I have read many articles about women in ministry that grew up in churches that taught against this and the struggles they faced. As a student trying to find where The Lord is leading my life, I too find myself amidst this unique journey.
I became a follower of Christ when I was fourteen. Since then, I have been actively working to cultivate a relationship of true depth & intimacy with The Lord. During my high school years, I had my fair share of struggles and mishaps, but I was also blessed with many instances of seeing God’s signs for the direction my life is currently shaping. The more I dug deeper into myself: the strengths & weaknesses, the failures & triumphs, the passions & annoyances, the more I felt called into a life of ministry. At this time in my life I had never personally met a woman pastor before, but I didn’t know the reasoning behind it. I knew that everyone was called to serve God in different ways based on their own unique talents, so having never met a woman pastor, I simply attributed it to the fact that none of the women in my church must have felt called to that.
I had never been told women could not be pastors until my senior year of high school. Busy sending out college applications, I prayed I would not only get into the schools I wanted, but also that God would show me the way in picking a major. During this time a conversation occurred that was very “cookie cutter” for that season of life. I was asked about future plans & what I intended to study, I had replied “Youth Ministry, I hope I can be a youth pastor one day.” That’s when the words hit my heart for the first time: “You can’t do that, you’re a woman.” After a few more words were exchanged, I left that conversation completely confused and lost. I want you all to understand something, I was not naive to the fact that people would tell me I could not accomplish this, but never in a million years had it crossed my mind that their reasoning would be my gender. I had not even embarked on the journey yet, but I was being told I was already disqualified because of my anatomy that was handcrafted by The Creator of All.
If I really wanted to, now is where I would go into a long rant about why I believe that women can indeed serve in the church leadership and what not. I would speak of Old Testament prophets and heroines, of the women who faithfully followed Jesus and those He extended such wondrous grace towards. I would dig deeper in context and culture, but honestly I’m tired. I am so tired. I do not have the energy to battle anymore, especially because at the end of it all I feel immense judgment towards my life & calling. I have come to the realization that people who believe this may never change their minds and they will never change mine. It hurts my heart that when people ask the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I shy away from answering Youth Pastor. Instead I just kind of shrug & mumble, “I don’t know, I just want to love Jesus & work with youth in some way.” Why am I selling myself short? Because I like to save myself the awkwardness that silently occurs when someone does not like my answer. Am I saying I am going to go along quietly the rest of my life? No way, I will advocate for this until the day I meet Jesus face to face. However, it’s hard to live a life worthy of the call, like we’re told in Ephesians 4, when others are telling you you’re not. I do not understand why we spend so much time telling each other “no,” instead of pressing on to finish the race, to expand The Kingdom.
And here I’m at a loss for words. I guess what I am trying to get at here is this: I have a calling from Christ & I am going to follow it.
Over the last year the verse that has really stuck on my heart has been Luke 14:25-27 “Many people were traveling with Jesus. He said to them, “If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life! Whoever will not carry the cross that is given to them when they follow me cannot be my follower.” Not only has this verse challenged me, but it has also given me peace. I do not follow Christ for the satisfaction of others, nor myself, I do it for the satisfaction of Him.
There are people who don’t even know me that do not support my calling and that’s okay. I know there are people whom love me dearly that do not support my calling and that’s okay too. I also know there are people who do not know me and people whom love me dearly that do support me. Whatever side you may be on, I ask for your prayers as God leads me. I also ask that you have grace and patience for me, because this season is not as easy as it looks. Every day I am growing & changing, becoming the woman God wants me to be, but one thing remains & that’s my desire to serve Him.