NASHVILLE (BP) – Women gathered Tuesday (June 15) for the 2021 Women & Work forum to receive encouragement as they seek the Lord’s calling and work confidently in a world of discouragement.
Courtney Moore, founder and president of W&W, and Missie Branch, assistant dean of students to women and the director of graduate life at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary – led the discussion at the 2021 W&W Forum. They are also co-hosts of the Women & Work podcast.
Moore said she created Women & Work to inspire women as they step into their God-given calling and find purpose in careers outside of the home. The organization hosts several events throughout the year including this week’s forum, the Women & Work podcast, the Work Done Well blog, and the Women & Work Book Club.
At the forum, Moore and Branch interviewed Jamie Ivey, author, speaker, and host of the Happy Hour Podcast and The Jamie Ivey Talk Show. The three women discussed Ivey’s life and her balance of motherhood, her growing career and the world around her.
With coffee, cookies and welcome gifts in hand, women seated themselves for a jovial and empowering discussion among Moore, Branch and Ivey. The forum began simply with Moore’s question, “How is Jamie?” The rest of the night followed this same heart of vulnerability, and the group launched first into a discussion on how women can understand God’s calling on their lives.
“If you are a follower of Jesus, we all have the same highest calling to make Him known and bring Him glory,” Ivey said.
She continued that while women should still look for God’s specific calling on their lives, they cannot forget that He already blessed each of His children with a calling to go into the world and make disciples for His glory.
In order for women to discern their calling, Ivey said she encourages them to go out into their community and serve. Through this they can figure out their talents, their desires and the areas where they feel the Lord’s purpose.
In fact, Ivey did not come across her current career until she was 34 years old. Through a contest, she became a host on a country music radio station and loved it. As her family began to struggle, however, Ivey made the difficult decision to set aside her job and return to caring for her family full-time.
“When I stand before the Lord, He won’t ask me what I love doing. He’s going to ask me about the choices I’ve made because life is about choices,” Branch said.
Two years later God called Ivey back into the show-hosting world, and she started her own podcast known as The Happy Hour.
Now juggling books, podcasts, talk shows and speaking at events, Ivey finds balance by living fully in whatever moment she is in. Whether at work or at home, she focuses on that specific space. She also seizes opportunities to remove unnecessary burdens from her plate by creating a yes list and a no list and sticking to them even when difficult.
The women moved on to discuss perseverance in the face of hardship and remaining faithful to the Lord in the path of their calling.
“When you feel purposeless even though you’re in your purpose, how can women keep moving forward in that?” Moore asked Ivey.
Ivey advised the women to look at their current season and ask themselves how it can further the kingdom and bring glory to God. A larger challenge in that, she said, is resisting the temptation to become discontent with one’s own life or jealous of someone else’s.
“It’s real hard to love where God put you when you’re more concerned with where God put her,” Ivey said.
She encouraged the women to remind themselves that they do measure up and that they are enough. Rather than allow themselves to get caught up in comparisons with the woman who is their competitor in career or in life, Ivey stressed the importance of becoming cheerleaders for other women, especially those working in the same field.
Ivey discussed how cheering for and praying for someone can beat discontentment and allow women to link arms and run the race together. She said for women to be faithful in their calling they must both celebrate one another and keep one another accountable in their successes, attitudes and pursuits of the Lord.
“You have been gifted,” she said. “You’ve been given a voice. You’ve been given a voice to make a difference where you are, where he’s planted you, with the people that are in front of you, with the people that are around you. So, I just want to encourage you to keep going.”