I am so excited to see the opportunities many young ladies are receiving right now in the body of Christ – to teach, to pastor, to lead, to be all that God has called them to be. Of course we still have a long way to go, but believe me, we have made huge progress. For a prominent theologian to tell Beth Moore to “Go Home” is painful, but fifty years ago few females would have had the opportunities Beth Moore has already had to preach from the Word. I am excited to see the body of Christ releasing so many female ministers. It was not so easy for me.
At the age of seventeen I gave my life to the Lord. Best decision I ever made. I joined a church, along with my sister and my best friend, and totally dedicated myself to all that the Lord wanted of me. My best friend had a younger brother, who liked to hang out with us three ladies, and gradually he made a commitment to the Lord. It did not take us long to recognise what we called the church hierarchy. Married men were the most valuable, followed quickly by single men. Married women were third, and at the bottom of the totem pole came single women. One of the examples of this was the opportunities offered to my friend’s younger brother. Although he was inconsistent in his faith, and less mature than us older female teenagers, he was given more opportunities to lead and speak than any of us were. Let me rephrase that – he had some opportunities, while we had none. My pastor did actually tell me once that I was a leader, but it was not a positive statement since he was referring to me leading my friends astray on occasion!
When I moved away from home to attend university, I continued to struggle with the identity of being a strong woman who wanted to serve God. I recall one year when we had elections for the Christian Union the president addressed the group and informed us all that just because someone attended the prayer meeting every week (that was me, no one else attended that consistently) did not mean that person was a good selection to be the prayer secretary. A friend had had the audacity to nominate me. The nomination was not permitted to stand.
Then there was the church I attended, often twice, every Sunday. The pastor knew that I had a desire to preach, but I was never given the opportunity. However, when I had been faithfully attending for two years, a male student came along for a couple of weeks. Almost immediately he was given the opportunity to preach!
Frequently I complained to the Lord. I wondered why he had made me with a strong desire to teach. I knew the Scriptures. They seemed, at the time, to suggest that as a woman I should not be teaching or have any leadership role in the church. Instead I would walk up and down the street witnessing to people. I had a lot of fun doing that. Then a friend told me about an organisation called Youth With A Mission.
My husband and I served in YWAM for many years, and we had some wonderful experiences. Throughout those years we continued to also regularly attend a church, and without an exception every church was ready to use my husband in ministry and ignore me.
To be totally clear here, I have gone back over every incident that I have shared and spoken out forgiveness to all the people involved. They all probably felt that they were doing the right thing. But I was hurt, and I needed to speak out forgiveness, even if not directly to the people who hurt me. And as I look back now, I was also robbed. I was robbed of the opportunity to grow in leadership, I was robbed of the opportunity to grow in teaching. I am asking the Lord to replace that now.
After regularly attending church for nearly fifty years now, for the first time I have pastors who demonstrate a desire to release me into ministry. A few months after joining the church I shared my desire to teach and was quickly given the opportunity to share a testimony. From there I was given the opportunity to share a sermonette. Since my sharing was so well received by those in the church, I am now given the chance to speak every three months or so. Not only that, I have also enjoyed being able to pray for people after the service, being part of the prophetic group that shares words for people once a month, and regularly leading the service.
I love that Beth Moore is so popular, and not just amongst women. I recall another exceptional women speaker, Jean Darnall, who died earlier this year. She spoke to a group I was a part of many years ago, and after the event she talked with the leaders, of which I was one. She shared some of the things she faced as a female speaker in the church. On one occasion she had been invited to speak to a group of churches in France. When she arrived on the plane some pastors were there to meet her. They were very friendly, but soon asked her where her husband was. Jean explained that her husband was not with her on that occasion, and that she was the speaker, not her husband. They had assumed that Jean was a male’s name. Upon realising that they had invited a woman to come and speak to them they simply booked her a return ticket and put her on the next flight back where she had come from.
Please do not go home Beth Moore. Continue to serve God from the front of the crowd. You are not just sharing truth and setting people free, but you are also paving the way for many other ladies to follow in your footsteps!