I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a woman in ministry.
I've been thinking about what this...thing...is. I grew up always wanting to be in the ministry. But in my formative years I never saw a woman in a full-time ministry position. Plenty of pastor's wives. Lots of Sunday School teachers who were ladies. But not a single woman in vocational ministry. In fact, I don't believe I met one before I was in my 30's. I did have a couple of female college professors in Bible college, but I never saw them in a church setting. It would seem I didn't have a lot of women to use as an example of what a woman in ministry should be doing. What it looks like.
Have you always wanted to be a woman in ministry? Or are you one of the many who never, ever, ever wanted to be in ministry?
As I pondered this, I realized this simple truth: the women who ministered to my own wanting soul, who taught me about spiritual disciplines, about loving the unlovable, weren't "women in ministry" at all. They were faithful "lay people," good neighbors, and generous friends. Women who took care of me while my parents worked. Who brought our family food in times of need. Who took me out for coffee and allowed me to vent in frustration. Those gentle spirits who whispered God's affirming words to me. Who understood that, through friendship, Grace abounds. These women didn't work in churches. They worked as doctors, and business owners. They were homemakers, and accountants; personal trainers and paralegals. One was an army wife-probably the closest to understanding the often-lonely life of a woman in ministry. These women taught me that Pastor/Preacher...or not, I am a woman who is called to minister.
Pastor's wife or woman in ministry...or not - you are a woman called to minister. Sunday school teacher or not, dear wife/daughter/sister/friend - you are called to minister.
Our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends are counting on us to use our God-given gifts to bring His hope to them. Our families and friends are depending on us to use our uniquely feminine voices to speak words of life into them. Words of wisdom that comes from above to their brokenness. The God who created us, in all our girly glory, has released us to feed the hungry, care for the sick, love the unlovely, and guide the lost.
He has invited each and every one of us into ministry. Even you...the gal who never, ever, ever, in a million years, wanted to be a "woman in ministry." :)
Chew on that and let me know what you think...