I’ve never really been a fan of “women’s ministry” — mostly because my few experiences with it at my churches growing up left me feeling like I would never belong to the elite club of ladies who read their Bibles on the daily, prayed fervently and without ceasing, knew all the Christianese, and were frankly quite perfect.
Then I realized that, bless their hearts, that maybe they didn’t have it all together but instead they put their best foot forward because that’s just what we’re supposed to do. Broken and loveless marriages, addictions, gossipping, feelings of inadequacy, wayward children, infertility, depression..those things didn’t have a place around the women’s ministry tables where I sat. No, those were the things we “prayed” (read: gossipped) about for others but would never to admit to each other that it was happening to us, too.
I could never reconcile the differences between what my interactions with women’s ministry expected me to be and who I actually was. So, like any good southern girl does, I bottled it up, put on a smile, and stayed as far away from deep meaningful relationships with women as much as I could through the whole of my 20s. It was just easier that way. I was safe from the judgement, safe from the bless your hearts, and safe from becoming just like them when I was old enough to sit around their tables for real.
Frankly, it’s all BS. And it’s time to change this perception.
I spent the past two days hosting an IF:Local with a group of friends who were so. brave. They were so brave because they were real and because they responded to the nudgings of a little dream. I watched them fan this little tiny flame over the last year and watched them wrestle with the doubt that we could go through all of the planning and the promoting and the praying and then no one would come after all.
As I watched that, I remembered that women’s ministry doesn’t have to be a bunch of women sharing their highlight reel and judging those who don’t. It doesn’t have to be a club for only the good girls. It doesn’t actually have to be anything.
There’s a new generation of women who are calling BS on the whole thing and have set their minds and hearts against it and I promise you we’re going to wake up every day and stay up in the night trying to figure out how to do this thing called life with our people. Our broken, lost, bitter, confused, tired, stressed out, wonderful, amazing people.
But this is not just for me and my 20something, 30something friends. This is for you, too. And your daughters and your granddaughters and the girls you work with and the ones you don’t even know yet.
This is for the girls who don’t know they can be any different, who don’t feel like they can follow their hearts and live out their callings.
This is for the women who feel useless after the kids have grown and for the women who want to speak their dreams to someone but are too scared to do it because it sounds extra ridiculous when spoken out loud.
This is for the mamas who leave their husbands at home and come to church alone with their kids. This is for the ones who pray that something would spur their husbands to love the Lord and lead their family.
This is for the grandmothers who are raising their granddaughters and pleading with their daughters to just give church a chance.
This is for the 20somethings pounding their heads against the wall because they’re surrounded by friends who believe all the lies the world has told them rather than the truth that is found in the Word.
This is for the high school girls who feel brave but don’t know what to do about it.
This is the messy, weird, scary, crazy call to all of us. This is the kind of women’s ministry I’m excited about. Are you?