International Women's Day: Advice For My Student Self

As we celebrate women across the world today, we want to share some golden nuggets of wisdom from some wise women we know. With a breadth of experience behind them, we asked these women, “what advice would you give to your student self?”. Here are their responses.

 

  • “If you ever think you’ve made such a big mistake you don’t deserve God’s love and you’ve gone too far. Think again. I have made so many mistakes. But God’s love is bigger than the mess I made. It is big big big. It’s more than big. It’s gigantic. Wrong. It’s more than gigantic. It’s trigantic. Okay that’s not a word. But maybe you need to hear that God’s love is bigger than your mistakes. You are FORGIVEN. And God’s really really good at taking our mess and muck and making it look beautiful. It’s why he sent Jesus.” 

Jane Kirby, Editor at Truth Magazine, @rebelheartsrebelgirls

 

  • "As a friend once told me, “You try a lot of different things, but you always land on your feet.” Learning to land on my feet came from bowing my knees in dependence upon Jesus, and knowing I am loved by him. Learn to land on your feet so that you won’t be tossed to and fro. Explore your love relationship with Jesus. How is it going? What would it look like for him to be your first love?  As your relationship with Jesus solidifies, you will learn to see life from his perspective. You will learn to find your worth and value first in him."

Skip McDonald, Author and Leader at Intervaristy Christian Fellowship

 

  • "The word ‘calling’ sounds quite grand and divine. The word ‘obedience’ is way less glamourous. And yet it’s obedience that will be your most faithful friend and travel companion on the journey of attempting to discover and live out calling. Some of my most powerful moments of sensing the call of God upon my life have actually come after I began to step out in that direction in sheer obedience. I didn’t feel full of the glory and authority of God. I just had a hunch this next move was the invitation of Jesus for me. As I walked, I’d say calling got stronger, more grounded, more tangible with each obedient step." 

Miriam Swanson, Global Student Mission Leader, Fusion

 

  • "I wish I had known that I had a unique purpose, designed by God, since before time began. I wish I had known that I was His workmanship, that there was nobody like me, and He loved it that way. I wish I had known that focusing on my own journey would bring so much contentment (and challenge!) and meant I could avoid the trap of comparison and FOMO. You see, when we stay in our lane, bringing to life the good works and heavenly plans that our Father has prepared for us, then we find peace and purpose. Read Ephesians 2:8-10 for more on this – one of my favourite passages."

Hannah Miller, Director of Sidekick

 

  • "Many women have a lot of voices in their heads that make them feel inadequate one way or another. Whether those voices come from real or imagined sources, keeping negative voices at bay is a battle that a lot of women face. It really matters to me that women believe, deep down in their hearts, that God's voice spoken over them is one of deep, unconditional love and affirmation. God's voice spoken to and over women is full of pride and joy in who they are, who he has made them to be, and all that he wants them to become. Through my work on the Bible, I really want women to be able to read the scriptures through that lens and to see the riches of the kingdom available to them as co-heirs with Jesus Christ."

Lucy Peppiatt, Principal of WTC

 

  • "I was given lots of opportunities and my 20’s were an incredibly formative time. But I spent years trying to prove my value in work and in relationships. I battled with feeling like I needed to be different to be a leader; it was exhausting. I wish I’d known that I was already enough, and I was not too much. My Nigerian immigrant, inner-city roots were enough. My loud voice and big passions were not too much. My single status was enough. My womanhood was not too much. God made me, loved me, chose me, sent me. His opinion is enough."

Jo Saxton, Author and Leadership Coach

 

  • "The quote, 'the grass isn't greener on the other side; the grass is green where you water it.' is ringing in my ears. It's so simple but profound really as I often spent my uni years comparing my life, my grades, my nights out, the likes on my social pages, my student digs, the guys I dated etc etc etc, to the people around me. It forced to admit it, so often we think our life would just be better if we lived someone else's. But although a prevalent mindset, it isn't the truth. I'm discovering that the grass grows fresh and green where we decide to water it and for me the best place to start is the patch under my feet. Saying yes to God in my every day life, allowing Him to grow me right where I am is really freeing and definitely saves a lot of emotional energy being expended unnecessarily. I definitely wish I'd known that as a student."

Pippa Baker, Missionary with Catholic Charismatic Renewal

 

  • "Your identity and value is not dependant on your gender, nor whose daughter, sister, partner you are, nor what you do but who God has created you to be and chose you for. Refuse to be defined by what you’re not or what you don’t have but aligning how you see yourself with how God sees you! Replace negative thoughts or words spoken to you or about you with truth. Not trying to live up to others’ expectations, or even your own, of what a young woman ought or should be. Yes it feels good to be affirmed or liked but your security comes from being loved and accepted by God and not dependant on people’s approval. It’s ok not to be recognised or understood or listened to, and important to learn how to respond, not react, to criticism. Making a mistake does not mean you’re a failure. It’s valuable to listen and learn from those you admire and who inspire you but don't compare yourself or try to be someone else."

Linda Harding, Mission Advisor and Mentor

 

  • "I recall my first fast. Those around me who were passionate about following Jesus seemed to take fasting seriously and fasted regularly. So with my passion for Jesus blazing on ahead of me, I decided I was going to do my first fast. The day came, the morning went pretty well: spent time with Jesus and attended my lectures. I came back to my room and the hunger pangs kicked in. They slowly got worse. I’d never experienced anything like it, nor could I have as I’d never had to miss a meal before (I acknowledge this privilege). By mid afternoon, I thought I was going to die! All prayer went out of the window. By 4:00pm I couldn’t take it any longer and broke my fast. Fast forward a few months, that first attempt had grown into regular Friday fasts in community. We would meet at 6:00pm to pray for our family members and loved ones to know the love of Jesus and become His followers after which we would break our fast. It got easier and God answered many of those prayers spectacularly. I wish I knew then what a crucial launchpad my “failed” first fast would become, a forerunner of a discipline and obedience to Jesus that has stayed with me several decades on."

Nike Adebajo, Senior Church Leader

 

We are so thankful for the wisdom and courage of each of these women. Who are the women in your life who you can thank today? 
 

Victoria Seithel

Communications Developer

Viki loves raising up new leaders and is committed to sharing the hope-filled story of student mission with the churches she serves.

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