This is a portion of a lesson from the Women in Leadership: Small Group and Ministry Articles Series By Crystal Schmalz
Junia, I haven’t heard from you in a while. I wanted to send you a letter to see how you are doing. I know the last few years have been difficult. I remember when you came to me for the first time with all your excitement and big dreams. I remember that night like it was yesterday. We were sitting on the steps together after the commissioning service, and you told me about everything you wanted to do. I was really excited for you, but I also knew the road would not be easy. I wanted to tell you more, but you were so excited. I listened. I remember when you told me about standing in front of the thousands preaching and how you wanted to start a church. I was so happy for your vision. I remember when you used to write me all the time in the middle of the night and send me all of those great letters. It made me really happy.
I know the last couple of years have been tough. I know you have felt alone and even sometimes thought you had been abandoned by all. Many of the leaders I have worked with in the past have felt that “desert feeling,” the one where you feel all alone and wonder whether or not your dreams will come true. I even felt like that before. I felt betrayed too when people did not believe in my calling. They mocked me and thought I was a fake. I couldn’t even preach in my own hometown, because they didn’t see the calling I had been given.
People do not always see our dreams and callings. Sometimes there are struggles because people desire power, and often do not understand what authority means. Culture says movie stars and sports players are heroes. Culture says you have to be skinny and the most beautiful to be valuable. I don’t believe this is true. Success and value does not come from doing things or being famous. Beauty does not come from taking the picture perfect selfie. Our identity and value comes from so much more than what our culture identifies.
I know you have been trying to fit into a box even in the church. I know you have tried. I have seen you go to events and have watched as others have ignored you and pretended like you did not exist. Believe me, their hearts need to repent. I have seen as some of your greatest battles have been not with men in ministry, but with women who do not believe in your calling. Don’t give up Junia. Quit trying to fit into a box Junia. Stop believing you are not good enough, and that you are a failure. Yes, I know it is hard. Yes, I know it hurts. I know it is awkward when you are the only female in the room. I know it is hard to walk through the doors, but keep walking through the doors.
Junia, I called you because you are special. I called you because I knew I could trust you with the plan. I called you because you are you. I don’t want you to try to be anyone else. I’ve never left you. I know it seems like you have been forgotten, but I remember when you told me that you would go where no one else would go. So I sent you to the place where you do not get the credit and there is no spotlight. I remember when you pleaded with me to see miracles. So I sent you to the sick and hurting. I remember all of the times when you said you would serve me no matter what. So I trusted you in the different seasons of life. And now you seem discouraged and even a little bitter. Change will take time, but my Spirit will bring revival. My Spirit will empower. My Spirit will call the ones who believe they could not be called. I will mend the broken. I will heal the wounded. I will bring wholeness to my children. I will be there when it seems impossible. I will provide the miracle, prepare the way, lead and guide.
Junia, I love you. I loved you before you were even born. I have loved you through it all. I see your past. I know it looks broken, but I am going to use every situation for my glory. I didn’t plan for you to go through some of the things you have gone through. I’m sorry they hurt you. I’ll always be there for you. Keep believing. Keep trusting.
Love Always, Your Biggest Fan, Your Strength and Provider,
Copyright 2015 Crystal Schmalz and Crystal Schmalz Ministries