Tag Archives: pastor’s wife

Worth

I have long been in dedicated pursuit of supporting the absolute and inherent value of all people, and therefore against any belief, system, person or group that might rob, shame or harm anyone in their pursuit of life. Unfortunately, it is the people I dearly love and call my own who have caused some most ravaging damage and have ultimately stunted the potential of women to seek to live out their call to serve God.

I have spent most of my adult years in ministry, one of those was in an official pastoral role at a church, the rest in outreach ministries where I was treated with love as valuable human being. In that one year I gained more insight than I ever hope to see in a lifetime into the misinterpretation of scripture that fosters prejudice, discrimination, shaming, outright abuse and subtle most aggravating mistreatment of women. Really it happened in one specific moment, in a gathering of equals from among the greater community in my same position, all men incidentally, with whom I so naively thought might treat me as one-and-the-same in pursuit of our common goal of ministering to others. I was not so inconspicuously “put in my place,” made to feel small, shamed, as if I had somehow sinned against the God I so dearly loved in wanting so purely to communicate His love for others. It was a moment you may have missed if you were sitting at that table with me and my cohorts, a nearly slight of hand trick that left me confused in the moment, stunned a bit at the nonsense of it all and not until the appropriate response time had passed did I feel the blow to my gut, my soul. I wanted to cry and scream and yell and throw a big fit and say “you are wrong and you are bad for doing what you did” but that would have been too emotional of me, so instead I did was I was told to do. I was speechless, quiet.  This is called a double-bind, an impossible scenario where any course of action will make the situation worse.  It was once believed that a double bind is what caused schizophrenia, it is so crazy-making.  I was left feeling small and ashamed against my own better judgment, am I somehow bad for wanting to serve God in the ways He has given me to serve?

I hope to God my daughters never, ever have to wonder the same. Because you see, if we are somehow bad in God’s eyes for doing His most fundamental work, how can we ever seek to live fully into any other call that is placed upon our hearts that might have any impact in this world where men also live? Is our highest call truly to be subservient rather than wholehearted servants of God?

It still brings a lump to my throat and makes me want to scream to remember that day. And the moment was so small, nothing, so little compared to what so many other women have faced and have been stunted by, not to mention so many others in the world who still face a myriad of injustices. But it hurt, and it scarred me, and it changed me. You may as well cut off my legs if you are to tell me I cannot serve my God in a ministry role. I will be rendered nearly as handicapped if not more. And yet, I still walk with a subtle limp that would take a caring and insightful eye to see, fearful of condemnation, scared to cause conflict, because you see I do not want my life to be about conflict, but reconciliation.  My single greatest calling in this season of life is to encourage relational wholeness that might reflect and allow people to know the love of the One who created them. I dare not admit to be the “f” word, as I do not want to be a ranting anything. I prefer to describe myself as egalitarian, as it is all people I care to value. Nor do I want to open myself up to be shamefully put in my place by the people I call my family. It is hard to stay forever quiet though and try so hard to let my actions only speak to what I believe, and there are current issues I may speak to when I have enough courage, maybe, but for now I just want to share what others have said, who inspired me to write this, and to say thank you to the people at Fuller Seminary who with full reverence and intelligent exegesis of scripture, have long taught all people to wholeheartedly live out what God has created them to do, from pulpit, or pew.

Even more though, I am grateful and amazed that our creative God could so beautifully interweave the truth of his love for all people within words written long before it was anywhere near socially acceptable to be speaking of women as teachers, ministers, prophets, apostles, equals, let alone leaders in any form or fashion. That to me is what is so astounding. If any scripture could be seen in glowing awe of the truth it reveals, it is those that so clearly go against culture and yet remain as if God himself inspired those words and not man.

And I believe He did.

Here are two short articles of inspiration, a sample of what I learned at Fuller after that awful day that gave me hope and conviction for the many times since I have seen or experienced this unfortunate injustice.

Scot McKnight Speaks on Women in Ministry

Women in Ministry: Consistency and Balance

My senior year at Whitworth University I had the honor of traveling across the United States for a month studying prejudice and discrimination, with fellow students and Dr. James Waller .  One of the lessons that most stands out to me is more poetically said by the singer-songwriter Jewel who wrote the lyric “Where there’s a man who has no voice, there I shall go singing.” This resonates with my soul as I know it those who are not directly impacted by injustice can often have a more powerful voice on behalf of those who are. I believe it is my purpose to speak on behalf of those who aren’t heard where I might impact positive change. Those too, are other blog posts to be written. For now, I want to say thank you to these men who give voice on behalf of women who’s voices are not always heard, especially to the late Dr. David M. Scholer, (you can read about him by clicking on his name) my professor of “Women the Church and The Bible” at Fuller Theological Seminary. He did a good work with his life.


Introduction

It seems I should begin with an introduction…

I am a mom, wife, woman, friend, minister, therapist, intellectual, creative follower of God in no particular order other than what is placed before me for a particular moment or day. My life is currently driven by the needs around me; my 3 young children, my business-owner-pastor-student-involved-dad husband, the various volunteer roles I have taken on, bits of work and my desire to live a meaningful life that honors God and who he created me to be.

Jesus sustains me.  When I was a very little girl I was aware of God’s presence in my life and never missed a night of “now I lay me down to sleep.”  It wasn’t until college when I was being trained to do ministry in Young Life that the relational and personal aspects of my faith came to fruition, and I came to life.  After years of ministry, a partial divinity degree and ongoing practice of spiritual disciplines and study, my faith is solid, and yet, I have so many questions.   The deeper I go and the longer I journey, the more I wonder, partly because of facing significant loss, I have more questions than answers, not quite doubts (though sometimes I doubt).  I am continually pondering who God is, His role in our lives and what it means to follow Him.  Most every time I worship I cry.  To sing out words that ring true to depths of my soul is so sacred and so searing. There is never a doubt of His existence. The magnitude of love that surrounds me, is promised me, and so undeserved, absolutely overwhelms me.

I desire to soak up every last sweet taste of this season of life with young kids.  The pace is too fast and I am constantly fighting against our desires to do things that are fun and life giving, and also pair down to what is most essential so that there is space for us to just be.  The love I have for these precious lives I have been given to nurture so fully, for a season is beyond measure. I am ever aware of their new developmental stages and sentimental about each passing phase, wanting to hang on just a little longer. The days go by too fast.

These days are hard sometimes too.  Bad things happen, sad things, hard things, horrible things and my heart aches and rages against those things.  I will share about those things and how I have sought to cope with them.  In addition, as enamored as I am with my little ones, sometimes they frustrate me.  Sometimes they are not the charmers that so often melt my heart, and worse, sometimes I am not the patient mom I wish I was.  Sometimes I long for their bedtime to come quickly, or mine to last longer.  In fact, I always want mine to last longer!

I have way too many interests than time allows!  I adore being a mom to little ones, but I like to do other things too – career and creative.  I am continually wrestling to find the magic formula that will bring fulfillment without craziness.

Relationships, complicated and fascinating, are life-giving and the most profound revelation of God’s existence in my life.  I like to learn about them, encourage healing in them, but above all value and nurture the amazing ones I have been given. There’s a bit of introverted homebody in me too. If ever I were given a shot of time to myself, I could be quite well engrossed in a solitary activity and find it refreshing.  I am on that Introvert/Extrovert line in the good old’ Myers Briggs Personality Assessment and owning that reclusive side of me more and more as I get older.

How to describe oneself fully in a nutshell? I guess that is the point of a blog; to begin to unravel some parts of myself, to wrestle with what is put before me and consider what God might be doing, teaching me or allowing me to experience, where He might feel absent and where He is most unmistakably at work.   If I could put a theme to this, it would be the wisdom I witness and draw from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes; that life can be difficult, horrible, feel meaningless, amazing, heartbreakingly beautiful, and meaningful beyond measure.

I’ve been contemplating doing this for a long time, God told me to begin writing, I believe, and this is a place to begin. In all honesty it scares me to lay parts of my life bare, but then, it scares me more to never get out of my head what is on my heart.  So here goes, I am diving in…it would be a privilege for you to join me.