“We’re calling because we want you to consider being interviewed for the Director of Women’s Ministry position, now that our current DWM has resigned.”
This invitation from the WMCLB Ministry Team came just as I was adjusting to a major life change. My pastor-husband, Bruce, had just been called home to heaven after over thirty years of ministry. In my sadness I had told the Lord that I wished to follow him there unless he had a calling on me yet in this life. I had big decisions to make. Where shall I live? How shall I support myself? What purpose does God still have for me? I prayed that the Lord would make his path for me perfectly clear. He did, and I became the Director.
So began an adventure of faith that has lasted thirteen years, covered thousands of travel miles, and brought me to hundreds of church visits, retreats, seminars and board meetings. I’ve been the guest of countless hospitable host families, been prayed over, advised, corrected and encouraged. I have been blessed to work with an ever-evolving team of gifted people on the WMCLB Ministry Team and the CLB Council of Directors. Always the task has centered on three themes: to see women come to personal faith in Jesus Christ, to grow in their faith and service, and to support missions of the CLB. The God who called me has been faithful through days of energy or weariness, enthusiasm or discouragement, spiritual mountaintops or bewildering valleys. I am forever grateful.
Meditating on 2 Peter 1 this week, I was reminded that what binds our Christian life and service together is the Word itself. Faith is received (v.1), grace and peace are given (v.2), power for life and godliness is granted (v.3) and faith-exercise is called for (vv.5-7), all through the “knowledge of God”—an expression that is used four times in this brief passage. That knowledge comes to us through the message of the Word and through a growing, intimate relationship with the Author himself. The believer will then be effective and productive (v.8), stable (v.10) and welcomed into the eternal kingdom of our Lord (v.11).
So my message, to myself and to all of us as I leave this position on April 30, 2019, is to diligently study, meditate on and practice the Word—or, as I often say, to “marinate in it.” Many other necessary things hold our attention daily, but our life and witness is best shaped for Christ as we prioritize the Word. That desire—to know him better and to make him known—remains my calling whether or not I bear a title.
So, what now? Much will change both for me and for this ministry as new leaders are called to speak to a new generation in fresh ways, employing new “materials” but always with the same purpose, built on the foundation of God’s Word. As for me, I still ask the same questions as I did thirteen years ago at another point of decision, but the same beloved Lord will lead me on.
Ruth Vallevik has served as the director for Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren for thirteen years. Her final day in that position will be April 30, 2019.