As I entered the preteen ministry space that Sunday morning, I discovered a gaggle of girls in the sound booth with their leader. They were full of life and laughter pretending to be DJs and as I rounded the corner they flocked around all speaking at once.
“Aren’t you the lady that was speaking the other week?” a bright brown-eyed girl asked. As I began to answer, another girl spoke up, “You talked about grace.” I nodded.
Every now and then, there’s a moment- a moment when it’s like something has unlocked and become profound and you feel a quiet knowing.
The brown-eyed girl, hand on her hip, said, “Yeah, last week I told my parents they needed some grace.” “Oh really?” I inquired smiling. We shared a few words about the rings given out that morning and then they were off, as young girls will do.
I was happy the girls remembered the message from two weeks earlier– that in itself was pretty great – but that wasn’t the moment that hit me.
I grew up in the church, attended Christians schools all the way up, even taught in the Christian school system. Although they were great places of learning and encouragement, it never entered my mind that I would someday be standing with young ladies talking about a sermon I had given. Being a woman in the pulpit just wasn’t in my realm of thinking when God called me into ministry, I hadn’t ever had that modeled for me, it never occurred to me that I should.
Throughout my years of teaching in youth ministry, I found that I really loved leading and teaching students – but the main service still felt daunting. I was teaching men and my upbringing had instilled in me ‘my place’ without ever really saying outright – this is a man’s role . But I knew that whenever I gave a message, whether to students or adults, there was a feeling of rightness – of being where God wanted me to be.
I know that gender does not determine call or gifting and it doesn’t determine mine. It has taken me years to acknowledge my anointing, years of stretching into what God has called and gifted me to do as I pushed passed the ceiling placed there by others. As a woman, I know what I am called and anointed to do yet it had been hard for me to fully embrace it. I am blessed to serve in a church community that affirms my gifts.
That Sunday morning with 4-5th grade girls I felt a quiet knowing. It was that sense of knowing I had finally become confident in what God has gifted me to do. I’m not sure when it happened, but in that moment I knew it was there. Have you ever felt that? I pray you have. It’s a moment when God gives you a sense that you are doing what he has created you to do and it matters.
For these girls, my speaking in Big Church is a normal part of their world. They are a part of a church that acknowledges the call of women to preach and has a bench of women that fill the pulpit. It hasn’t occurred to them that they can’t be whatever God calls them to because they are girls. They are excited to be at church, are being raised to know Jesus, and may someday be called to serve him in a pastor role. I get to be a part of that – an example of an area that God may call them to one day. What a gift it was that morning to feel God smile – may we continue to empower young women and men to follow God’s call on their lives wherever it takes them.
Curious about the message the girls remembered? You can watch it here: The Gospel within the Gospel