Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

 Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

bdmcakeReunions. Celebrations. Birthday Parties. I’m all for any excuse to gather with old and new friends. To look back remembering, and to look forward dreaming.

This weekend some women here in New England did just that.

Twenty-five years ago a movement was begun to intentionally gather women and provide theological training, leadership development, fellowship and fun, and vision casting for how we could speak God’s Word and shine God’s Light into our own particular brand of darkness and rocky soil in these six northeastern states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.


Linda Moore is the director of “by design ministry”

And then we literally made history.

Beginning with those first 150 women who gathered under the umbrella of Vision New England and lead by Bev Weinhold, now more than 7000 have sought training and taken up the torch to seek excellence and spread it around! Today Linda Moore is at the helm through “by design ministry” and she was the Host of the 25th birthday celebration this past Saturday. She was also the worship leader. And more. Lots more.

I was just privileged to be invited to the party.

When I arrived in New England 23 years ago and stumbled into a meeting of kindred spirit sisters in Boston, I was literally revived and renewed to take up the challenge in my speaking, writing and conference coordinating. But never alone. For many years there were 12 of us “Heartspring” gals who committed to pray and gather annually for the sole reason of supporting and challenging each other as leaders… and people. When half of them moved out of the area, God provided others for each of us to lean on.


These are My People! Maggie Rowe, Gail MacDonald, Cynthia Fantasia, Lucinda Secrest McDowell

One of the highlights for me this weekend was worshiping shoulder to shoulder with one of my own spiritual mentors (ever since seminary days back in the ‘70s) Gail MacDonald. Gail, an author of classics such as High Call – High Privilege, Keep Climbing and Comforting One Another, is an grace-filled encourager. I have so many lengthy letters from her and was also eternally grateful that she wrote the foreword to my first book Amazed by Grace and still endorsed my 11th book this year Live These Words.


New England Leaders Jane Rattray and Rhonda Corey “growing into their crowns”…smile

A few of Gail’s wonderful truths were highlighted this weekend by dear friend Dr. Cynthia Fantasia: “What He asks us to do, He will equip us to do.” “Put the crown a little above their heads so they will grow into it.” “Lord, let me never enter a life, except to build.” Gail is still building, especially into the lives of young seminary wives.

For many years my best friend Maggie Rowe served as Vision New England’s director of women’s ministry and so it was only fitting that she should powerfully charge us not once but twice on Saturday. After beautifully exegeting the word “calling” Maggie reminded us that we are all made in the image of God and thus our greatest and eternal calling is to be “Image Bearers”  — reiterating that “What God forms, He fills and gives a purpose.”

Our purpose on Saturday was to celebrate the faithfulness of God.


So much fabulousness at this one table – Barbara, Nancy, Martha, Vicki, Rhonda, Bonnie, Nancy…

And it was no mistake that we found ourselves also celebrating the life of a man who had encouraged us so much, the former Vision New England president, David Midwood, who had entered heaven only that day. He and another former VNE president Steve Macchia, were great supporters of women in New England.


20 years ago….

In my own few words to the group I basically shared that I hope to continue bearing God’s image as long as He gives me breath, using the psalmist’s own words:

“God’s Word entered my life, became part of my very being. 9-10 I’ve preached you to the whole congregation, I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that. I didn’t keep the news of your ways a secret, didn’t keep it to myself. I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough. I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth For myself alone. I told it all, let the congregation know the whole story.11-12 Now God, don’t hold out on me, don’t hold back your passion. Your love and truth are all that keeps me together.” Psalm 40.8-11 MSG


with new friend Stephanie from Rhode Island

Saturday I did lots of hugging. And listening. To some pretty hard stories of the path God is taking friends through at this time. But also to some pretty amazing stories of how far we have come – by grace — including meeting some brand new followers of Christ who are off and running….for the future.

Maggie closed our time by offering 5 ways to “Live a Legacy of Compassion and Courage”

  1. Let God lift you up.
  2. Recognize that you are called to serve, not to please.
  3. Tell your “worry cop” to get off the beat!
  4. Make the hard choice – it’s often the right choice.
  5. Remember that the choices you make today will determine the legacy you leave tomorrow. (www.MaggieRowe.com)

Fabulous Worship Team

Do we leave a legacy because we have been “well behaved women” our whole lives? Or is it because we have been “God’s women” our whole lives?

While the saying may go “Well behaved women seldon make history” today I heartily confirm that “God’s Women – who are committed, courageous and compassionate – ALWAYS make history!”

New England has had a very long history of powerful women who have said and done and written hard things that forced a whole world upside down. And in the process of living their lives fully, they did indeed make history.

And I am one of them.

What about you? Are you ready to do hard things? To bear the image of God in the place He has called you? Go for it, friend, and one day may you look back with JOY on all God has done…

under the mercy, Cindy


Bank envelope for my “Encouraging Words” Book Table!

©2014 Lucinda Secrest McDowell  EncouragingWords.net

 NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!



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6 Responses to Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

  1. maggierowe says:

    Cindy, I am honored that you quoted from my “Outliving Your Life” talks this past Saturday. Those of us in the third trimester of life need to share what we’ve learned with the younger women rising up in leadership who are just behind us on the trail. It was a heavenly reunion to be with you all – and I am SO GRATEFUL for you sharing your beautiful book table with me as well. That was a blessing to our family. The entire day was. New England is my heartland.

  2. Maggie! I was blown away by your teaching, dear friend, and took lots of notes. I only included a few here in my blog because I’m hoping you will write a whole blog on the subject (or perhaps a series of blogs on the ‘third trimester’…) Loved hugging your neck and sharing your fabulous DVD dramas from my table. Let’s face it, we are kindred spirit sisters and just breathing the same air for a day was a tonic to my own soul….Thank you.

  3. Christine V. Trautman says:

    Really encouraging words, Cindy!
    Celebrating with you for all the ways you and the other women have been “God’s women !

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. jeannedoyon says:

    Thanks for the everlasting glimpse of this day, Cindy. We are indeed making our mark on our families and in our world – one day at a time.

  5. This is one of my favorite quotes, and one of my favorite pieces of women’s history in New England. Back in the day when women’s achievements were only recorded in their obituaries, only the infamous were noted. I am so excited to see how that has changed, and so proud to call a few of these wonderful women among my friends.

  6. Thanks for your great comments Chris, Jeanne and Doretta — you are all women who ‘make history’ in your own lives and I am grateful and proud to know you! And many thanks for reading my “Encouraging Words” blog and taking time to comment… Have a grand Columbus Day!

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