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July 4, 2009

Standing in the Shallows

Editor's note: I read this passage in Rep. Marsha Blackburn's new book, Life Equity a few months back, on a gray, cold Chicago day. But these words brightened my mood right up. In fact, this passage fired me up, made me want to shoot off firecrackers and wave a flag. But because it was a gray, cold day (and I actually have no idea how to shoot off firecrackers), I stayed put in my cozy office and instead slapped a sticky note on the book's page with a scribble: "GFL. 4th of July." Hope you enjoy this passage too. - Caryn Rivadeneira

In a day in which we face unprecedented challenges - locally, nationally, and globally - far too many prospective women leaders are standing in the shallows. They look with half-longing, half-trepidation at the deeper waters.

They long to dive into the challenges and make a difference. But holding them back are questions…

"How do I break into, or get around, the good ol' boy network?"

"Where are the mentors that can show me the way?"

"Where do I start?"

I write today because we must dive in. It's not about demanding our rights. It's about deploying our gifts. It's not about glass ceilings, quotas, and symbolic progress. It's about successfully shouldering responsibilities because we're good at it and we're needed - whether others recognize it or not - and it is vitally important.

Why? Because our nation is being robbed.

We are living at a moment of unprecedented challenges in our nation's history. Some are social. Some are economic. Others are cultural. And in each case, our nation awaits the innovative and difference-making leadership of women.

That is why it is our responsibility to accept a changing role for ourselves as new doors open; to be fluid in moving from one arena to another, always taking with us the skills we have acquired; to welcome new opportunities as they are presented to us; to acknowledge with grace, rather than embarrassment, our accomplishments successes, and victories; and to serve as guides to others who would follow in our footsteps.

Here is exciting news: there is a key truth that will unlock all of these extraordinary possibilities for you - one that forms the central message of my life and of this book.

That simple but powerful truth is this: your accumulated skills go with you. The ordinary, everyday tasks you have been performing are actually the foundation for getting you where you want to go. In even the most unglamorous roles, you have built real leadership ability that has prepared you for bigger things.


Yes, but HOW?

This is very encouraging! I lead a small staff in the Creative Arts area of our church, create and oversee the execution of all our services...yet, I doubt myself constantly, mostly do to a lack of education.

Your comments on our everyday accumulated skills makes me realize what others have been encouraging me to do, believe in myself. Others see all the possibilities and suggest them often to me, I hold myself back not others.

I really do think this is probably the case with most of us woman in leadership. We create our own box, the box where we succeed and are satisfied to stay there...God grant me courage!

Marsha, you have hit it right on the head. What a waste of leadership giftings when women, for whatever reason, demur at stepping into the roles that God has prepared beforehand for them to walk in.

God help us have the courage to go forward, despite small minded religiosity which fails to understand that God would be schizophrenic to create gifted women leaders and then forbid them to operate as He created them.

Two people in the Old Testament are called both judge and prophet. One was Samuel and the other was Deborah... God has given His opinion on the whole deal... by who He creates and how He crates them.

My heart is to write and help heal woman - I don't know how to start - this has always held me back. Thinking about starting with writing freelance for christian woman magazines - Do you have any suggestions as to how I would get started?

Roseann Sparacia

just follow where the holy spirit leads you and just start writing and the right resources will find you

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