My mom once told me that women could be “secretaries, nurses, or teachers.” (She didn’t have “wife and mother” in there probably because I was fairly young and she didn’t want me running off and getting hitched.) But good ol’ Mom did want me to get a descent job—hence the list of female occupations that she thought I could excel in. I don’t think she gave me this list to discourage me–you see, I wanted to be an airplane pilot at the time. I think she was trying to say, “If you want to be something other than the accepted norms, then be prepared to be annoyed–so why not take the path that is easiest and most accessible.” Well, I was annoyed. I was annoyed by my mom who so quickly reminded me that my worldly purpose was limited to just three occupations.
Well let me tell you, I certainly did go to secretarial school–but I also took those flying lessons and I was a very good pilot (I made my instructor throw up and I am quite proud of that). However, I soon gave up (because I went broke) and ended up getting–exerting minimal if any effort at all–a nice, made-for-me secretarial position. (And get this… even though I failed secretarial school–I still got the job!) I hated every minute of that job (and yes, I was terrible at it)–except for the people; I quite liked the people. I liked the people so much, I ended up marrying a man from the office.
Well, I’m a writer now. I’ve chosen a difficult occupation that was not on my mother’s list (and my mother is quite happy with my choice–I think). Although being an airplane pilot would have paid more bills. But it all makes sense to me now. You see, in grade three (or “third grade,” if you are from the United States) I wrote my first novel. It was entitled The Bloody Dagger. It was a dark mystery (okay, fine, it was a horror story… but it was still a lovely piece of writing). Soon after I became a Christian, the urge to write increased dramatically within me. All I seemed to care about was writing. I went back to school to learn about writing. And I wrote and wrote and wrote until I had a book called Saving Mary: The Possession. So I went from The Bloody Dagger to The Possession—I guess some things don’t change. During this time, I also began exploring the Bible, in particular the subject of “testimony.” Within a few years, I had a series on Christian testimony written; plus, I was teaching “What a Christian Testimony is and is Not.” Somewhere in there I had also given birth to three amazing girls.
I was a busy woman. And I was enjoying myself. Sometimes though, when things were going slow or going seemingly nowhere, I would wonder what my true purpose really was. What aspect of my work did God enjoy the most? What did God deem valuable? Was God most happy with my work as a mother? Or did God view my studying His word as most valuable? Or perhaps God was particularly pleased when I was working directly with people, teaching them and helping them.
I ended up finding my answer in the Garden of Eden story. There I noticed that Adam and Eve’s purpose was the same purpose that Jesus gave to his disciples:
God blessed them, and God said to them:
- Be fruitful
- fill the earth
- subdue it; and have dominion –Gen 1:28
This happens to be the same purpose given to us by Jesus:
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. –Jn 15:8
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. –Mt 28:19-20
3. “Fill the earth”
You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. –Col 1:5–6
So, in the end, a woman’s purpose is quite simple; furthermore, we have the exact same purpose as men. Our purpose as followers of Jesus is to: bear fruit and multiply until the whole earth is overcome with the loving fruit of the Holy Spirit. Love: it really is the most important aspect of Christianity. Without it we are not fulfilling our purpose. Therefore, no matter what I choose to do–whether I fly planes or write books, or even if I choose to be a secretary or mother–my purpose always remains the same: grow in the fruit of the Spirit and help others to do the same–while letting them in on the wonderful truth–that the God-family (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is real–they love us and they can help us and heal us. Do this until the whole world is subdued with spiritual fruit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.