Making a New Way: Equally Called and Responsible for God

SOMETIMES I FEEL AS IF I've lived a long, long time as far as women's history goes. I was born to missionary parents in China at a time when unwanted girl babies in that country were often thrown away; my parents' Chinese friends sent them condolence cards, for to them my birth was considered a death. Now I'm an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

As a child I went to boarding schools, then set off alone at 16 to come to the United States to go to college. I majored in nursing, as I was very anxious to spend my life in the mission field. Looking back, I realize that if it had been possible, I would have prepared as a minister then, but it was not an option for women in the 1950s at Wheaton College.

I married right after graduation, My husband was a second-year medical student, and I taught nursing at Kansas University, When the children came, I stopped teaching to stay home and care for them. Everybody did that then and I wanted to also, but I had no model for being an American housewife living in the suburbs and often rebelled against it. My greatest longing during those years was for community. So I worked hard to establish community.

The security of my relationship with my husband has been the still point of my life. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the gift of my husband, especially in these later years as I have left behind the traditional role for women by going to seminary and entering the pastorate. We are learning mutual submission, equally called and equally accountable.

Men are supposed to have the mid-life crises, but I was the one who had one as the children grew up and started going to college. What was I going to do the rest of my life?

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