The short answer to why I joined Marcella 100 is that Jackie is my pastor and my friend!
The long answer, I realize, goes way back to when I decided to join the women’s Bible study at Irving Bible Church at age 30. Having spent the past 10 years or more living with one foot in and one foot out, I decided it was time to get serious about my faith. I had this image in my mind that women’s Bible study was going to be some kind of social, tea party hour. I didn’t really have time for that, but went anyway.
But, this was no tea party…more like mud wrestling. For 11 years, we women wrestled the scriptures. I consider it a privilege to have sat under the teaching there. I like to say, “it’s where I grew up.” God was showing me some things about Himself and about myself. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. I wrestled with Jesus about so many hard things…but I came to know Him as my friend.
I was extremely privileged to have been a part of the research and discussions about the role of women at IBC. Again we wrestled. This opened my eyes to how people will use carefully selected Bible verses to justify all kinds of things, but especially the superiority of men over women. This way of thinking is damaging to the smart, capable women leaders who are not allowed to use their giftings in the church; damaging to our brothers who are told by the church and, many times, expected by their wives, to be the head of the household, the spiritual leader; and damaging to women all over the world who continue to be discriminated against by the perpetuation of these oppressive beliefs. This way of thinking did not seem to fit with the Jesus I had come to know. Carolyn Custis James’ book, Half the Church, highlighted that God’s intention was that men and women together were to partner with God in bringing His Kingdom to this world.
This year-long process finally culminated with IBC “unleashing” women and Jackie becoming a part of the preaching team. She was just the right woman for the job at just the right time!
If you have spent any time with Jackie, you know she has a unique way of cutting through the superficial and getting right to the heart of the matter. Within 5 minutes of meeting Jackie one-on-one for the first time, she had identified and unveiled pain that I did not even know I had…some areas of unforgiveness in my life, recommended a couple of books (which I read), and challenged me to take it to Jesus…like she always does.
At the core, she is a clinician. She diagnoses the pain and then points people to Jesus. That’s her gift.
She and Steve have entered into some of the most deep and painful moments of, not only my life, but my family’s life, too. For that I will be forever grateful.
I continue to learn from her and many others through participation in The Marcella Project Bible study, salons, and summits.
So you might say, that by supporting the Marcella Project, I’m still just following my pastor!