When I was 25-years-old I was brought before an executive committee of a major Christian organization that I belonged to at the time because of my views on women in ministry. I believed that women should preach and shared this with the founder’s wife. She promptly took me in the meeting of leaders.
I was intimidated, scared and fearful because I heard the names and mighty exploits of these men of God. I had no idea that my view was controversial. I shared how I was asked to run for office by a group of businessmen when I was in college. I turned the group down because I thought I was too young to be in public office at 21-years-old.
“If I could speak into public affairs and into politics, why can’t I speak into the affairs of the church?” I asked feeling like I was going to throw up. “Why can’t I preach?” Several of the leaders said that they thought women should “share” and not preach. There was no resolution and I felt humiliated and ashamed.
The lady who brought me into the meeting has been a friend and distant mentor all of these years. I’m not going to say her name because that’s not the point of this post. I think she was trying to show that other women felt the same way she did and that she was standing with me despite my controversial view.
That movement dismantled years later and yet I carried the shame of that moment for many years. I knew God had called me to preach. I preached in a church two years later after that meeting and a move of God broke out. People ran to the altar for prayer. But the next day I was reprimanded and told I shouldn’t have preached.
What does a young woman with the fire of God burning in her do in a movement that makes her feel guilty for having that passion for the Word of God? I poured it into my writing and into whatever God put into my hand at the moment. I was frustrated, ashamed but wanted to fulfill His purpose for my life.
Many years later I was asked to come before another executive committee of a church organization to share my story. I can’t say who was in that room but suffice it to say they represented millions of Christians. I shared the story of my conversion and where God brought me to after all these years.
Instead of the condescension, I received respect and honor. The leader of that meeting said the committee was impressed with what I had to say. When I walked out of that room, God whispered, “Vindicated.”
The shame lifted off of me and I felt a freedom to finally be who God has called me to be. For the first time in my life I’m not ashamed of the passion burning in me for the Word of God. I’m not ashamed of the passion I have for His cause.
And I have pledged to myself that I would never ever squelch that fire and passion in a young man or woman who wants to give their life to the cause of Christ. I will never tell a young woman that she can’t preach because she is a woman. I will never tell a young man that he can’t pour his life into serving God because he’s too young and needs more wisdom.
Instead, I will be wings for the dreams of a young man or young woman who wants to be used by God. I will be encouragement. I will be life and I will be the shoulders they can stand on.
Of course it took over 20 years for that moment to take place.Too many young men and young women who were like me didn’t fight through their battle to gain that one moment of freedom in God. If you have been squelched or the water has been thrown on you, take heart and stay in the fight!
If you’re in a movement or a church that doesn’t believe women can preach, then leave! Don’t die on the vine. Jesus did that for you. Fortunately, I’ve been in a church, World Revival Church of Kansas City, for over 14 years that’s led by Pastor Steve Gray who encourages women to preach. He and his wife, Kathy Gray, have mentored me and prayed against fear and intimidation that gripped me for many years. Join a church or connect with a leader that will stand with you and fight for you to become the women God has called you to be.
You are never too old and it is never too late in God. His timing is far different from ours and He can make up 20 years lost in one day. Keep believing, keep speaking the word and keep fighting and your moment of vindication will come!