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. You 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!
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 purpose 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