It’s Not Over Yet

I started on this journey 2 years ago, and had you told me then what I know now, I would probably laugh. I’ve known since I was a kid I wanted to go into the ministry in some regard, but I figured I would end up a pastor’s wife or be a missionary in another country somewhere. You know woman things. Until one day God had something different. I was driving back and forth to school every day, about an hour commute and was sick of the radio so I started downloading podcasts to listen to in the car. One of those days I found myself really engrossed in this podcasts, that now I couldn’t tell you anything about. I just remember the speaker asked a question what would you do? I responded I would be a preacher. Confused I looked around my car like, “Did I just say that?” This thought never crossed my mind, did preachers even exist anymore? Isn’t that what they call the old guys they don’t like but want to be nice to? I shook it off thinking I was going crazy talking to the radio. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that word, preacher. That night I was meeting some friends, these were people I trusted so I opened up to them about my conversation that morning and told them I really want to be a preacher, even though that sounds odd I can’t shake this feeling. I was met with blank stares, even a few raised eyebrows. No one said a word. And just like that I KNEW I was crazy. These were people I trusted, they would be honest with me if they knew that being a preacher was something I was capable of. They obviously thought preacher’s didn’t exist anymore either so I chalked  that idea up to a caffeine deprived brain sick of early morning traffic and tried to move on. But the idea always rested in the back of my mind. At the time I was working in youth ministry and loving my job, but I was itching for more. I approached the head youth pastor and I asked him if I could preach, there’s that word again, on one sunday to the students just to see how it goes. He responded with basically a nice no saying I was better suited doing something else. I took his words and did what I was told, but there was still that longing. Months went by and I asked again. Once more the answer was no. This time I did not take the answer lightly and asked why. I was met with words that shocked me to my core. “It’s because you’re a woman and we don’t know how people will respond to you.” I was hurt deeply. I had heard growing up there were jobs better suited for women in the church, but I never would have imagined that I would have to face something like this. I was confused. If God was calling me to this but the people around me were saying that God didn’t call women to jobs like that, was I just crazy? Over the course of several weeks God began to reveal to me scriptures I had read hundreds of times but never understood the full context of. He was giving me a message long before I knew I would get the opportunity to share it with anyone else. Ultimately I left that church because I wasn’t crazy, God really was calling me to do more. When I left I felt no one wanted the message that I had, but deep within me there was an urge to share what was on my heart. However, I didn’t want it to come from a place of anger or hurt, I wanted it to be in truth. So I fought with myself for a long time, not sure I would ever get the chance to even do this. But when I told Rob my desire to preach he was so supportive and has been encouraging me to do this for months. Honestly the idea terrified me, I wanted it more than anything but that small voice still said they won’t want to hear it. I had been disempowered by people I trusted, by people who truly believed they were doing the right thing. There are stories much like mine all over the world people are told they can’t do what their heart longs for because of their gender, origin or age. Whatever the case maybe too many people are disempowered and told they cannot do what God is calling them to. My question is if God says you are good enough, who are they to stop you?

It all comes down to we are in a war. You simply have to look around you and you see the pain and heartache of this world.There are cases much like the Stanford case happening regularly. Where rape is only a six month sentence that can be shortened to 3 for good behavior. It’s as if the life of the woman he defiled didn’t matter. This is all evidence of a war we can only see part of. Ephesians 6:12 says “we fight not against flesh and blood but against the wicked spiritual forces, the rulers of this dark age.” We live in a world where things like gendercide, human trafficking, and rape are common occurrences. This list could go on. It is all apart of the enemies original plan. From the beginning he sought to stop us, all of us, but specifically he targets women.

We all know the story of Adam and Eve. For decades men have used Eve as a way to deny women rights, because she was so easily tempted, after all she did fall first. But when we look at just that small piece of the story we are missing out on so much. We’ve all heard this story so many times and probably have pieces of it memorized so I won’t read you the entire book of Genesis but there are a few key pieces I’d like to take a look at.

Each thing God created it says God said and it was done and it was good. Until we get to Day 6 when God created man. God said that man was good in fact God created Adam after himself we see in Genesis 1:27 That means not only physical, but spiritual, intellectual, emotional, all of it the whole package. This man can feel, think, imagine, dream, and create just like God can. But after creating Adam we hear for the first time that something is not good.

Genesis 2:18-24 God does not give a reason here that it is not good for man to be alone, but he outright states that this man needs a companion. God is never alone, though the trinity is one being it is separated into 3 parts. Maybe God wanted us to be able to experience the same kind of love and community he experiences within the trinity.

God created many creatures for Adam to live life with but none of them were made in the likeness of God. God loves these creatures, but he says they are not suitable companions for the man. He needs someone that is more like him.

Let’s go back to this idea that God created Adam in his image, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Now imagine that when God took Adam’s rib he was not only taking a physical part of him, but also a spiritual, emotional, and intellectual piece of him. There is no denying that men and women are different. We look, act, feel, experience, and even think differently, (remember girls are spaghetti boys are waffles). So let’s imagine that when God created Adam he created him to be both the male and female sides of God. And when he removed that piece from Adam’s side he was not only removing a rib, but was removing the piece of him that was female and placing it into a body of its own. So when Adam awoke, he not only had a new companion, but was now experiencing life from a uniquely male perspective. Making him and his counterpart very different, but still crafted after the likeness of God. Eve, though she was created out of a piece of Adam is still described in chapter 1 as created in the likeness of God. I think often times we forget that we are crafted after who God is, all of us, not just men. That means how we think feel and act. How is it that men and women can operate so differently but still be fashioned after the same being? The only explanation for this is that God is both all male and all female, and when he fashioned the first two people he split those pieces of himself into two unique individuals.

I would also argue it is important to note where God pulled this piece from. He could have chosen anywhere on the body, the head, the heart, the leg, but he didn’t he chose the middle. This is significant imagery to the reader that indicates God knew what he was doing. He knew one day there would be question over who was greater, and he wanted them to have no such argument. He pulled from the side to be equal, not the head to be greater, or the foot to be less than. God does not do anything out of sheer coincidence, all of his actions have a very specific message and purpose, this included.

However, at this point in the story everything is operating as it should, there are no questions over who is greater, both Adam and Eve knew that God held that position and their job was to love and serve him as a companion, as Lord. It’s after the fall that things crumble and the intimate relationship they had with God is shattered. However it is not only the God relationship that is affected, Adam’s relationship with Eve is also fractured. So we go from this place where Adam actually sings joyus praise for Eve’s creation in verse 2:23-25 to a place of blame and judgement in 3:12. These words are dripping with hate. He uses the name woman, which he created as a praise of how wonderful she was only a few verses earlier, to insult and cut her deeply. This ‘woman’ you gave me, if she had not been here none of this would have happened.

You see Satan didn’t tempt Adam, he waited until Eve was on her own, and he sought after her because she would be more of a challenge. It’s almost like he knew Adam wouldn’t put up a fight, and he didn’t! When Even brought it to him to eat there is no mention that he even questioned where it came from. Biblical scholar Kris Valattoon says “Men are active tools in the hands of the enemy.” That if you think about it, men were the one’s who killed Jesus, Hitler tried to kill off an entire race of people, men are primarily the rulers of much of the world and we are constantly at war with each other. They play into his hands without even knowing it. Satan’s tempting of Eve was strategic he wanted a challenge. This retaliation against women doesn’t end with tempting Eve however. In God’s judgment Genesis 3:14-20 God specifically calls out the relationship between the serpent and the woman. Verse 15: “I will make you and the woman hate each other…” And we have seen this relationship unfold in exactly this way.

It was women who had to fight for the right to vote and own property, a right handed to a man the day he is of age. It was women who were told they could not operate in leadership roles. It is women who daily are passed over for jobs simply because their resume says female instead of male. It is primarily women who are sold into sex slavery (I’m not saying men are not sold into this industry but the number of women far outweigh men). It is women who for generations have been told to sit down and keep quiet because it is their husband’s job to do the talking. Cultures still exist that force women to abort their unborn babies if they are female. If these are not signs of the enemies attack on women I don’t know what is. Don’t get me wrong here, men are attacked as well in many ways women will not be able to understand.

But my question today is what is the enemy so afraid of? Why does he insist on taking down women? Because the story doesn’t end with the fall. The second half of this verse holds much more weight. Genesis 3:15 “…Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring’s heel.” God promised from the very beginning that, yes there would be a battle between Satan and women. But it wouldn’t end there. There will come a day that women will rise up and crush the enemy. There will come a day that things will change, God promised that from the very beginning. He sent Jesus so that we do not have to live in suffering forever, but we won’t begin to see that until men and women can learn to work together the way that God designed them to.

We see all through scripture a cry for Christians to work together. Jesus prayed that we might be one as God, The Son, and the Spirit are One in John 17. This goes back to God’s intention of creating Eve in the first place, He wanted Adam to experience the unity and companionship that God experiences within the trinity. Jesus is mirroring his Father’s heart at creation generations later. Nothing has changed.

For far too long we have told half of the Christian population that they are not good enough. That ends now. Women now is your time to stop listening to the lies and start doing what God has called you to do. Men it is time you stop telling your counterparts what they can’t do and start building them into who the can be. It’s time to teach your sons and daughters to respect each other. Encourage your wives and daughters to be who God has called them to be, even if it’s dangerous, even if it is not widely accepted, even if it’s scary.

As we’ve already discussed and I think we can all agree, men and women are different. We have characteristics that are innately in each of us, women are wired to nurture and men are wired to protect, along with these things comes different mental and emotional processing. Granite these things fall on a spectrum different for each individual but wherever you fall on the spectrum we can all agree there are differences. I think the problem comes in when we begin searching for things that specifically women do and things that specifically men do. Culture has taught us to do this, God has not. God has called each of us to do what he has called us to, the way he has called us to do it. He has no bias of gender, age, or origin. We are all His children. So women if God is calling you to do something stand up and do it. Stop trying to mimic your male counter parts in the way they perform and step into YOUR calling. So what if a woman hasn’t done it before, stop worrying about what others will think and just do it, show them how a woman works. Men the same goes for you, if God has called you to something do it the way God is calling you to do it, stop looking to others for ways to accomplish it and do what YOU were called to do.

I recently heard a question asked, If we let women rule the way that women were designed to rule what could we accomplish? Think about this for a minute. Can you imagine a world where creativity, hard work, motivation, and a desire for change operate at full capacity? The world we currently live in does not look like this we are constantly fighting each other over who is allowed to do what. What if we stopped doing that and let each person flourish regardless of who they are? What could we accomplish?

It’s time for things to change. It’s time for us to stop falling into the hands of the enemy and fight for each other rather than against one another. Ephesians 6 says we are fighting a war we can’t see. And we won’t win it with things we can see either. I wish I could stand here and tell you that if we let women preach and pay them the same as men then the world will fix it’s own problems. But you and I both know that’s not the whole picture, only a small part of it. What we need is something far greater than equality, we need a revolution.

Jesus started the very first revolution for women. All throughout the Gospels you see an empowering of women in a culture that devalued women to no more than slaves. It was Pontas Pilot’s wife who tried to stop the crucifixion, it was women who were the first to see the resurrected Jesus and then return to the trembling men who were too afraid and ashamed to go see for themselves. It was a woman who humbled herself and washed Jesus’s feet while men sat around and made fun of her. We see the best example of this revolution in John 4 with the Woman at the Well. Jesus is alone at the well when a Samaritan woman approaches him to draw water. Now in this culture Samaritan’s were seen as lowly and less than and woman were viewed as even lower. Jews, which Jesus was, were not to associate with Samaritans especially not Samaritan women. But Jesus in his typical fashion does just the opposite. He gives her high honor by asking her to help Him. Shocked she looks at him like he’s crazy and sarcastically asks where his water jug is. As the story goes on we find that this woman is hungry for more out of her life, she has been married multiple times and is living with a man she is not currently married to. According to religious law this woman should have been written off, yet Jesus reveals to her for the first time in recorded history that he is The Messiah. Out of excitement and awe she runs back into her village and shares the first ever news of the gospel with her people who then come to follow Christ as well. You see the first evangelist was a woman! Jesus wasn’t playing jokes, he was trying to turn the tables, and stir up an uprising to set his daughters free.

Jesus came as an example of what it looks like to empower our female counterparts, he defied odds, ignored religious law, and pushed women into roles they never should have had. Men take heed of this example and run with it, Jesus loved his daughters he empowered them and began a revolution thousands of years ago, he is waiting for you to finish it!

Women Jesus wanted you to live a life of power. Stop beating yourself up, stop looking at the magazines and tell yourself you aren’t good enough. Stop listening to the culture that says you’re worth nothing more than sex and a sandwich. You were created to FIGHT not against yourself or your brothers but with them to set those around you free, to operate in the Peace of Christ.

The  war we are fighting isn’t a joke, it isn’t something you’ll have to worry about years from now. It is happening today in your heart, all around you. But the good news is we have the power, Collectively, to end this. 2 Kings 6:16-17 says,

“Do not be afraid for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

You see we are not alone in this fight, Jesus fought for us all while we are here, and he is still fighting for us today. It is time we join the battle and stand with Him. For far too long we have played into the enemy’s hands. He wants women to be oppressed because he knows the power that will be unleashed when they are set free. It’s time that we stand up and finish the revolution together. Women can’t do it alone, and it’s not good for man to be alone. We must work together. Ecclesiastes 4:12 puts it this way,

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

It’s time for a revolution. Imagine a world where women can rule like women, where our sons respect our daughters, where we experience not equality but peace and unity the way life was designed to be from the beginning.

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