OH YES, IT’S LADIES NIGHT!

a Godley woman

I was called to ministry in jr high. That’s how I usually start my testimony.  Actually I kinda wanted to be a nun but I was informed that I was in the wrong religion for that so then my grand plan was to become a nun and work my way up the ranks to get near the Pope so I could sit him down and give him a stern talking to about faith based salvation. I had no lack of ego in jr high evidently. But the idea of living a life solely focused on the Father and His will appealed to me at an early age. I had no idea what awaited me being a “woman in ministry.” When I began looking at Bible colleges in high school, I started hearing whisperings about women’s roles in the church but back then in the late nineties, I don’t think it was a big an issue as it is now. I do remember attending a  traditional Church of Christ where the roles of men and women were pretty black and white. I can vividly remember a time they called an elder meeting to discuss this woman who said “amen” out loud in the worship service during the preaching because 1 Corinthians 14:34 says women are not permitted to speak in church. I won’t lie, that scared me a bit. As I neared the end of my degree and started looking at seminaries, that’s when I started to hear things like, in order to attend there you have to sign a paper saying you will never be a senior pastor or you would have to take certain classes at that seminary because you are a woman or you could get your masters but you would never be allowed to teach Bible classes there because women can’t teach men. Being told I can’t do something because I am a woman didn’t stop in the academic world. As a southern Baptist, I still hear it a lot. And I have no call or desire to be a senior pastor. It’s not like the things I am not allowed to do are a great tragedy or in any way take away from what I am called to do. It’s just that I fell into this trap of focusing on the word “can’t.” There was this stubbornness inside me that said, yes I can! I am smart enough. I took the same classes those smelly guys took. My degree is in ministry and leadership, not casserole making and subservience, by golly! And I’m going to be transparent here, focusing on the negativity really got me down in a three year old throwing a not fair temper tantrum kinda way. Thankfully I am surrounded by amazingly forgiving men and women who weather my storms of crazy and still talk to me after God knocks some sense back in to me. I assume they all have very bad memories. christian womanYou see, I actually, for a very very brief time, starting bemoaning the fact that I was born a woman which is CRAZY because lets face it, being a woman rocks! Like I honestly feeling like I should go up to every woman I know and apologize for ever thinking I was less than or not enough because of my gender. I love being a woman. I love other women. I have developed some of the closest, most amazing and fulfilling relationships with other women who I know care for me and speak truth to me when I need it. Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing husband who thankfully possesses supernatural patience with me and always supports me and loves me but I love being able to be silly or crazy with other women. I love accessories and make up and crafting. I love to nurture and take care of my children and other people. I carried children inside of me for goodness sakes!!!! I thank God for making me a woman!

proverbs

So the question is, what do I do with this newfound revelation? I have decided that for 2015, I want to focus on women, how we were made for a purpose, how we were given special talents and gifts to further the kingdom of God in a unique way. I want to stop focusing on what I can’t do or what I am permitted to do and I want to celebrate all the amazing things I am uniquely qualified to do. I love teaching other women how to study the Bible. I love discussing ways to pray (yes, there are many!) I love bringing women together for the sole dear Godpurpose of glorifying the Father. I love supporting women, praying for women, living life with women. I want us to learn about women in the Bible and great women of God throughout history who pursued His will. I want us to learn to be better mothers and wives and friends together. I want to develop a community that provides support and accountability. I want to do what ever God’s will is in my life because ultimately, I am called to obedience. Not my will but yours, Father! Amen

Obedience Training ~ it’s not just for puppies and pirates

obedience

At the beginning of 2014, my boss challenged us to have a word from God that we focused on. My word last year was ‘strength’. Being made Interim Children’s Minister in a fairly large church, I knew I would only survive, let alone accomplish anything, if I relied fully on the strength of God. It was an absolutely incredible time and I loved it but I had to wake up every single morning and devote myself to quiet time and prayer because I knew His tasks for me were far larger than I could handle on my own. I was fully dependent on His strength and it was wonderful. My word for 2015 is obedience. I want to be obedient in all He sets before me, the large things and the small. In 2014 I experienced my highest of highs and my lowest of lows but through it all, God was the same. He was constant in the midst of my sometimes crazy life. But it really hit me toward the end of the year that as logical as I find my beliefs and as strong as my faith is, what God wants from me is obedience, because maybe sometimes He is going to do some things that I don’t understand at the time. I am called to be obedient, not to have a clear picture and outline of His 10 year plan for me. Sometimes I will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit setting a task before me that I really don’t want to do. I am called to be obedient.

chesterton

One of my favorite Bible verses of all time is James 1:22. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” This speaks to my practical side, the girl that likes to have a plan. I like to have a plan a, a plan b, and a plan c for any given situation. I don’t want to sit around and talk about a problem all day. If you have a problem and you aren’t willing to do something about it then you are just a whiner. God has called me to do some things that I haven’t wanted to do or that maybe don’t make sense to me and there may have even been some weeping and gnashing of teeth. But the Bible has a lot to say about simply being obedient.

The verse I studied today was Romans 1:5, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations.” Yes, it starts in the middle of a sentence but you can guess the ‘whom.’ It’s Jesus. We (or in this case, Paul and his peeps) receive grace through Jesus. Grace is unmerited divine favor. It arises in the mind of God and is bestowed on His people, according to the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (my fave Bible dictionary). Apostleship was a fun word to study. The word ‘apostle’ comes from the Greek word for ‘to send’ so an apostle is one who is sent forth. The messenger is not important. The one who initiated the message is the focus. So God’s favor or blessings and His mission for us is to bring about in other people (nations) obedience of faith. Obedience is the act or instance of submitting to the restraint or command of an authority. Faith as a legal term is about trust. As a philosophical term, it is about the understanding of the rightness of an opinion. Why are we obedient in our faith? It is for the sake of His name among all the nations. Obedience is expected from people who submit to the Lordship of Christ. Lord, by the way, comes from the Germanic word hlafweard, which translates to bread-keeper. But that is another study for another day.

bread

So what is my plan? Aside from starting the year with a Daniel Fast to seek God’s will for my life and draw closer to Him, I will continue with my morning quiet time routine. I will continue listening to only Christian music and guarding the things I watch, see, and read so that my mind is always primed and ready for an appropriate response to the challenges that come my way. I will continue to rely on and be grateful for the people God has put in my life to speak truth when Satan seeks to interfere. And I will go back to focusing on what I love to do which is love other people with the love of Christ.