International Women's Day
A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend and she turned to me and said that she really liked reading my blog and then she told me I was a pastor – that reading my blog she saw this pastor side of me coming out. I smiled - beamed is probably more like it actually, and I sort of wanted to cry. It was a quick passing comment but it really meant a lot to me.
When I was younger I wanted to be a pastor. In fact in junior high when I was bored and had nothing to do I would write sermons. Then I was told that women shouldn’t be pastors. I struggled with it, but everyone I knew believed that women shouldn’t be in leadership in the church and I didn’t even really realize that there were good God fearing Christians out there that didn’t agree. I accepted it as an unquestionable truth – women shouldn’t lead. I didn’t like it, something in my heart fought against it, but I believed it. I still sort of do believe it – it’s hard to change beliefs like that.
I think all of that is sort of why I like blogging so much – it’s an acceptable way for me as a women to express my thoughts, to preach and teach and encourage and share and be me. I don’t often feel comfortable being me – I get scared a lot, I struggle with insecurities a lot. But when I blog I feel safe to express myself, to question things, to be creative, to preach. I have often felt like I didn’t know what my place is, what my role should be in life, in my marriage, in the church. I often feel like I don’t know who I am – or at least like who I am deep down doesn’t really fit with things people think I am or think I should be. I have often wished I was someone else; there have even been times in my life when I wished I wasn’t a woman.
Today is International Women’s Day… I spent pretty much all day with women today. I hosted a wedding shower for a good friend of mine – I never liked showers much, they always felt really uncomfortable for me. Today’s shower went well and I was really glad to be able to do it and in many ways I enjoyed it but it was still not really any different – it still felt sort of uncomfortable. After the shower I had an opportunity to go out with a few girl friends and just talk and laugh and swap stories of our lives and our marriages. It was so nice to hear the stories of these other women – it reminded me that I’m not alone. It was a pretty good way to spend a day that is supposed to be dedicated to honoring women.
Tonight I find a lot of questions bouncing around in my head. What does it really mean to be a woman? What does a woman of God REALLY look like – not just what does the church “say” a woman of God should look like… but really what should we look like as female followers of Christ? How can I freely express myself and be myself as a women of God in the community I find myself in? It’s easy for me to be authentic online when blogging, but how can I be freed up to be an authentic, powerful, graceful, beautiful, insightful women in every area of my life, the chosen and the not chosen?
Rejoicing in the journey – Beth Stedman
Photograph by Beth Stedman