I have felt marginalized most of my life. In the Church. For being a woman. It wasn’t until almost three years ago that I was able to break free and begin the healing and detoxing process. To use God’s name and the Bible to take away women's voices and prevent them from using their gifts is nothing less than evil.
What do we crave? Love and acceptance. We want to feel secure and good about ourselves. We want to belong. Because of these deep needs, we begin to sacrifice our wellbeing for them. We begin to say yes to damaging beliefs and theology (many women even do this in the Church), call it “Christianity” and slowly die inside.
While the men rise, lead, and are free to use any gift they want. The women are naturally more “home-makers” thrive, and the ones who are more administrative and leadership minded and gifted feel the shame like something is wrong with them.
I am one of the latter. Even when we finally were able to start a prayer ministry at my past church, it had to be done under my husband’s name and leadership. I was put in a hypothetical corner and spoke when I was allowed. Every time I taught the class, I felt like I was being “bad” or doing something very sinful. It was very horrible.
I found a lot of healing at a small church recently because the Pastor truly cared about me and my girls as a human being. Love and serving others like Jesus is clearly his passion and calling and I could sense his genuineness. However, our views on women in leadership were not the same and I left looking for a new place to worship where women had the same opportunities as men to use their gifts.
A new Church became a place I found the most profound breakthrough and healing yet. On a Friday night worship and prayer service, I felt a deep sadness start to grow. I did not want to feel it. I didn’t know where it was coming from. Two women on the prayer team came over and asked to pray for me. I didn’t tell them anything about me, and the one said that I have a great sadness and its ok to let it out. Then the tears came and didn’t stop for an hour and a half.
The words came of how I feel called to write and speak but there isn’t a place for me anywhere in the church. They continued to pray for me and comfort me. They said that there was a place for me there. This was a safe place for me.
I didn’t believe them.
One of the women got a Pastor and he came over and asked me how I was doing. I told him my 2 minute version of the story. It was him looking me in the eye and saying, “I’m so sorry we did that to you” that I found the validation and feeling seen- like I matter I was able to release so much pain.
He stood in the place of all the spiritual leaders in my life that have been men that never saw me, freed me and encouraged me to use my gifts, honored me as a woman, never let me use my voice and apologized.
I am so glad that there are different colors within the family of God. How much the other Pastor was a part of my healing journey by truly caring. And this Pastor, setting me free and giving my voice wings.
I truly hope and pray I get to see more and more women in Churches using their gifts completely, fully, without red tape and religious traditions to hold them down and silence them.