A sister in Christ wrote this out of deep pain. She’d been holding it in for a long time but now it came rushing out. Poetry. Pain. Some of you will understand – others will not.
And I want her cry to be heard.
Church please hear.
That moment when you find yourself crumpled on your bathroom floor. A puddle of tears and confusion. What is wrong with me?
Deep wounds emerge for triage and you realize the truths you’ve been able to push down, to sooth, until now. This desire seems big and hairy and its spitting the pacifiers across the room.
Why don’t you want me Jesus? Why can’t I have a seat at the table? Is it true? Am I not good enough?
Here’s the rub: I have a deep grief that women are not valid in the church.
Valued. Maybe. As long as they stay in their place. Sure there are exceptions of leaders, teachers, preachers. But why not me?
I get it, there really are singers that should have never made it to American Idol auditions on broadcast television. And I’m embarrassed to even admit: I want to try. Maybe I’m delusional. Or prideful.
What if I had been allowed? What if in my preaching class in 1997, what if it wasn’t just condescension? What if they took me seriously?
What if I took myself seriously?
But I didn’t. I said this: “I know, I know, it won’t happen. But thanks for having me guys. You wrote really nice comments on my sermon eval.” And tolerance is not the same as embracing. Being nice isn’t empowering.
It’s like the abuser that abuses subtly. And that time you almost wish he would just go ahead and punch you so you knew it was real. Not just some figment of your imagination.
I keep finding myself with the nagging…is it real? Is it real that my church heritage that I love excludes me?
Is it real that I want this? Am I actually called? You know Lord, it would be so so much easier if you literally would write me a letter of recommendation that I could pull out and show: I hereby declare that this woman has my recommendation to preach my Gospel in church on a Sunday.
I can hear your thoughts, “But the Bible says…” Yeah, I know. I just wonder…do we really know what the Bible says?
You might be thinking, “Go preach the Gospel where you can—it doesn’t have to be at church!” Yep, I do…to my kids, my husband, my friends, neighbors. And I love it. But maybe, maybe I’m allowed to preach to my church family. Maybe I would have gone to seminary and worked my ass off for something I really believed in.
Maybe I just don’t want to feel like an impostor anymore.
Maybe all the other choices for work, that seem like such a good fit, are because I can’t do the other thing. So, yeah, sure I’ll teach high school. Lead devotionals. Read scripture on a Sunday morning. Advocate for the oppressed. It is a good fit.
I even tried the “Marry a good Christian Man” so you then you can pastor-alongside him. For free.
But then your man may not be called to that. Trust me, we’ve had to work through that, too.
I have to and want to help support my family financially. It seems to me that women who preach must rely on family who can support them while they smoke their pipe dream.
I just can’t fight away the question any more…why? Why don’t you want me Jesus?
I start a new job in about 30 minutes. It’s something I like, it will be good work. I keep believing: Nothing is wasted.