By Mike Tenbusch | April 8, 2022
This past Wednesday morning, I was surrounded by a room of truly amazing women while on a Zoom call with equally amazing women in Ethiopia in a quest to bring the jewelry they make to market here in the United States.
It was a unique gift for me to experience women empowering women on both sides of the Atlantic. One of them, about to graduate from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, said, “I don’t want to spend my life just helping private equity dudes.” She is finding her calling here.
As we learned the stories of our jewelry makers, my joy in the tenacity of these women was overshadowed by my grief at the failures of the men in their lives as husbands and fathers. One of the jewelry makers was forced to run away from home as a young girl to escape the abuse of her step-father, only to be abandoned later in life by her husband who blamed her for their child with special needs. She has had to work in the garbage dumps to survive, but is now a jewelry maker and soon-to-be-successful entrepreneur because of the bonds of these women together.
I’m not writing an anti-men rant here. As a husband and a father, my heart hurts not just for these women and their children, but for those men too, because of how empty life is when we seek the desires of the flesh over the fruits of the Spirit.
God knows how much I hurt when I choose to be right in conflicts with others instead of listening to that still, small voice encouraging me to understand, not to be understood. When I do respond in love instead of self-righteousness, I’m in awe of the grace that flourishes in my life and relationships as a result.
Scripture is filled with people like me—people who stumbled in their callings. Abraham tried to become the father of many nations on his own terms. Sarah laughed at the idea that she would become a mother in her old age. Moses told God five or six times that he was not qualified, and Gideon argued that he was from the weakest family in the smallest of the tribes of Israel, just to name a few. Even after walking with Jesus, Peter denied Him three times before being called upon to lead His church.
I AM writing to encourage you to spend extra time this Holy Week reflecting on how you are responding to God’s call in your life.
One of the most beautiful callings in the Bible occurred when Jesus saw Andrew and Peter fishing on the shore. Their response was swift and complete. They dropped their nets—the source of their income—and the first followers of Jesus took a step that would transform the world (Matthew 4:18-20).
The Lord never stops calling us to be more like Him. If you need a little inspiration for reflecting on your response, give The Chosen a try. Our daughter introduced it to my wife and me on Monday night, and the first five episodes have inspired me to live a lot more like Andrew and a little bit less like Thomas. I pray they do the same for you.
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