I love to see the proverbial light bulbs switch on as they begin to understand a new concept. Well, if I were looking at my own light bulb today, it would resemble a high school football stadium on a Friday night, maybe even a whole bunch of stadiums! As any good teacher can tell you, a person learns best what they teach others. And so I must share this insight with anyone who will listen. It’s really quite simple, but at the chance that the next person might have to wait 15 years to discover what I learned this weekend, I am going to lay it all out very clearly: Women need women teachers.
This statement is neither inclusive nor exclusive. I am not saying that women need ONLY women teachers. Nor am I saying that ONLY women need women teachers, and neither am I saying anything with respect for a man’s need for a woman teacher. I am saying, however, that I clearly see that women need to learn from women who know how to teach women. As I have been thinking through this thesis, I am processing the incredible lessons I took away from a conference, where this very thesis was the theme. I have Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Dr. Eric Mason, and Jen Wilkin to thank for the way that they poured into thousands of women, including me, this past weekend at the Revive ’15 conference. I came away from the conference with the absolute knowledge that women need to be intentional about the way they teach other women, and likewise, that women need to be intentional about learning from other women. In saying this, I am not stating that we do not need men. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Indeed, we do need men who are willing and able to delve into the depths of the Word of God to teach from a perspective that we would not otherwise be able to access. We need men who are willing to live lives of integrity, above reproach, in order that we will continually know what such men look like and what they ought to model to the boys we are raising. We need these men to remind other men how to treat their wives, daughters, and mothers; we need these men to be strong leaders.
But women— we need one another. We need to learn from others who experience life through the same bodily lens that we do. We need to learn from women who have struggled in the ways that we have, who have gained victories in the ways that we have, and who have felt pain in the ways that we felt pain.
As women, we know what it is to love someone so much that it hurts. We know what it is to cry so hard that we laugh, to laugh so hard that we cry, and to cry until we have no more tears. We know what it is to fear childbirth, to anticipate the child’s first cry, and to say goodbye to a child who never took a breath. We know the heartbreak that comes from unmet needs in a marriage. We know what it is to long for a “Prince Charming,” at the same time believing he does not really exist. We know what it is to despise the very thing that we crave, and we understand that true beauty comes from what is inside, although we fear that no one will see us as beautiful because we already know the ugliness we harbor in our hearts.
We know how to manipulate and backstab one another, how to hug and laugh and smile and celebrate. We understand the longing for a child and the fear of raising even one, two or many more. We know that our bodies can do amazing things, by their perfect design from the Creator, but we also wish our bodies would stop doing such “amazing things,” at least once a month. We are on the forefront of the battle for our children’s hearts and minds. And, when anyone tries to attack our babies, watch out— because we know what it is to “see red” in defense of all that we hold dear. And we are soft, our bodies, our hearts, our souls— but we are strong, like unbelievably strong— we are fortresses of forgiveness and compassion. And we are hard, like stone— unmovable at times.
And the good Lord has placed us in a unique position within our churches, our families, and in the body of Christ. We are raising our children and helping our husbands. We are worshipping and learning on Sundays and Wednesdays, all across the nation. Monday and Tuesday, Thursday through Saturday, we are trying— trying so desperately hard at times, and giving up so reluctantly at times— but we are trying to live for the glory of God. We desire for our children to see Christ on His rightful throne. We long for our sons, our husbands, our daughters, our mothers, our fathers, our neighbors —everyone we know— to want more of Christ Jesus because of how they see Him in us. But we fail— and we know it. And it hurts. But we keep trying.
Some of us are older and have already raised our children. Some of us have never had children of our own, and we wonder—why?—was it my choice?— was it God’s choice— was it anyone’s choice?— but we wonder at all of it. Some of us are divorced. Some of us are widowed. Some of us are younger, and we long for an older woman to guide us through this Christian journey. Some of us are younger and see no need for all the “hoopla” about love and marriage and family. Some of us are married, with children, and we long to be single again. Some of us are single— still single— and we feel like we have been short-changed in the deal.
But God—in His infinite wisdom— created women with a purpose. In the body, we are created as the bearers of life. We are female. We are the womb of the next generation— always. He designed us to reproduce life. Those of us who are born again understand that we are born in sin, our sin is buried with Christ, and we are resurrected to new life in Christ. We are born again, and this is not to be looked at as a separate idea from God’s design of our bodies. As females, we are the bearers of life and a vehicle by which God can bring His truth to the next generation.
We believe that life begins from the moment of conception. Implantation of the Word of God is the seed of spiritual conception. When we fail to implant the seed of the Word of God in women, we create spiritual barrenness. Failure to cultivate the purpose of women to reproduce a Godly legacy by the Biblical means commanded in Titus 2 amounts to spiritual abortion. A church that fails to reproduce a Godly legacy through its women declares itself impotent before a holy God. Therefore, we must, with great urgency, create the right conditions, provide the Biblical means for, and raise up leaders who will carry the seed until it bursts forth from the spiritual womb.