When I asked my Facebook friends to ask me questions to address in a blog post, I had no idea that only one person would respond. (Feel free to check out Jamee’s blog.) Also, once I saw her question, I knew that I would need lots of courage to respond. From time to time, I have been vulnerable on my blog. Yet on my blog, for the most part, I have stayed away from the controversial topic of being a woman in ministry.
The first part of her question is as follows: What is the biggest challenge of being a woman in ministry?
Honestly, a big challenge has been my journey to ordination and the responses of those toward women in ministry. Thankfully, thus far, I have served in churches where the majority of people are open and accepting of women preaching and offering pastoral care. However, many churches still prefer, and even insist on, male pastoral leadership.
My heart breaks when I recognize that some pulpits may never, at least not in my lifetime, have a woman stand behind it and proclaim truth. God has called me, and yet some do not accept my calling or the calling of other women in ministry.
The biggest challenge though is not the people around me. The biggest challenge is myself. Originally, I second guessed myself, was God calling me, a woman, to be a pastor? Was God ok with me being ordained? Would a church even hire me? I am the first person to criticize myself when I do something wrong. I worry that my mistakes cast a bad light on women in ministry, and I feel unworthy of showing myself grace. I always strive to prove myself as “good enough” to be a woman in ministry.
God and I are quite the journey together. He guides me, and I strive to be obedient. God shares his love with me so that I can share that same love with others, especially children and their families. God’s Spirit comforts me on days where I feel criticized for following God’s call into ministry, especially as a woman. God is there for me when I feel like a failure, and I am thankful.
I am not even sure that God and I would have as deep of a relationship if I had decided to be a teacher, a journalist for a missions organization, or even gone straight to the mission field. For one can only be fulfilled by following God’s call on one’s life. I would be dissatisfied if I was doing anything else.
Whatever God is calling you to do and be, and whoever you are, FOLLOW! And please let me know if I can encourage you in any way as you take your journey.