This Sunday is Women’s Appreciation Sunday at my church. I am pretty excited about it because I get to speak for 5 minutes on my call to ministry. I figured I would share my write up of what I am going to say. It probably won’t come out this way exactly, and it might be too much information since I only have 5 minutes, but I am going to write my outline from this write up. Anyway, it is also fitting that I put it up here because it will also explain the title of my blog. Enjoy!
A year ago today, I was still in the Navy. If you had asked me then if I would be where I am in life now, I probably would have laughed at you. But here I am standing before you a little nervous for sure, but excited to share a little bit of my story with you.
Brought up in an Agnostic home, I had a general idea that God was some sort of Supreme Being. I remember this world seeming very complicated to me…all the details of it…the social interactions between people…the messiness of it all. I moved into adolescence wanting to know who I was and there didn’t seem to be anyone around who knew enough about who they were to help me out.
I accepted Christ on a camping retreat that I said I wanted to go on because they were going canoeing. Translation: The Holy Spirit was drawing me to God. It was December 20th, at 12:20am that I made the decision to follow Christ. I was 14 years old. I went to bed assured of my right standing with God. When I woke up, I went to the camp counselor and said: “I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead” placing myself in the verse he had given me to read the night before. It was a powerful moment.
Despite numerous shortcomings on my part, I remained strong in my faith throughout my college years. I graduated in May 2003 with a degree in English and was commissioned an officer in the Navy the same day. This day was the best day of my life second only to the day I accepted Christ.
My time in the Navy can be summed up in two words: exciting and trying. Two of the greatest things that resulted from this time were the fact that I was able to see a much clearer picture of who I was, and more importantly, who I wasn’t. Thus I also gained a bit more clarity as to my purpose in this life. I submitted my letter of resignation to the Secretary of the Navy declaring (from the rooftops if you will) that I was getting out of the Navy to go into full time ministry to “preach the gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ who died that we might live eternally.” Yes, that’s actually what the letter said. I wonder how many people read it…
Most recently I realized that much of the discontentedness and anxiety I felt was linked to the restrictions that had been placed on me at the very beginning of my life in Christ: the role of women in the church is restricted to children’s church, women’s ministry, and hospitality. A born leader, I was told my gifts were not welcome in the church. Before I walked through the doors of this sanctuary, I had never heard a woman preach. For over a decade, I attempted to cram myself in a box defined by other people’s ideas of what it looked like to be a woman after God’s own heart. After much studying, wrestling with God, and quite a few encouraging words from many of you, I decided to let God define that for me.
By stepping into the freedom that comes with finding ourselves in Christ, I have been empowered to step out in faith and pursue a Master’s of Divinity and explore the path leading to ordination. It is a very exciting and overwhelming time for sure and I am so thankful for those of you who have spoken into my life and lifted me up in prayer.
So where does the pink hammer fit in? Good question! As I was writing an assignment for one of my classes, I remembered how my dad used to let me nail scraps of wood together with this very pink hammer. I hadn’t thought about that little hammer for years! It was odd to me as this thought seemed to come out of the middle of no where. And then it dawned on me: I am the pink hammer (Coo coo ca choo). Being a woman and being used by God to powerfully speak the truth into people’s lives are not mutually exclusive. They are elaborately intertwined within me because that’s how God made me. Though many might say that hammers shouldn’t be pink, some are created that way. So it is with women and preaching. Some say women shouldn’t be preachers, but there are gifted by God to do just that.
In light of my journey, I feel I should end with a word for the women in the room: while there will be many people in your life to help you as try to figure out who you are, only God is qualified to define that for you. The challenge is to let him. And to that I say, “He who calls you is faithful, He will do it.” (1 thes. 5.24)