Six months ago, a large church in my city asked if I would serve as their interim senior pastor. It was the beginning of quarantine, and it seemed like everyone was doing hard things, what if this was mine?
My husband Todd and I went for a long walk where we explored topics we had previously only spoken about in theory, Can women be senior pastors? Does God give temporary assignments? Without formal training, could I hold a position of such spiritual authority?
One of the words that guides my decisions is a Hebrew word I learned years ago, hineni. It is translated in our Bibles as “here I am,” but is better translated as “whatever it is you are asking of me, I am already in agreement of it.” I knew that I knew God was asking this of me, so the answers to all my questions and insecurities would be ‘yes.’
It hasn’t been easy to lead a congregation who is used to a man, but I have found my gender has actually benefitted me. Instead of trying to be masculine, or worse yet — gender neutral, here are some ways I see my femininity as a strength:
Everything Jesus did was perfectly on point, He only ever did what the Bible says He saw His Father doing. He treated women with respect and dignity because that’s how His Father taught him. He gave them responsibilities, trusted their insight, and wove them into His ministry, because we, too were made in the image of God. These characteristics typically assigned to women: shielding, comforting, birthing, protecting, hovering… these are God qualities and they manifest in us, because we are of Him and from Him. Don’t apologize for it or let someone mock you for exercising who you are made to be.
Whether you are leading your family, your church, or your division at work: you are killing it. Be all you were made to be, and let the questions of others fall down around you, even the unanswered ones in your own mind. No one has time for that — there’s work to do, people to lead, prompts to follow, projects to create, teachings to obey… Remind yourself liberally and surround yourself with others who do the same: God is so proud of how you model His image. Lead.