We sat in the intimate living room with friends and family.
"I've been asked to join the Proverbs 31 Ministry speaking team," I said with excitement.
Proverbs 31 Ministries is a strong group of women who support, encourage, and mentor faith-filled women who write and speak. It was not only an opportunity to pursue my passion of mentoring, but I was tired of flying solo. I longed for the accountability and friendship that come from working with others who share the same dreams. I shared the benefits, and then mentioned that travel might increase by one weekend a month.
"You don't like your husband very much, do you?" one woman asked.
She was dead serious.
This was someone I care about and respect greatly. She aimed and my joy popped. In her eyes ministry was a negative to my marriage, despite that my marriage is one of the strongest that I know. Richard loves what I do and is my biggest cheerleader. Family is my first priority.
Can I be honest? I wanted to fight back. I wanted to tell her that she doesn't have the same opinion about other women who work away from home 40 hours a week. I wanted to remind her that my husband is pursuing a Master's degree and working full-time, and that she has never seen his dreams as a negative. I wanted to shout out that I'm in my home office 26 days a month, more than any other woman I know.
But it wouldn't have helped. And it wasn't the right thing to do.
Since I couldn't change her opinion, I had to change my response to it. I gently reminded her that 29 years of a happy marriage was the measuring stick of whether I loved Richard, and then let it go.
But this is a huge obstacle for women in ministry. Where do you go to share the challenges, the joys, the frustrations, or the excitement of what God has called you to do? What do you do when someone doesn't get it?
God is our ultimate Boss and Sounding Board. Our family is next. But don't forget that we need each other, too. I am energized when I meet with women who have the same love of ministry. For me, I find that in Proverbs 31 Ministries, or by attending trade conferences such as CBExpo or in networks such as Women in Christian Media. I may attend only one event a year. I may select only one e-mail group. I may choose only a handful of blogs to read - like Gifted For Leadership - but it feeds that side of who God made me to be.
Who is your support group? Is there a network of women with the same goals in ministry? And most important, what step will you take today to make that connection?