My mom and I are two very different people. I am dramatic, she is composed. I am an over reactor, she is logical. I let things get to me, she lets things roll off her well earned thick skin. My mom has the spiritual gift of discipline and has a no tolerance policy, but I have watched her turn on the charm in a millisecond. As a pastor's wife, you have to learn how to compartmentalize the stress from home and not let it affect the way you minister at church. My mom was a pastor's kid and then a pastor's wife, so she has perfected the art of composure. For a long time, I believed that was the only way a pastor's wife could be and I knew that could never be me. I have never been able to hide what I'm thinking or feeling. Emotions, meet sleeve. You will be very close friends.
Because of my generalized thinking about women in ministry, I have often felt like the odd one out. Like I didn't fit. Like maybe God might have missed some crucial element when he made me and called me into ministry. I don't have that smile-and-be-pretty gene. When someone asks me how I'm doing on a Sunday morning, I tell them the truth before I can stop myself and I am more than aware that it's not endearing or refreshing honesty. As a teenager, I thought I was doing the world a favor by being brutally honest, but as an adult I know that there is a huge difference between transparency and t.m.i. I just haven't found the balance yet.
I thought I had found my ministry "niche" in the online Christian community. For a while, I felt like I was finally fitting in with other Christian women. But then I didn't. Women have many, many layers and it's very difficult for me to relate to those who only show the pretty ones. Or who will occasionally share the not so pretty ones but negate them with "but I'm so blessed". Sometimes life is just hard and Scripture is difficult and it's ok to admit that. You can wrestle with inconsistencies and difficult situations without losing your Salvation. I have often felt looked down on and unaccepted because of my openness with these things.
All that to say ...
I have refrained from posting my thoughts on politics, social justice, theology, and other hot button issues because it's not popular to be an honest, conservative leaning Christian. Any hint of conservative thinking and you are immediately Matt Walsh and that is such an unnecessary generalization. Right now, in the online Christian world, it's popular to be pretty and post pretty things and never share any thought or Scripture that might hurt or offend someone. If you do, God help you, because the comment section is an ugly, terrifying place. In the past few days, I have seen Christian women tearing each other apart on social media for agreeing or disagreeing with Jen Hatmaker's remarks on homosexuality. I've seen the phrases "Right Wing Conservative Idiots" and "a bunch of assholes" thrown out by women who love the same Jesus I do. It saddens me and it scares me.
Is there room for me?
Is there room for a woman with minor influence who loves Jesus deeply, struggles with Scripture, and is willing, but extremely hesitant to make definitive statements against long held doctrinal beliefs? Is there room for an evangelical like me, unashamed to be charismatic and sometimes conservative, but loves people and wants everyone to know Jesus? Is there room for someone like me to voice my opinion, even though it goes against the popular current?
Is there room for a women's ministry that digs deep into Scripture and studies it exegetically, without the fluff and frill? Is that even a thing that people want? (I have to ask, or I'll never know, so please tell me!)
Is there room for me?
Maybe we can stop painting people with broad strokes. Maybe we can listen to what each other has to say with understanding instead of accusations and generalizations. Maybe we can come together as women with many layers, differing opinions and theological backgrounds and reach the lost for Jesus. Because isn't that what we have all been commanded to do? To spread the Good News of Christ?
These are the things that are stirring in my heart. I realize that they're kind of scattered. I am frustrated and nervous and insecure, but I have to believe that there's room out there for me, and for you! I know I'm not the only one that is frustrated with the pretty, #soblessed version of Christianity that is so popular right now. If that's you, please let me know. I want to do something. I don't know what, but maybe you can help me figure it out.
Is there room for us, interwebs?
If not, then we'll just have to make some room.
*I will probably sit on this for a bit, but if you're interested to see what comes next, please sign up below and I'll keep you in the loop.*