Laurel Blanton was one of the first women that talked to me after I took the position as Women’s Minister at Willowbrook. I had never met her and she got in my face and told me that the words I wrote in our Women’s Ministry newsletter were obviously directed towards her and why didn’t I just include her name? I remember my eyes growing large as I tried to discern if she was mad or giving me a compliment! I’ve fallen in love with Laurel more every day since then. She’s real, in love with Jesus and pretty stinking funny. I’m so excited for you to read Laurel’s guest post today as she shares her experiences with being a girl and how that fits into women’s ministry.
Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what girls are made of. Right? But, what if laced between all of that spice and nice stuff is an abundance of frogs, snails, and puppy dog tails. It would seem that finding a place among other women may be challenging or even impossible. Does it mean that when it comes to kingdom business within women’s ministry that it is none of your business, and you are off the hook? Absolutely not! We, as women, are automatically ordained into the women’s ministry the day we accept Christ as our Savior. It’s not just our choice; its our responsibility. We are an influence on the women around us whether we realize or not. We need to step up and embrace the position that God has given to us.
I understand how intimidating this may seem for those of us who are “girly” challenged. I always felt a struggle when it came to fitting in among the girls. I am just no good at being overly feminine and cutesy. Even when I sit down, it’s much more natural for me to sit like a cowboy off of a long cattle drive than a dainty female with her ankles crossed. My version of getting ready to go out is trading yoga or pajama pants for a pair of jeans, grabbing flip-flops, and putting on a ball cap (especially if I have greasy hair or just don’t want to brush it). Let it be known that I did not get this from my mother. I know I must have driven her crazy as a teenager. I probably still do!
I came to realize that my biggest obstacle to “fitting in” with the girls wasn’t my tomboyish ways, but my distorted idea of how a girl or woman was supposed to act, dress, and think like. I concluded that to really fit in was to wear layers of pink and purple, get my nails done every other day, gossip about everyone I could think of, shop until store owners begged me to leave, never be caught without makeup, keep up with the latest fashions, and only drink diet coke. That, my friends, was my stumbling block. I carried those messed up ideals with me right on into adulthood and was in danger of becoming a stumbling block to others.
I didn’t really think it would be much different among the women actively involved in ministry, except they obviously had their lives together and had not lived the life of sin like I had. I was certain that I had no place, no place among women and no place in women’s ministry. I was certainly wrong. We miss out on so much when we bind women’s ministry up into a box of our own ideas and the media’s version of what women are like.
The enemy made every effort to keep me from experiencing freedom in Christ and from running the race with purpose and enthusiasm. He whispered phrases such as, “you’re not good enough.” “They won’t like you.” “You have nothing to offer.” “You’re not pretty enough.” “Your sin is too great.” “You’ll never fit in.” And, as comparable repeating vows in my wedding, I would repeat to myself, “I’m not good enough.” “They won’t like me.” “I have nothing to offer.” “I’m not pretty enough.” “My sin is too great.” “I’ll never fit in.” Between the two of us, I was convinced.
I believed the enemy. I believed him because he was right, and his accusations were true….. sort of. All of the statements were true, but they were all incomplete. It wasn’t until I more clearly understood my place with Jesus, that I better understood my place in ministry alongside of my sisters. Jesus, my friend, my Savior, my Redeemer gave me wisdom and grace in my insecurities. He finished what the enemy had started. All of the accusations became clear, untwisted, and complete when they ended in ‘without Jesus’. My proclamations became, ‘ I’m not good enough without Jesus. They won’t like me without Jesus. I have nothing to offer without Jesus. I’m not pretty enough without Jesus. My sin is too great without Jesus. I’ll never fit in without Jesus’. Without Him, I am nothing. With Him I am forgiven, cherished and designed for His glory.
To my surprise, I found out that although all women are so very different, we in the women’s ministry are also exactly the same. Our core isn’t about our hobbies, clothes, or our social circles. We all work together for the purpose of welcoming other women into the family of God, for loving on others whether they deserve it or not, for teaching the younger ladies and encouraging them in their walk, and for one day passing the baton to the generations behind us to do the same thing.
Girls, we all fit in together as sisters. Loved daughters of the Most High King.
Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. Colossians 3:11 Msg