Here’s a good question: who are you? Defining ourselves is often complex. Most of us have a mental list of our identities. This would be my list: woman, mother, retired police officer, single, British, daughter, missionary… I could go on.
After 30 years working in a predominately male police service, ‘woman’ is my most dominant descriptor. I have always been passionate about advocating for and empowering women. Exploring the history of women in mission and leadership, we clearly see the courage and confidence of the early women missionaries worldwide. I am inspired by those early female pioneers and those in the years since. That legacy remains today with AIM and other mission agencies having a high percentage of female missionaries.
Facing particular risks
We also know it is a complex, broken world with inequality for women globally and endemic violence against women and girls. There is much work to do to address these pressing issues. But we live in changing times and it has been encouraging to see movement, progress and a willingness to embrace change. In my role as Risk and Crisis Management Consultant I have the opportunity to prepare and support missionaries in balancing the tension between their ministry calling, often in difficult places, and their need to be aware and respond to insecurity and crisis. God’s invitation to risk is complex. As part of AIM’s security training programme, I deliver a session specifically related to women and the risk of violence, abuse and harassment in their ministry and location. Navigating these issues needs a good understanding of culture and wise security decision making. These training sessions relate to women but are delivered to both men and women. We all partner in this together.
How has God equipped me? I hear him often, telling me, ‘Stay curious, keep seeking, go deeper into understanding the world now’. I accept this challenge through biblical and secular learning, knowing it equips me as I engage with women in our modern mission environment and support them. Knowledge is important but application is essential.
So who am I, really? Woman, mother, retired police officer, single, British, daughter, missionary. Yes, but where does my real identity come from? Ephesians 1:3-4 tells us we are chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, grace-lavished, unconditionally loved and accepted. Wow! My identity is based on how God sees me and so I will accept that, knowing that it allows me to live as a woman freely and confidently in Christ.