Educator/ezer-warrior Linda Cliatt-Wayman rocked the gathering of 7000+ professional women at the 2013 Pennsylvania Conference for Women when she spoke about her God-given mission as principal of North Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion High School.
This is another biblical-like story of a person seeing a desperate need for leadership in battle, looking around for someone qualified to answer that call, and suddenly realizing God is calling her—with her five smooth stones and sling or her small lunch of bread and fish.
Cliatt-Wayman is another incredible example of the faith, strength, and determination God intends for his daughters to possess in answering his call no matter where he stations us. Every time this particular ezer goes to work, she walks knowingly into danger. But she wouldn’t be anywhere else if she had the choice. And her heart is on the line every day as she battles for and loves her students. You can see it as she speaks.
What an extraordinary way to live!
Those of us who heard her that day, will not soon forget the stirring passion of her words and her commitment to breathe hope into their lives. Talk about an ezer-warrior!
She also puts front and center the questions I raised in my post, “7000 Strong and Counting!” Only she puts a real face and a real story on those questions.
Will the church roll out the welcome mat when a woman like Principal Cliatt-Wayman crosses the threshold or will she become invisible insofar as her professional life is concerned? Does the church perceive her as a threat or as an asset? Do we segregate her secular occupation from what it means to “serve God”? Or are the contributions she’s making in a North Philadelphia high school—breaking up fights, urging kids to attend school and do their homework, weeping when there isn’t money to reserve a place in college, telling them she loves them—is that strategic kingdom work? How do we all lose if we don’t engage her to learn from her experience and to champion her efforts?
And here’s one more: How does it impact her efforts on Monday if she heads back to Strawberry Mansion with (or without) the solid backing and vested interest of her brothers and sisters in Christ?