Romans 8:37 AMP
Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
Lately there has been a rise in old negative circumstances that have been swirling around me. I’m not exactly sure why this is happening again, but I do know that God is in the middle of it. How do I know this about something so negative? Because hindsight is 20/20. Looking back I can see Him in the set up of good over evil.
As Christians we must first learn and lean on the fact that God has a plan laid out for our lives. That plan is not our plan, but His. We are given the choice to follow His plan or not. In my situation, there are currently three parts to His plan for me, which stand out as blatantly as anything I have ever understood about my life journey.
Part one: Five months ago a friend sent me a random email about a conference in North Carolina that I would have never considered attending in the past. This time I felt a need to go. After gaining permission from my husband, another friend and I signed up and traveled to be a part of it. Somehow I knew that God was going to tell me something that He needed me to know. There were several things I learned, but my main take away was that He wants me to minister to and pastor women. I am a woman and therefore I fit the bill.
One of the things I was reminded of at the conference is the pivotal role that women can have in teaching younger women. Many times it can be in a context that is not always good for male pastors to be in, such as counseling in the pastor’s office. I have watched my husband squirm for years when he has been alone in his office with a woman who NEEDS to meet with him because he is her pastor. Thankfully, he is one of those pastors who will not shut the door. Many times, this is why Pastors’ wives do female counseling appointments with no compensation for their time. Other times she may sit in on a meeting when she has children to raise and a job of her own. Many have never received the training the husband receives as a pastor because her denomination refuses to give her the title of pastor. Really?
Part two: This devotion and the Sunday morning videos go online every week and are posted to our church Facebook page. There is a guarantee of at least one person with a negative comment about my role as a pastor. I have learned to keep an eye out for it to ensure it is not too ugly for our page, but I never remove it. People can have their opinions after all. One particular week a pastor posted and slammed one of our pastors and then came after me. Enough is enough. Pastors are held to a higher standard. After one exchange with him on Facebook and a well-suited email for him, his comments ended. Once again my husband gave his approval before I sent an email response.
Part three: Then something happened a little closer to home. A close friend decided to speak up about doubting my ability to have the title Pastor in front of my name. Shocked and wounded, I took a step back and I got a visual in my mind. Holding my credentials next to my husband’s reveals that the only difference in the two is gender. There are never complaints about what I teach, only that my gender negates my gifting in the eyes of some.
For most of my life I have questioned God about why He expects me to do things man says I can’t do. The fear, turmoil, and anxiety of stepping out in faith paralyzes me most of the time. Then I have to laugh inside when I hear people say that I am obviously a strong person or that I can take more harassment than my husband who is so much more tender than I am. Due to the sexual abuse in my past, I am well versed in applying a protective shell that helps people like me get through things that seem too hard to handle. In spite of my anxiety, God has never given me the answer to why He sends me where He does. He only says go and I obey.
I was also reminded at this conference that when things get truly hard and we don’t understand what is happening around us, God is still there. We are more than conquerors and we really do gain victory THROUGH Christ. This victory is not through our own actions, but through His.
I have known for years that women are whom I am to minister to. However, I have also responded to expectations from people concerning my job. I realize this particular HomeGrown Devotion is raw and real, more than most or perhaps all the past devotions. The purpose of it remains the same. God calls us to do what He says to do and the devil will send people to discourage us to the depth of our souls. This can happen through old negative circumstances I referred to at the beginning.
Ladies, keep your eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward no matter what people say. When you shut down, look up. You are more than a conqueror and victor through Christ Jesus.
Click here to read our position statement on females in ministry as stated by the Assemblies of God – http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/PP_The_Role_of_Women_in_Ministry.pdf