Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Day He Preached

The day my senior pastor, whom I've known for over 7 years, asked my husband, then my fiancĂ© to preach I felt my insides fall apart. I had been in the church since the day we decided to form a church in my pastor's tiny living room. I'd traveled with the group through three living rooms, a teen center, and now another congregations spare space. I loved my pastor, his family, and the church. I loved that he was conservative and clear where he stood. I knew that he had no interest in putting a women behind the pulpit. Until that moment I thought I was fine with his stance. 

If you asked was I proud of my beloved's opportunity I'd unequivocally respond yes. He, who had been leading youth for three years, had begun feeling stirrings of braving "big church" as we call it. He was going to be brave and wonderful. And for the record I loved his sermon. I sat in the front row and recorded every minute of it on my ipad. I am so proud of his growth, his courage, and his heart.

Why then did I fall apart inside? Deep down I was mourning the loss of being able to preach in a church that I loved and that I have supported since it's inception. I am gifted in communication and teaching and could do a good job preaching. I have masters of divinity and a background full of teaching youth. I am qualified to do a lot of things in a church, but as a female I am not welcome in the pulpit. 

Did I realize I was being passed over as many young seminarians had an opportunity to wet their feet in that pulpit? yes.
Did I always claim to prefer having a more conservative pastor over a pastor who was more liberal than I? Yes.

But somewhere I changed. This year, I read Jesus Feminist, and began preparing for marriage through more books and prayer. I spent long hours trying to figure out who I was, how I would be a wife and a mother, and how my identity would change when I entered marriage. It terrified me, the loss of singlehood, the realness of becoming the youth pastor's wife. My beloved held me and assured me only labels changed. I would stay who I was. However, maybe that truth made me question again who I was, deep down. 

Then, reality hit close to home.  My beloved was asked to preach at my church. And no, I didn't handle it well. I was angry; I was disappointed. Then I became resigned and despondent. It was like someone had slapped my inner being. I think I went through the cycles of grief. 

Yet I don't want to grieve preaching. I want to live. I want to seek the way of Jesus. I want to share the story of Jesus however God calls me to. Not limited by womanhood. Instead I long to be free to seek his direction even if that leads to the pulpit.