Job’s Daughters International is an organization for young women who are related to, or sponsored for membership by, a Master Mason. It offers a fantastic opportunity for girls to learn leadership skills and life lessons that will bolster their confidence and success for the rest of their lives. I was lucky enough to be a member of Job’s Daughters when I was a girl and I am so grateful for the experience. I have been wanting to write something about the organization for a very long time but I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be. Finally, I just decided to start writing. I hope there are lessons here for former, current and future members, as well as for those who have never heard of Job’s Daughters. Thank you for reading!
“On the edge of an Arabian desert . . .” So begins the story of Job, as told by the members of Job’s Daughters International. When I hear these words I never fail to imagine some desolate and windswept place; the edge of the desert might as well be the edge of the world. And at the edge of this desert, just on the other side, is a place capable of sustaining life: a man, his wife, their seven sons and three daughters, their servants, their flocks of sheep and beasts of burden, fields and gardens, orchards, perhaps even vineyards. The place at the edge of the desert is hospitable, even beautiful. But the fact that it is on the edge of a desert, a place incapable of sustaining all but the most specialized life forms, gives it a precarious and tenuous feel. It hints at the trials and tribulations to come.
Though we wait upon God’s mercies, though we rely on his protection and redeeming love, we live in an imperfect world where fortunes can change in an instant, where all that we have, all that we have worked for and worried over, can disappear. Life on the edge of a desert, or life on the edge, they are really the same thing. God never promised that life would be easy. He never asserted that pain and suffering would not be part of our earthly journey. Deep unhappiness, disappointment, accidents, injuries, poverty, strife, loss, death, are all inextricable and even necessary parts of the human experience. Learning and accepting these hard truths is, in my opinion, the greatest lesson the Book of Job teaches us. God watches over us and is with us through every trial. He feels our pain and counts every tear. He loves us unconditionally and sends comfort and hope to us in a thousand different ways, both seen and unseen.
That doesn’t make these experiences less painful, it simply gives them meaning.
I am so blessed to have been a member of the wonderful organization that is Job’s Daughters, as my mother was before me, as my sister was alongside me, as I hope my own daughters will be someday. It makes me sad when I hear other women say they will not encourage their daughters to engage in any particular activity, whether it is Job’s Daughters, sports, cheerleading, a spelling bee or math competition, chorus tryouts, band, even summer camp or babysitting, because of bad experiences they had when they were girls. I don’t believe everything is ever all bad, or all good, either. Life isn’t like that. Even moments of deepest happiness can be overshadowed by memories of grief or loss or pain. Even in our darkest hours we can find instances of hope and light. I would never judge another person’s decision or try to quantify the weight or measure of the pain they have felt. But I do know that bad experiences can happen anywhere. At school. On the job. Within one’s own family. At the grocery store. Trying to hide from what we fear might happen, trying to protect ourselves and others from what we worry could happen diminish our lives and our purpose.
I like to think that Job’s Daughters is where we can learn the truest lessons of life: that people can be mean, that not everyone will like you, that some decisions are impossible to make, that sometimes, nothing you can do is right, that this journey is fraught with difficulty. Many, many people learn these lessons in a very hard school and it makes them bitter, cynical, and afraid to reach out to people and for experiences that can ultimately heal and enrich them. It is better, I believe, to learn these lessons sooner rather than later, and to do so surrounded by a network of sisters, adults, and most of all, parents—family, who can guide and advise. To navigate pain and heartache and disappointment with a safety net, as it were.
Job’s Daughters is a wonderful organization. It is not perfect. A Daughter gets out of it what she puts in. Often she gets more than she expects, in ways both good and bad. When something is imperfect, it can feel like the only choice is to walk away. But the best choice is to walk on—to let your way out be your way through. To hold your head high, struggle through the desolate places, and come out on the other side of that desert, into the beautiful garden of God’s perfect love. Just as Job was led to a life “rich in blessings” after his trials and through his unwavering faith in God, so, too, will we be enriched and strengthened, both by what new and joyous experiences we welcome, and by the trials and tribulations we survive, with hope and with His grace.