Like I’ve written before, this past few months and year has been quite a spiritual journey for me. I’ve been faced with many lessons, many of my own faults and shortcomings, and with concrete truths that I had started doubting about God and what He can do.
One of things that was brought up was whether or not God could use a person. Up until the past few months, having grown up in a Christian church and Christian school for many years, I firmly believed that God could and did use whoever He desired to use. We were taught that anyone could be used from a young age, and taught that if we let Him, and were open to His will, that is was almost impossible for Him to not use us and our life in some way.
When we became pre-teens and teenagers, we heard the message to not let anyone look down on us because of how young we were, not to be discouraged by people who would discount the gift God’s given us, but to know that God often uses the weak to shame the strong, the “foolish” in the world’s eyes to shame the “wise” and learned. Our faithful and godly teachers and ministers instilled a confidence in us that was beautiful, because it was confidence and faith in God’s power to use whoever He deemed fit for His purposes, no matter what anyone else thought about it.
But recently, I had been doubting these old truths that I grew up understanding. I had seen older women discourage younger women from ministering to others, and their reasons seemed right at first because they seemed to make logical sense. The problem is that, God’s ways often don’t make sense to us. His ways are higher than our ways, He can see things we can’t as He sees the whole picture and into the hearts of people.
Older women were discouraging younger women from fulfilling a calling to encourage others with their words. Their excuses ranged from telling the women they were just too young, that they didn’t have enough knowledge or wisdom yet in life, that they haven’t lived through enough years and trials to be able to speak to people with God’s wisdom.
They may not have directly said it, but the message was loud and clear:
God probably won’t use you to encourage other women, in fact, because you aren’t in your 50’s, it’s almost certain He won’t.
This is a lie, and a lie that the Enemy wants us to believe so that we don’t even try to live lives that are bold, that are lived by faith for God in helping and encouraging others.
Why bother encouraging other women if you don’t even think you’re old enough to be doing so?
Why dare to believe God can use you when you believe that you don’t have the necessary qualifications to even be considered?
The Bible is full of people who God chose to use because they were not well equipped, because they didn’t have the necessary qualifications according to other people.
Why did God choose to use people no one else would have picked for the job? To shame those who think otherwise, to shame those who arrogantly think they know who and how God works, or who He chooses to use for His work.
Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children and produce a people for God, Jacob was a known liar and the younger brother who technically shouldn’t have received the blessing. Joseph was the younger son and sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and yet became second to Pharaoh. Moses was a murderer who didn’t speak well or have the gift of speaking, and Joshua was younger than many of the Israelites he led to the Promised land. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was from a pagan group of people the Hebrews shunned and wouldn’t even let into their households. David was the youngest son, and not who the people would have agreed would have made a great king at the time He was called. Esther dealt with fear, inhibition in her spirit, and doubt that God could use her. And there are MANY more examples in the Bible of people who were normal sinners, just like you and I, people who didn’t meet the “requirements” of others, and yet were used to do great things because they trusted in God and leaned on Him in their faith.
If you ever want to read a Hall of Fame of faith, just read Hebrews chapter 11.
He chose people who were not what other people would have chosen, to show His glory through the weak, smaller, younger, less accomplished people He so frequently picked to use. He looked at people’s hearts, and even when everyone else thought God had a strange and flat out wrong pick, His will prevailed and His purposes came to pass.
It was amazing the amount of discouragement I’ve witnessed towards younger women to fulfill their calling in encouraging other single or married women. I want to do the opposite here, I want to remind you that God can use anyone He wants.
When we discourage others in this way, we are telling them untruths, and therefore not doing the work of God. When we discourage young women from growing in their calling of encouraging other women, we are discouraging the work of God to continue in their hearts, doesn’t that sound like something the Enemy himself would want? Are we letting ourselves do HIS work then, instead, when we discourage others from their calling?
As a result, the person that is discouraged by usually someone older, may end up harboring doubts in her heart that God can or would use her. She may fall into bitterness, anger, or resentment as she sees God using other people instead of her. She may become spiritually wounded as a result of someone she believes is godly, discouraging her calling, and rendered ineffective for God to use any longer. Her heart may become so spiritually wounded and discouraged to where she even mocks the fact that God can and often does use other women like her to do a ministry! She may even believe that what they are doing, is not a ministry. Planting those seeds of doubt that God can or would ever use her, doubt that she can be used while not in her 50’s to encourage other women, is evil and not godly. It is the most horrible thing that I’ve actually witnessed here online that I’ve never witnessed anywhere else, that older women actively discouraging younger women to allow themselves to be used by God to encourage others.
We are actually all called to encourage one another, and biblically speaking, every believer becomes a type of minister by how they live their life as a witness to others, and in sharing their life experiences.
I’ll never forget when I was 10, I felt a strong, deep calling to be a missionary of some kind. I had heard a missionary from India speak at our school, and the love for ministering and helping others was planted deeply in my heart. I wanted God to use me, and my heart was fertile ground for Him to do so. When I was 12 or 13, I publicly promised myself to be used by God in whatever way He would do so. At 17, in my junior year, I felt called to be in the ministry (not as a pastor, I don’t believe women should hold that ministry position, but someone working for a ministry or missionary team), and talked with our family pastor about whether or not I could know for sure if this was right and from God. He assured me that we were all called to be a minister to others the day we became Christian, He assured me that wherever God wanted me, He would use me to minister to other people, that the most important thing for me to do was to be open to His will in my life, and go where He leads me. This was so encouraging to me and prompted me to read and study everything harder, and be open and very attentive to God’s leading.
I cannot imagine what would have happened to my faith if my pastor had actively discouraged me, telling me that I was too young to minister to others with my life, or that I didn’t have enough experience, or that I had to wait until I was in my fifties and not ovulating anymore to be used by God to encourage other women to love their husbands and children.
You do not have to be a certain age for God to use you.
You do not have to be older, post-menopausal (which can occur in someone’s late-30’s or early 60’s), or a blood-relative to be able to encourage and minister to women if God wants to use you to do this.
There are examples all over our world of women who do not fit these narrow-minded, specific and false “qualifications” for ministering to other women.
You do not have to have experienced every kind of trial for God to use you.
Just recently, I received an email from an amazing woman that has been used to reach 1,000’s of other women through her online ministry. She assured me that all of our experiences are different, but that sharing them is beneficial and important because it might speak to where a certain woman is in her life at that moment. Her encouragement was so beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes after what has seemed like months of receiving insults, mocking, and criticism leading me to feel discouraged in being used for God.
Having gone through trials is important and very helpful for producing more empathy, but it’s not something that disqualifies a person from God using them to encourage others who are going through trials.
As I walk and continue to grow spiritually, clinging to God, there will be trials in my life that God will continue to use if I stay open to Him using me, don’t become discouraged, and don’t doubt His power in my or other people’s lives.
And there will be trials in YOUR life, but as you work through those trials, clinging to God, He will be able to use them, sometimes even when you’re going through them, to minister to others, helping them want to draw nearer to God.
Be bold in your faith, stand firm, and don’t let ANYONE tell you that God can or will not use you to encourage others.
Don’t let ANYONE, even if you think they appear godly and wise, to discourage God’s pull on your life to encourage others by placing unbiblical requirements like human boundaries around what they think God uses or does.
Stand firm, cling to God, deal with others (especially your opposition or critics) with kindness and humility, understanding that they are blind or walking in spiritual darkness.
God loves you, and He can use your experiences!