Mid year 2018 Amanda our precious leader met with a group of sisters called together by Dr. Brad Smith to unveil her plans for Amsterdam 2019. In the months that followed we met as a group to pray, listen, and wait.
The vision was captured quite aptly in a note received from one of our sisters after attending her first prayer session. She wrote “we met to watch together for our sisters across the globe for an hour.” These prayer times became moments of affirmation, insights, requests and discernment.
We have arrived in Amsterdam. The moment is here and I have been asked to share with you a few of our gateway from these prayer session.
Amsterdam a Theology of place. ( A place of remembrance)
Amsterdam 2019 was seen for us as a place of beginning, that sparks the fire and reignited in us discernment, wisdom, and power to rise with heightened vision to support women in leadership throughout the world.
One thing became evident as we prayed:
Our Leaders could be found in the boardroom, among the south American missionaries working in the homes of the wealthy in North America, and among the subsistence farmer bending tirelessly with her baby on her back in the fields.
Commissioned as advocates.
We have been commissioned to go and tell the stories of women and girls who dwell in the hard places, who have pain and anguish, who may not have a strong voice.
LORD, If we are chosen be called out by you, help us use our privilege to include others and provide space for their stories.
God wants us to be advocates – with the right words and the right stories – for abundant life and quiet fellowship.
God is not asking us to be involved in Amsterdam because of our ‘worthiness’ but because He has ’tooled’ us, called us, and pruned us to take responsibilities.
Jesus always knew the heart of the women he encountered, and He gave every woman the right answer because He had the father’s heart.
Lord, help us to speak out of a right heart, not out of frustration or anger.
May church leaders have eyes, ears, and heart like Jesus. May their hearts understand what women are saying.
We were given sightings of something new: an expectation for something new. We thank God that his Holy Spirit will bring the truth of women’s experiences.
Our ‘program’ won’t do that. Only God can do that.
From a recent citing of Isaiah 35 by a sister’s , these words became a mantra for me:
Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble.
Say to those with anxious heart,
Take courage, fear not.” (Isaiah 35: 3)
Images of a beautiful tapestry of many and varied shades- Gods Masterpiece.
For the tapestry to be the best, God chooses, lifts up women who may be neglected; He will stitch us. In a tapestry the colours come alive more sharply when black outlines the colours. We fear black but maybe the darkness (suffering of women) helps us to support each other and to bring light into the dark spaces of some women’s lives.
We thank God for the peaceful blues and greens but we also know God is in the dark places of the tapestry and he wants us to bring hope to uncomfortable places. We can lift burdens, heal, and lead in the difficult places.
Work & Worship.
The marriage of work and worship came with deep commitment to research, To tap into the powerful outcome of a seeking heart and mind, emotion and logic.
As we prayed there were insights around research. A sense that solid information about women will be such an important part of this time together – UN research on women is valuable but we want the heart of God to permeate our understanding.
We want to mine, to excavate: to know any barriers to flourishing, to know how to serve fruitfully, to build our wisdom on God’s wisdom.
Lord, “we are pregnant with hope. We may be understood but we want to have Your message. We have Your burden for the world, of knowing the big picture, help us to Rise in Strength and sing a song in 2019 that reaches the world.”
Dr. Yvonne McKenzie