I see it in my oldest girl as she turns hesitantly, taking in her reflection in the morning. In my friend as she worries about her infant’s sleep patterns. In me as I click through TV channels to distract myself from writing words I fear won’t pour out right.
Insecurity. Doubt. Wondering if we’ll ever get “it” right. Wondering if our dreams are significant.
This battle rages in the hearts of women worldwide, some of whom face dire circumstances on top of the internal struggle. Today’s guest, Dr. Kristin Beasley, works with women throughout the world to help them find confidence in their God-designed strengths and gifts. I had the privilege of sitting with her for coffee while in Arizona a few weeks ago. Here’s some of what she shared:
Q: What do you feel is the toughest challenge facing women?
Women often feel deeply insecure about who they are and question their value and their ability to make a contribution. I’ve seen that they want to do what God wants them to do, but often aren’t sure what that is. And if they had a longing for something like seminary (or anything else!), they weren’t sure if it was OK to want that.
Q: What inspired you to reach out to support women here and abroad?
I’ve been working with women for 30 years, leading small groups. When my husband and I moved to Phoenix we began attending Scottsdale Bible Church, where I lead women’s ministry for 3 years, and trained women who led small groups. We felt all along that there was something the Lord wanted us to do, so we learned and grew, and when we were in our mid-40’s the time was right. We both ended up going to seminary on our then-Missions Pastor’s recommendation because we were really feeling led to go in to missions work. Then I ended up going on staff and being dean of women at the seminary. I began working with international ministries, which broadened my view of women. It gave me understanding that these needs, these struggles, in women are universal.
Q: You share about these issues in your book, Who Do You Think You Are? Good News About Your Identity. How’d your book come about?
Since I began teaching internationally, I started to ask myself “How is a one-time conference or visit helping women to really take hold of these truths about their worth in Christ?” The Lord had given me so much training and opportunity and I felt a responsibility to share it – to give it out. I was convicted that the Lord wanted me to write down what I knew to be true about a woman and her identity. So I did it.
Q: How does your organization, the Global Training Institute for Women, fit in with this message? At one point, we went to meet with women internationally to find out what they needed, and how I could support them. One woman, a Muslim in Jerusalem, was at great personal risk sharing her faith in the Lord there. We sat having coffee, and she shared her testimony. I shared that the Lord’s trained and equipped me and how I’m a teacher at heart. I asked, “Do you have training opportunities for women here?” She just laughed. And then she opened my eyes: “You know, a lot of people want to come over here and tell us things, but they don’t want to get to know us.”
That changed the whole thrust of where we were going as a ministry. Instead of just reaching out in the United States, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, we structured a program to be much more intentional, with smaller groups of women, and for longer periods of time. We train women in ministry and as individuals, really getting to know them, and equipping them to use their gifts in the work they do.
Q: If you could give one bit of advice to women, what would it be? Have the courage to be who God made you to be. Because He made you exceedingly well. Psalm 139 states you’re fearfully and wonderfully made. What God made is good, he’s invested you with dignity, honor and value. Sin has tarnished the image of God, but that doesn’t mean you’re still not an image bearer and therein lies the foundation of your value.
You reflect the image of God to the world around you, so live life out of your giftings and strengths. He gave you those gifts for a reason. He wants you to use them, build them, invest them, and steward them well.
Thank you so much, Kristin! May God continue to extend the reach of your book and ministry and use it to help women grow into all He’s made them to be!