It was a little over a year ago that I announced on my blog that I was stepping out to officially launch LEAD Women. ( If you’re curious about that, you can read that post here). And with the pilot season and now a full year behind me, I am as confident as ever that God has called me to dedicate my life to encouraging and investing in the lives of leaders.
This past LEAD Women season was one of hearing the deep longings of fellow leaders, meeting new people and cultivating more authentic community. It was also a season of co-leading a monthly leadership gathering with a fantastic local woman, Betty Mutwiri, and a season of being inspired by the way God is working in others and creating space for others to shine. It also held new opportunities for me to teach, preach, and lead. Plus, I got ordained! I’m sincerely humbled by the things God has allowed me to witness and participate in. And I am thankful for the ordination journey and the affirmation of my call to Christian ministry.
I especially love the leadership development and engagement of women leaders. LEAD stands for leadership engagement and development, and the mission of LEAD Women is Empowering Christian Women to Lead with Confidence. How the ministry of LEAD Women works in practice is this: it’s varied. From a monthly gathering this past season to two weekly development opportunities in 2018-2019; to increased speaking engagements; to awareness of professional development opportunities; to one-on-ones in the local coffee shop; to coming alongside other women leaders in transformative seasons. LEAD Women is not just one thing. It’s one mission lived out in a variety of expressions. It’s the call on my life that I’m stewarding.
And though I am privileged to minister in a variety of contexts, seeing women thrive in their gifts and calling is a passion that continues to grow in my own heart.
I’m growing into the LEAD Women call. I’m comfortable with not fully knowing at this time what LEAD Women will evolve into. God has called each one of us to be faithful in every season – living fully into that season’s calling and not running ahead of the Spirit’s leading. Do I have dreams and goals? Sure I do. Have I sketched out some long-term goals for life? Sure I have. But those do no trump the responsibility I have to live faithfully and presently in the here and now based on what God has revealed for this season.
I’m living my best life, and I hope you are too! If you’re curious about some of the LEAD Women opportunities, see here. I’ll update more opportunities as I can. I don’t have a promotional strategist or someone who updates my website or someone who creates all my posts and graphics, so I do my best to update and keep you informed. Also, feel free to follow me on twitter @carmenkampman or on Facebook. And, of course, sign up to follow my blog!
Some other exciting things that I am involved in in 2018-2019 (remember that varied expression) are the following:
It’s going to be an exciting year!
I pray for you to be brave, to embrace the call of God on your life, and to live it fully!
If you’re like me – a result-oriented person and lover of ticking off that task that’s been scheduled in my bullet journal – then you’re likely to understand this tension. It’s the tension of there is lots to do today AND I need to spend time alone seeking and hearing God.
Henri Nouwen said this:
Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.
If you were to google the question What does it mean to live a spiritual life? you’d get a variety of opinions. For me, I think living a spiritual life is a couple of things. First, it’s the yes response to Jesus’ invitation to come and follow Him. Second, it’s a way of life (habits and practices and beliefs and choices) that we learn about through our interaction with the Scriptures (Bible) and by being in a Christian community. Third, it’s attentiveness to our living relationship with Jesus Christ. And fourth, it’s attentiveness to our soul and its needs.
Jesus modelled the need to create space for time alone with the Father.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35, NIV)
I find it fascinating that Jesus got up before the crack of dawn, the typical time the entire household would awake, and he left the house, going off to a solitary place. Isn’t it interesting that he had to leave the house and go off to a solitary place? Was that because the house was full of people and distractions? We don’t really know why he chose to the leave the house. I feel fortunate to have spaces within my home where in the colder months I can retreat to. But in the summer, I love to sit on the deck in my backyard. I especially like to be up watching the sunrise in the summer months.
But wherever that “go to” place is, it’s important for us to find it and to be intentional to prioritize time alone with our loving Heavenly Father – the one who “speaks peace to his faithful people” (Ps 85:8). The one from whom our joy and strength and refreshing springs come (Ps 84:5).
Curiously, the text in Mark does not tell us what Jesus’ prayers comprised of that day or what the Father may have communicated to him or how the fellowship in that time was within the Triune God. Oh, how sweet and hard those times must have been. We can only imagine!
Now if Nouwen is right, and I think he is, if we do not have a practice of Solitude in our life, it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. And if you find yourself longing for more and have been unable to put your finger on what’s missing, perhaps this is it.
So I would invite you to spend some time reflecting on and answering the following questions:
When making adjustments in our life, it can be challenging. Hence the reason to just start and start small. I would suggest that you set up a goal for yourself for the next six weeks (that should be doable by us all!). Pick your start and end date. And as part of this small change you’ll be making, make it a practice to weekly review your commitment to the goal and make adjustments as needed to keep you on track. If you’re a tracker like me, make it a daily practice to tick the box!
And if you want to learn more about Solitude, there are a number of authors that write on it. Authors such as Henri Nouwen, Ruth Haley Barton, and Richard Foster, to name a few.
Wishing you a day in which Solitude is a sweet part,