In a small town in Texas, I was really blessed to be born into and raised in my family. We were good church-goers with a stellar attendance on Sunday mornings, Sundays nights, and Wednesday nights. I was saved at a young age and have never doubted God or my faith. But – and there is always a but – I spent a lot of years in my 20’s and early 30’s distant from the Church. My life had not gone according to plan at all, and I walked around with a very guarded heart.
Fast forward a few years, I went back to graduate school to figure out what to do with my life in Phase 2, and I ended up at Dallas Baptist University in their counseling program and surrounded by some amazing people of God and brilliant professors. In my classes, and especially in coffee talks with my friends, I found myself unable to answer the most basic questions about why I believed what I did. Because I believe it, because the Bible says so, because it’s what I was taught were the only answers I had. Period. While the culmination of 18 years of being in a church at least 3 times a week helped me to be positive in my beliefs, I had nothing to contribute to rich conversations with anyone who might not have been raised the same way.
I found my way to a local church – because my funniest, rock-n-roll loving professor went there. It was safe and joyful, and I loved it. Then they started talking about Bible Study – which was also never for me. I didn’t fit the mold. I wasn’t light pink; I wasn’t light-hearted, churchy, and happy. I didn’t have little kids, and I worked – a lot. I never felt like fit into what I had seen of women in church. But then I saw this really smart, sarcastic, tough woman named Jackie talk about it – and I thought maybe there are other women like me in Bible study after all. In a very short few years, I learned more about the heart of Jesus and the role of the church than I had in all of my previous years, and I wanted more. And it wasn’t easy – it wasn’t listening to a lecture and being told what to think. It was being shown how to learn, and how to think, and how to make determinations for myself. It wasn’t until I found this key to learning that I began to live as if Jesus knew me, trusting it and knowing it, day after day.
Then she preached. Which was apparently a pretty big no-no. It never had occurred to me that was a thing – that women not teaching or preaching was a thing. By this point, I had grown in my career while working with really interesting and capable leaders across the world – and I loved this rich new interaction that could happen when everyone contributes to the conversation, when everyone brings their gifts to the table. One of the things that became clear to me was that we are all here for a purpose, and while we may or may not ever figure it out – you can be sure that the purpose for each of us is to bring others to know Jesus. So when I looked around and learned that right here in the United States of America – the most powerful country in the world – we were missing half of our talent pool, I was shocked.
The Marcella Project is an opportunity to be a part of changing this. I still work. A lot. And I travel. A lot. And I am not called to preach or teach. I am called to do what I do for this large global organization I work for. And I can choose to be involved with The Marcella Project. I can choose to continue to learn and to support learning for other women, in this country and others. By being a part of this group, I get a front row seat to this change. Given the size of the problems our world faces and the number of problems we encounter – we need everyone. Every man and woman, every culture and race – working together, rowing in the same direction. If we have that – we can do anything.