Honoring a Woman

What would a construction management professor write about in a student newspaper column? I thought about describing our recent trips to Africa or Asia, or how college is a great place to both broaden the mind and train for a career, but then it hit me—feminism.

The idea for this topic came after celebrating my wedding anniversary recently with my wife of thirty-eight years. I marvel at the gift of God's blessing: a spouse that models the love of our Savior. I think true feminism is more about roles than it is about rights, and I’ve been honored to be able to witness a woman that has humbly embraced her role as a fulfilling way to reflect the image of God. She has done this faithfully for decades despite having an imperfect husband that does not always carry out his role.

Each morning my wife sits at her desk soaking in God’s word. She is eager to share these truths with friends and strangers alike. Her tending the works of creation, both animals and plants, inspires countless people. From giving a ninety-two-year old woman a ride on her horse to planting four trees for every one that I cut up for firewood, she works these parts of nature with strong hands.

If you ask her about keeping margin in life, she will respond with sound advice: use all the margin you have to serve others. Her dedication to teach two-year-old Sunday school for twenty-eight straight years wasn’t about jewels in her crown. Rather, her focus was on following the role model of a godly woman who served in our church with that same commitment many years ago.

She has opened our home to single moms, hurting and broken. She mentors countless younger moms that struggle in marriage and parenting, not because she has the perfect answers, but because she has the gift of sharing God's compassion. Even though our four kids are now grown, her ‘nest’ is not empty. She regularly opens her arms to four Hispanic kids whose mom is a new believer.

CM students know Barb Caldwell as the one who brings killer cinnamon rolls to the construction site when she senses their faculty boss is not affirming them enough for their effort. She doesn't do this to impress a bunch of college students with her cooking skill but because she cares about each one of them and knows the impact they will have for the Kingdom in their construction careers. Her concern goes beyond the stomach to the heart and soul as well. She prays for them regularly and leads other women to pray for their kids and students on a regular basis.

There are many women of noble character in Siloam Springs. You will find them in our record number of churches. Plug into one of these while you are here at JBU and develop a relationship with a true feminist. Instead of shopping around for the church with the best worship music, look for one with older women in the pews—they have a lot to share about feminism. I know one special woman that will set a place for you at our lunch table next Sunday.

Jim Caldwell is a Professor in the Construction Management Department. He can be reached at jcaldwel@jbu.edu.

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