This week has been dubbed “Men’s Week” here at Velvet Ashes. Because we’ve asked men to come and speak into our lives on the theme “What Men Wish We Knew.” We invited Michael Buman to come to share with us today, and wow, we’re so very glad he said “yes”…
Single women living in places far from home, this letter is for you, a word of encouragement from a single male colleague.
First of all, you are talented and gifted in spite of, well, in spite of nothing. You are talented and gifted because you are a daughter of the King. He declares your value, and He stood in the gap for you. No one has ever sacrificed themselves more fully for you than our Lord, and no one ever will. You are completely, relentlessly, patiently, tirelessly, loved. Rest today, letting Him define and affirm you no matter what struggle or joy you encounter.
Thank you, also, for sharing your life with us. Our teams are richer, our perspectives more complete, our understanding of the Father more full because you are here. We want to hear what you think. For a few years I worked on a teaching team at a Chinese university with 5 singles, two single guys and three single women. Many things made that team great but the ladies who were willing to open up and be honest about team issues, thoughts on the Word, teaching ideas and life in general really kick started us. Those moments when the women on the team opened up about a family problem back home, a theological struggle, or a relational issue with a student really helped my male teammate and I feel invited to do the same thing.
Guys sometimes feel intimidated by emotions. They are unwieldy and sometimes untrustworthy so when our emotions swell we often box them into a forgotten corner of our brain and do something that seems a bit less, well, chaotic. Like work, or play frisbee, or pretty much anything else. Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement and space before we really dig into saying what we think and feel. Thank you for caring about us, your single male teammates (and also married couple teammates as well), enough to ask questions and patiently wait for answers. Often times we don’t see the effects of emotional stress on our lives until someone observes and graciously inquires. In my experience working overseas I’ve often found those observers and gracious inquirers to be single women.
At this point I’m running the risk of being stereotypical. Guys avoid emotion and we need help drawing it out and dealing with emotion responsibly. Girls, you can help us do that! In many cases this is true (really!) but let me go back and highlight an idea that single ladies might need to hear again. Your thoughts are valuable to your teams. Your intellect. Your theological rigor. Your creative might as a teacher. Your skills as a researcher, organizer, and communicator of academic or spiritual content. All of these things are indispensable to your teams. Your spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and professional gifts are given to you by the Father for our benefit!
The pastor of the international fellowship I attend said this past Sunday, “You are in China as a gift to me! So if the Father gives you something don’t keep it for yourself, share it with me. I need it.” True words. And so we need you, the single women, to invest in us just as the Father has invested in you. Thank you for faithfully blessing your teams. I hope that as you open up your life and your gifts to your teams that they pour into you as well so that you can feel the fullness of a community that loves and serves each other. Blessings! We look forward to the next thing we will learn from you!
Do you feel valued for who you are and for the role you serve?
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