An old friend “waved” at me from FB messenger last week. I didn’t even know the app could do that. I “waved” back, surprised that this particular friend was messenging. She was a friend from my past. We had gone to Basic Training and AIT together. We had competed with and against each other during our Army Medic Combat training, forging a friendship based literally on blood, sweat, and tears and the good old Red, White, and Blue.
Truth be told, I marvel at how different I really am. My friend knew someone who, in many ways, no longer exists.
Jesus wants me to see that women, his women whom he adores, are not comfortable in their own skin. We aren't fully living. We may see other women as amazing but not ourselves. We think other women are beautiful but not ourselves. We are highly competent in our skills, abilities, and gifting, but not confident in ourselves. We have these amazing bodies. Yup, I get that you can't easily embrace that truth about yourself, but we have bodies that are amazing even when we aren't confident or comfortable in them or with ourselves.
How do you measure success? It’s an interesting question. One that’s been posed to me as the leader of The Marcella Project. I find measuring someone’s changed thinking hard to do. Deconstructing and reconstructing someone’s belief system is not a straight line nor is it a quick easy to see process. This week our board will meet to work through how we measure success. Even if I can’t give a clear answer to that yet, Jesus has been gracious to show me that it’s happening.
Instead, perhaps halfway through the first session, the Holy Spirit whispered, “You are safe. She is safe. My Word is safe with her.” Jackie pulsed with energy and vivacity but spoke calmly and kindly, and she loved scripture. As I was disarmed, I became aware that I wanted this so badly.
We didn’t record the Sunday morning message at the Summit. Many of you have asked for it so we’re blogging it instead. Not the same as hearing but for those of you who heard it you can imagine the wind blowing, noise at the table, smell of the grass and the cadence of my voice as these words were heralded. Mostly, upon reading this, I hope you are reminded of what the Spirit said to you that weekend. May you be ennobled, equipped and emboldened to respond. There’s no time for shrinking back; we need every one of us fully deployed. Fully deployed.
Campus Crusade, now called Cru, invited me to speak on intimacy with the Holy Spirit and to teach a break out session on sexuality to female students. In my initial conversations with the leadership, I realized I might be too edgy for their organization. They asked that I not bring my new book Lime Green or discuss the “women’s issue.” As I engaged in those conversations I prayed as to whether I should let them breathe easier by recusing myself, but the Spirit said, “Go and speak freedom.”
I’ve been behind the curtain and I know what kind of conversations ensue around the role of women in church leadership. Whether you realize it or not, your pastors, elders, and deacons discuss and debate of what you can or can’t do under their leadership. Many of those men have been trained in seminaries where restrictions are taught as biblical truth. At some point in their ministry life, they question whether what they learned previously was really true.