Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hi! My name is "Just A Woman"

Today I had enough.

When I was a little girl, God called me into ministry, but as a little girl, I was also told women should not minister except in certain settings (in the children's or women's departments). I grew up living this lie that God was limited by gender and that the call that was pressing on my heart was a lie. I settled for just marrying a pastor. Don't get me wrong, I have always known that God was wanting me to marry a pastor, but I had done my best to convince myself that "pastor's wife" was the ministry God was calling me to. I served along-side my husband in whatever capacity the church he was serving at needed me, but there was always something pulling me to move further. I kept repeating the excuse to my husband that women were not called into ministry and he kept pursing his lips trying not to tell me I was wrong but at the same time refusing to say I was right. He did not believe God was limited by gender but he would not tell me I was wrong just yet. He wanted God to work on me and he let me struggle with God's call until God wore me down.

It was November of 2016. Our church district has this thing called Assessment Weekend. Candidates for District Minister's Licenses have to undergo a detailed evaluation of your marriage, personal life, finances, spiritual walk, scriptural understanding, etc... If the candidate is married, their spouse needs to be a part of it as well. The weekend was mentally draining but it was one of the most amazing weekends ever. Why? Because I finally accepted my call. I was talking to my husband the first night we were there. I told him that I felt like God was calling me to be a pastor. His response? "About time you acknowledge it!" The next day, after several exercises of mock church situations, I was approached by the pastor who was overseeing the assessment. She (yes, it's a woman) asked me if I felt called into ministry. I laughed and told her that I, in fact, did feel called but that I was trying to figure out what that meant because I was still fighting the mental battle of "women are not called". She paused and just waited for me to realize that I was talking to a woman. I laughed and told her that I had never denied her call, but in my mind, God could not be calling me... but obviously I was wrong. Later that day, and male pastor also asked me if I felt called, and I confirmed it but that I was going to need to pray about what that meant. They told me to go to my senior pastor and tell him I felt called and to ask about getting my local license.

Several months later, and more thinking about where God was calling me, Jason went before the district board for his district license. The fact was, they had pretty much already made their decision about Jason's licensing and spent a majority of the interview talking to me. They asked if I had talked to my senior pastor, and I told them I had but that I was waiting to get my local license until the fall so I could get started on schooling. They encouraged me to go ahead and get the license before the fall in hopes that I could get the necessary time in before next year's district licensing meetings.

I received my local license in May after going before our church board and expressing my call. Through prayer, I had realized that my call is to help kindle a desire for God's word. Throughout my experiences serving in the church, one thing that always bothered me was when someone who grew up in the church had no concept of what the Bible actually said. Pastor's kids did not know the basic Bible stories. Adults who taught Sunday School did not even understand basic biblical principles... I decided to pursue a degree majoring in Christian Education with a minor in Pastoral Ministry.

Now, since accepting my call, I know there have been people who have viewed my pursuing a ministry degree as unbiblical due to their interpretations of the Bible, but today was the first time anyone had the nerve to actually voice it since I accepted my call. But they didn't say it to me, no instead they said it to another female pastor. Telling her that women only become pastors because they do not like to be told they can't. I'm sorry, there are easier ways to prove that a man can't tell me what to do than to become a pastor. A pastor's job is no easy task.

But the fact is, I am not called by man. I am called by God. If you have a problem with me being a pastor, take it up with the one who called me. Otherwise, shhh!

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