On My Way to Finding God’s Calling

On My Way to Finding God’s Calling


Last week was the launch of a beautiful book written by a gutsy, brave, intelligent woman whom God has gifted with more than just a poetic style. She has a heart that follows hard after her Saviour and a life that is devoted to speaking love and life into the church, Christ’s bride. She speaks into the need to bring healing to every place in the world that needs the hands and feet of Jesus. With a captivating title and a bright yellow cover, the inside holds the heart of a Saviour whose story has no gender.
Growing up watching my mom teach Sunday School, organize church dinners, oversee Vacation Bible School and serve on pulpit committees, I was still aware that this was all part of complimenting my dad in his roles as deacon or Sunday School superintendent. At the same time she raised four boys and a girl, kept up with the house and in our teen years was a leader for Bible Study Fellowship. As a woman she “had her place’.
To be clear, this was comfortable for my mom. She was able to serve in her full capacity in these positions, love my dad deeply and have an intimate relationship with her Saviour. She had no desire to preach or work outside the home. She was literally and figuratively a 50s housewife.
She was content there.
Even as a young girl I began to believe that my goal in life was to find a man to fall in love with. One who I would compliment, we would fit together like two pieces of a puzzle and ride off into the sunset together. As a teen, having a boyfriend was the validation I searched for over and over. When you believe that something or someone will make your life have meaning it becomes so very hard to do anything else. When everything weighs on who you are to someone else, that is where you focus. That is the path you pursue.
During my first year at a Baptist college there was an understanding that men were there for a bachelor’s (there is a certain irony in that) and the women were pursuing their “MRS” degree.
I wanted to serve in the church so my plan was to study Christian Education. That was squelched when I was told they didn’t allow women into that major. However, I could major in Religion with a minor in Education. After all, women could become teachers (which includes teaching young men, just not older men). I still wasn’t given hope to have a future as a Christian Education director because they don’t hire women to do that. (A year later they changed the rules. A friend of mine graduated with a Christian Ed degree.)
In the years that followed, instead of pursuing career goals, I pursued the one thing in life that I had been taught would make me whole. Even if it meant a relationship with an abusive person, it was better to be in a bad relationship than none. After all, that was what I was created for, right?
Eventually I found my way back to a purer faith. Through many trials I learned that the only relationship I was truly called to was the one I was created for and that was with my Creator. Everything else would become extra. A husband and children would be blessings, not goals to achieve.
My daily desire should be to find my wholeness in Him, not in another human. Our relationships with each other should be to speak His life to each person, remembering that He created them as well. When we get caught up in the details of marital status or gender we short change the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who need us.
This morning I woke up thinking of several women who I know live their lives in pursuit of Jesus. Some are divorced, a few never married, some widowed and others married. Their value isn’t in their status. One is not less because of where she has been. They are all deeply loved because God created them for a relationship with Him yet the attitudes of so many in the church would diminish those women. Jesus doesn’t diminish, He heals the hearts of His people even as they fight for a place to serve. Even as they are dismissed because of their gender. If we follow Jesus’ example we will find ourselves sharing water at the well instead of whispering behind someone’s back. We will allow women to be like Mary who sat at the feet of her Rabbi in a culture where women stayed in the kitchen. Women “with an issue” won’t have to be embarrassed to seek His healing but will be ushered into His presence with hope.
To me it is no accident that we now serve at a church that espouses these same beliefs. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. He tells us that the second is like it and that is to love our neighbor as ourselves. He doesn’t detract from it by differentiating or dividing us up in class or status. In fact when He elaborates on what a neighbor is, He uses a parable that tells how religious folks passed by a wounded man and it was one who was considered an enemy who stopped to help.
As church leaders we are called to equip the saints. That would be allsaints, not just married saints, parental saints, old saints or male saints. All means all. In that, no one is more worthy to serve than any other. There are souls waiting to be touched, to be fed, to be clothed, to have their thirst quenched or to be healed.
I see a movement coming and stirring side by side with those who seek the heart of Jesus to release us to love deeper. The walls are crumbling that were built out of fear and ignorance. They did not keep us safe. Instead, they held us back from discovering our God given purpose.
When they come down, my hope is that we will be able to see Christ, standing here in our midst. Let us draw near to Him as we love one another. As we make a way for our brothers and sisters to reach into this world without impediment. In humility, let us see one another as more important than ourselves.
Philippians 2:1 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”.
In August I reviewed the book, “Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women. It was released last week and I couldn’t be happier for Sarah Bessey but even more I am anxious for every one to take the time to read her words. To know better how the Bible speaks of God’s love for me has released my heart from the walls created decades ago. I am beginning to understand that my giftings aren’t left in the kitchen sink to soak off last night’s dinner but are woven through the dailies as well as the extraordinary moments. Christa Pitcairn, a local pastor preached the sermon, “Singled Out in A Couple’s World”. (I wrote about it here.) In it she asked, “When you know you are called to a platform ministry but no one has provided that place, are you willing to preach from the street corner?”
This is me, stepping onto my street corner, bring released and drenched in the Saviour’s love. As I lean in and love my Creator and I learn to love others without man made boundaries, I am finding a joy unspeakable. As I experience what it means to live in His grace, as I allow it to pour through me to others, I am finding my freedom.
To be sure, Mom wanted me to be a loving wife and mother. Even deeper than that her desire was for me to find peace in the arms of our Saviour. Shouldn’t that be our hope for all of His creation?
Always,

Hope

PS: This wasn’t meant as another review or an advertisement for “Jesus Feminist” but what is written there was a catalyst and balm for this part of my journey.
You can purchase it here 
http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Feminist-Invitation-Revisit-Bibles/dp/1476717257/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384383523&sr=8-1&keywords=jesus+feminist

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