Pastor Dawn Davis-Lawrence shares how believers can make the transition from being a woman of faith to a woman who acts on her faith and, in the process, touches lives and communities.
It is said that a ‘woman of faith’ is someone who believes in a spiritual truth beyond the physical. She is inspired and directed by her ‘with faith’ attitude, which she frequently practises publicly, privately, individually and collectively. However, while this may well be true, the biggest obstacle to women operating in faith is fear. It is essential that women overcome their fears, by moving from purely being ‘women of faith’ to being ‘women with faith’. For, while being a ‘woman of faith’ is good, its power is limited, as it speaks purely of her heritage – her past – whereas being a ‘woman with faith’ indicates all she has embraced over the days, months and years throughout her life. This transition is not easy but necessary, if she is to achieve her true potential.
Biblical accounts clearly note a plethora of women enlisting a ‘with faith’ attitude to accomplish their goals; overcome their challenges, and defeat their enemies. Today’s Christian women cannot afford to have a lesser faith than their biblical counterparts. Indeed, there are still spiritual walls to come down; nations to be saved; internal and external battles to be fought and won; families to preserve, and rulers to encourage. Today’s Esther still needs a ‘with faith’ belief to bring about change; today’s Ruth still requires a ‘with faith’ trust to hold on to her family; today’s Rahab still needs a ‘with faith’ assurance to preserve her life and that of her household. The times and the seasons may have changed, but the challenges and obstacles are still very much the same.
The prolific Bible teacher, speaker and author, Warren Wiersbe, once said, “The people who jest about faith don’t realise how big a part it plays in everyday affairs. It takes faith to get married. It takes faith to send children off to school. It takes faith to get a prescription filled. It takes faith to eat in a restaurant; deposit money in a bank; sign a contract; drive on the highway, or get on an airplane or into an elevator. Faith isn’t some kind of religious experience for the elite; it’s the glue that helps hold people’s lives together.”
In my book, “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?”, I speak about discontentment and how, if acted on, it can literally shift you from inaction to action, essentially from being a ‘woman of faith’ to being a ‘woman with faith’. I recall some years ago, sitting in a rousing Sunday morning service, and experiencing a strong sense of discontentment and frustration. I remember thinking, ‘There has to be more to church life than this.’ As I listened to the various speakers sharing their testimonies, all I could hear were tales of hardship, unemployment, marital distress and more. As the congregation resounded with the words “Amen” and “We’ll pray for you” after each speaker, discontentment and frustration consumed me! ‘We should be doing more,’ I thought. Suddenly it dawned on me it wasn’t that ‘We should be doing more’, but that ‘I should be doing more.’ There was more to me than I was settling for, more I could give, more I could do. It’s amazing how God will use discontentment and frustration as vehicles to move you into living a ‘with faith’ life.
Driven by this discontentment and frustration, mingled with mustard seed faith, I decided to step out – my first priority became helping struggling mothers. Utilising my former Early Years experience and training, I set about setting up an Early Years day care centre. God will use what you’ve got, but perhaps haven’t recognised, to get the job done. My vision was to provide affordable day care, specifically tailored to the needs of single mothers. I wanted to start a day care centre, which would provide jobs and training for unemployed Christians, and be staffed by Christians. After 18 months of stepping out ‘with faith’, I opened the Early Years day care and training centre – it was amazing! A month later, I received a phone call from a Christian woman who’d heard about the Centre; she’d lost her job and wondered if the Centre had any vacancies. It was a great feeling to be able to offer her a position. I’d done it! Discontentment had been the precursor to moving me from being a discontented, frustrated ‘woman of faith’ to a ‘woman with faith’.
Today, the Centre provides Early Years care services, after school care, and extended services for under achievers to over fifty families. The Centre takes young people on work experience from local secondary schools, and partners with SureStart, the Special Educational Needs Teams, Leicester College, New College Nottingham and Leicester City Council to present a range of services. Despite the challenges and difficulties, I am proof that today’s Christian women can use a ‘with faith’ mindset to propel them into new levels and ventures beyond perceived boundaries to explore new opportunities.
Pastor Dawn Davis-Lawrence is founder of New Harvest Community Church in Leicester