International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign theme, "Pledge for Parity”, is a call to recognize the gender inequalities that exist globally. IJM Canada’s #PledgeforParity includes a commitment to ending violence against women in the developing world. This blog series is intended to celebrate International Women's Day by sharing empowering messages from women who support IJM’s mission. Read and be inspired to action!
When Your Yes is Enough
Written by: Cathie Ostapchuk
There is a myth that exists in pews of churches, offices of non-profit and corporate environments, in homes across this nation, and in the hearts of Canadian women spread out from Newfoundland to British Columbia in 2016.
The myth emanates from hidden places in women’s souls and spreads outward, insidiously impacting confidence and leaving tragic gaps in potential transformation of families, communities, churches and nations. The myth can be summed up simply: "I am not enough and my Yes will not make a difference.”
What do you believe? Canadian history is rich with stories of women who were not only enough but singularly said Yes in a world of other womens’ "No’s”. Jennie Trout was the first woman to become an MD in 1875, Nellie McClung brought about rights of women to vote in 1916 and the names of women who forged new territory continued into 1992 when Roberta Bondar became the first female Canadian astronaut.
For each woman who has said Yes to not only claiming new ground, but lending their voice on behalf of the voiceless, there are at least a thousand others who hold back and wonder what difference their Yes will make.
I have wrestled with my Yes being enough. I have waited for braver, more educated and experienced women to rise up and take up the cause of linking Canadian Christian women coast to coast. But in 2016, with more years behind me than I most likely have before me, I have determined that my Yes will be enough. I desire to see radical change in my nation. I desire to see it begin in the hearts of women who follow Christ and want to share His gospel of radical redemption. I desire to see each woman freed from the message of bondage in every area – emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational.
Free people free people. Free women free women. Women who are bound to myths that emanate from a poverty mentality of not being enough or having enough allow the prevalent message of needing more to keep them from receiving all that God has already given them, and offering Jesus to others.
I have raised my hand to see if my singular Yes will inspire others to look within their sphere of influence and see if they can make a difference. I have raised my hand to see if my singular Yes will inspire others to look beyond their sphere of influence and expand it -and step into places that need what only they are uniquely gifted to bring.
I have spent the last several years mistakenly thinking, "If I don’t, someone else will.” And I have waited. I have been challenged to ask, instead: "If not me, then who?”
I have been inspired by stories of women here and abroad who have raised their voice, even if it felt like a whisper, of "Yes, I am enough. I am enough to be part of the solution to the injustices in the world. I am enough to speak in to inequality in our places of ministry. I am enough to no longer allow discrimination of certain culture groups.”
Those are brave Yes’s.
But what if your Yes is just a stepping out to befriend a woman who needs a place to belong: the One.
What if your Yes is creating a Circle where women can come together to share their fears and find courage through the words of Scripture: the Few.
What if your Yes is raising your hand to lead in your church, community, or province and join with other women’s Yes’s to be heard from East to West: the Many?
is looking for women who will speak a fearless Yes into the Canadian air. We are looking for women who share the vision of creating a robust network of Canadian Christian women, coast to coast, who believe that we are better together. We want to gather together in order to go out. We want to partner with organizations that are responding to injustice and poverty. We believe that the sum of our individual Yes’s will creative a collective Yes that is more than enough to cultivate the fertile soil of Canadian culture and transform it.
Your Yes is enough. Mine is enough. Consider the source:
"From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” John 1:16.
Will you plant your Yes into the soil of this nation and beyond for this time in history?
Your singular Yes will be multiplied far beyond what you can imagine.
Cathie Ostapchuk’s work and ministry as a leadership development trainer, consultant and coach - has led her to work in global non-profit organizations such as World Vision and Compassion, as well as corporate boardrooms, and has taken her across Canada and as far as Africa and Australia doing the work she loves. Her mission statement is to help clarify purpose and vision for individuals, teams and organizations.
Recently, Cathie co-founded a national organization called Gather Women. Gather is an opportunity for Christian women to come together to tell the Canadian story and to champion a culture of support as they walk out their callings: unified and diverse. Gather exists to connect women coast to coast, regionally and nationally through a robust network on the ground and online. Cathie believes God is stirring the desire for a uniquely Canadian expression of His heart for women in this nation, for this time.
Read other blog posts in this series: