Nearly two weeks I sat at the Baptist Women in Ministry annual worship service on June 22 at Bayshore Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, and heard Veronice Miles preach. Her words have stayed with me . . . her words were ones of challenge and a call to those present to experience reconciliation and find wholeness. Those words of challenge flowed out of the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.
I wish you all could have been there and heard Veronice speak these words:
Wholeness is difficult . . .
when we hold secrets too dangerous to tell . . .
life stories too painful to remember . . .
Scars etched so deeply upon our hearts
that it seems they will never heal.
Wholeness is difficult
when devaluation shrouds our existence:
be a woman, they tell us . . . but not too womanish . . .
be intelligent . . . but hide your competence . . .
be spiritual . . . but not prophetic . . .
be strong . . . but not the leader . . .
stand in the midst . . . but do not speak.
But Veronice did not leave us with just these difficult truths, she pointed us to the Living Water that only Jesus brings. Her sermon gave us these words of hope:
Living Water which source is God . . .
potent enough to mends our brokenness
and sustain us in our times of loss and grief,
So that our lives might flourish
and testify to God’s presence in our world today.
I am thankful for the encouragement and the challenge from Veronice, and I am thankful that she gives her life to teaching students at Wake Forest University Divinity School.
Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo courtesy of Emily Holladay and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship).