When I came to know and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I was elated and overwhelmed with a sense of God’s goodness and mercy. I could hardly wait to get to my Bible each day to learn more about God and His ways. I was also extremely excited to share the good news of Christ with others, whether male or female, and did so tirelessly. It was probably six months after my salvation that I invited my daughter’s friends’ moms to my house for Bible study. Among other experiences I had in sharing Christ was witnessing to a homeless man. I happened to see him leaving our barn one morning. Come to find out, He was living there. One morning after my husband and children were off to work and school, I invited him in for eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee. While he ate, I read passages of Scripture to him. For the next two weeks, I continued to fix him breakfast and share the Scriptures until one morning, he received Christ. This kind of thing continued happening to me until I started to go to an organized church.
You see, when I found Christ, I was not in the organized church. I was led to the Lord by a co-worker who, like myself, was a beauty care consultant and sold products from her home. However, she left town soon thereafter without plugging me in somewhere. I continued studying the Bible and doing word studies and such on my own. It was three years later before I went to an organized church, but my passion for Christ and studying the Word had only increased during that time. However, as I got more involved with the church, I discovered they had different lists for how women and men could serve. This was confusing to me in that when I listened to our pastor’s sermons, and when I read the Bible, I understood we were to serve using the gifts God gave us. I didn’t see women presented as lesser spiritual beings than men. Instead, I saw Christ breaking the gender barriers of the culture during His time on earth, and I saw the Apostle Paul empowering and encouraging women as well. Yet, I was told that I could not fulfill the ministry dream that was on fire in my soul. I wanted to be right with God and I thought I must be wrong in what I thought I saw in the Word. After all, I was not as knowledgeable as these men. I tried really hard to convince myself, and I was semi-convinced that women were not supposed to teach, pastor, or lead where men were involved. I accepted the notion that women were more easily deceived than men because Eve was deceived and not Adam and other such teachings. Yet, I still had those memories of my earlier years and passion that had burned in my heart and soul for Christ and teaching others. I still remembered the joy I felt witnessing Christ whether to male or female. Nonetheless, I decided not to put the time and money into getting a formal education as I am doing now, because I could not see the point since women were so marginalized when it came to ministry. Yet, for my whole life, God and the work of the ministry is the only thing I have ever had a burning desire to pursue knowledge for.
As I have watched, studied, prayed about and experienced women who live in an atmosphere of inequality at church and home, and compared them to those who live in an atmosphere of equality and mutuality in church and home, I have discovered a remarkable difference. I have discovered women deal with discrimination due to gender by fear and anger and bitterness. Some women even take on an authoritarian role and sometimes even become oppressors themselves with other women. Others react with depression and give up on meeting injustices directly. Some attempt to build mini empires by leading a small group in such a way that others become dependent on them rather than pointing them to Christ and teaching them to be dependent on Him. Still others resort to the use of manipulation or other indirect means to control and alter situations, perhaps even unconscious of their dependency on this evil technique.
Then, there are those precious Christian women whom I have counseled who suffer abuse – some verbal and some physical – who believe they must always submit to the male headship no matter what; and those who are afraid of what the church will think if they were to say something about the abuse; or those who think there must be something wrong with them instead of him; after all, isn’t the woman less spiritual than the man. These things have always left a little doubt in my mind as to our interpretation of Scripture in this area of male hierarchy over women in the church and home as I have seen women stripped at various levels of human dignity. God’s way should produce good fruit, and leave no room for bad – it should produce life and leave no room for death to result. Yet, there were those couple of Scriptures that had me tripped up. Although they did not fit with the rest of the Scripture, I did not know why, so I did not know what to do with them.
Then God sent my husband and I to the desert where He has provided rivers of living water, pouring so much of Himself into me. It has been here, that He has begun to unravel the truth to me during my personal study time. He is showing me the error in my own belief system and the belief system of my wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. However, there is so much to learn. There is so much evidence needed to build my confidence in sharing this truth with others, that I decided this topic would be the perfect topic to invest my time, energy and finances into for my Writing and Research class. After all, when it comes right down to it, we are talking about the finished work of Christ at the cross. We are talking about the restoration of the male-female relationship back to God’s original design as seen in the creation account found in Genesis. And when we have this correct, we begin to understand the nature of the body of Christ and a woman’s role alongside men in it. So, by the grace of God, I hope to be sharing more with you as my research progresses over the months ahead.
On another note, I just want to remind everyone that tomorrow is our opportunity to cast a vote for our next President. I want to encourage everyone to pray for God’s mercy on our country and pray for the election. And, please vote if you haven’t done so! It is a privilege we should not take lightly. May God bless America!