Words of My Life: Advocate
In ongoing celebration of my Jubilee year of 50 years in ministry and 70 years of life, I am sharing some of the words of my life. Advocate is a frequent role for me.
I will go to bat for you.
When I see a need, I want to meet it, or at least address it.
I care about so many injustices, causes, needs, individuals, yet I can’t begin to personally undertake to right all wrongs or appeal for all persons.
I don’t have the skills of a legal advocate, nor the financial resources to make much provision, nor the entrepreneurial gifts to start a not-for-profit.
But I do have a few resources to apply when I see a need.
I will speak words of encouragement and prayer.
I will connect you to Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, through prayer.
I will use my fairly extensive influence to see that your concern is addressed by those who can make a difference for you.
I will write about needs I see in order to stimulate those who might step up to do just that—step up.
I will draw on God-given courage to speak up on behalf of those who have no voice.
I will post needs, and the challenge to address them, on social media.
So I hope to stir up support for those concerns or causes I can’t tend to myself.
But where I can personally make a difference, I will seek to.
One arena I have been passionate about is the care of the staff in our ministry. I partner with my husband to lead our ministry, relying on influence and not authority. An approach I much prefer.
How do I do this?
I listen. I share personally and vulnerably. I encourage our staff to seek God’s wisdom to deal with problems and needs. We consider community as a powerful resource, and I remind them of processes in place to seek help. And if necessary I go to the appropriate people to make them aware of needs or concerns, or to ask them to address them.
Does this always take care of needs? No, of course not always. The most important help I might give is to pray with and for these staff I love about the situation they are in.
I have another passion for which I have been an advocate for decades—with our staff and more broadly. It has been a long, mostly tireless perseverance to open windows and doors for God’s daughters.
Opening windows involves many conversations, speaking and writing to help women and men see that God had sizable intentions when He made woman. And that throughout Scripture He has been pleased to use His daughters in significant ways.
Opening doors requires helping to prepare and equip women for greater contributions and influencing the doorkeepers to open those doors of opportunity. Sometimes all we can do is crack the door a little and get a foot in. Eventually, though, doors swing wide and we see the remarkable good works God has waiting for his daughters.
I use my Kindling blog—starting fires in hearts and minds—and my speaking opportunities to open both windows and doors. Specifically for our staff women we have a dedicated website and a quarterly newsletter, both designed to encourage, connect and equip our women.
We took a giant step forward in 2004 with Global Women’s Leadership Forum for 450 staff women from 95 countries. It gave a powerful jumpstart in preparing our women for leadership, and outcomes from it continue to be seen. You can read about it here and here.
There are so many other needs and injustices I care about: prodigals and those who love them, human trafficking of all kinds, poverty, abortion, racism…. If I had the means and energy, I would love to make a difference in small or large ways. And sometimes I do.
Wisdom, however, says to focus. That way I can make the greatest impact with my efforts—and be able too look back and see that my advocacy produced desired results.
And gratefully, we have a perfect advocate available always: "...we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." (1 John 2:1)
What about you? When have you been an advocate?
C2015 Judy Douglass