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Women’s Ministry: We Deserve Better

This morning as I was blowdrying my hair and rushing to get myself made up, dressed and out the door to vote before settling in for work, my busy toddler kept interrupting me… wanting me to hold her, asking for “quiet time on the couch wif Mommy,” wanting to get in the new baby’s Rock ‘N Play, wanting to blow dry her own hair… on and on it went. As I impatiently and restlessly shut off the dryer for the 5th time to talk to her, hug her or tend to her clearly very urgent need, I realized that this is what I do to God every single day. In the middle of ruling the world, I pester Him to come pay more attention to me. To stop doing what He’s doing and see to my microscopic need. But unlike me, God never sets His metaphorical hair dryer down with impatience. Instead, He calmly and lovingly turns to me and truly sees to each and every one of my whines and cries. Unlike me, He is never rushed or weary or bothered. Because my good, good Father, cares more about the state of my ruffled heart than He does about the hairs on His own head.
And that, my friends, is where most of today’s women’s ministry leaves us. With that cute little anecdote that expounds upon a mundane happenstance, trivializing God’s role in our lives, and infantilizing the complex emotional needs that we face today. While that occurrence did happen this morning (as I was also thinking about this blog post, as luck would have it), that stretch to parallel it into my spiritual walk wasn’t a part of my thought process at all. Instead, I just needed to push my brain into a realm of Teletubby faith to make the connection, write it amusingly and sign off. Done.

Aren’t we worth more than that? Aren’t our felt needs, aching desires, deep-rooted struggles all more than a watered down Chicken Soup for the Soul feel-good Christianity? And even more so, isn’t the Lord of our lives so much bigger than a parallel between my Chi, or a broken dinner plate, or a toddler tantrum? Yes, He cares about it all, but how misappropriating to boil Him down to a Fisher-Price Father.

Unfortunately, it seems, that in our quest as women to define ourselves and lay claim to the many hats we wear, things we juggle and roles we handle, we’ve limited ourselves even further. More often than not, women’s small groups, books and speakers are divided into very segmented life stages: college student, young single, married, young mother, divorcee. Many of us fall into more than one bucket. I’m a wife, a mother, yes, but I also work full-time. I am 30, but I also find myself yearning to connect with women both older and younger. I’ve wrestled through pain and disappointment much deeper than a broken hairdryer, and while the Lord’s plans for me will surely prosper, that doesn’t mean He won’t allow me to descend into a valley of dry bones where I will yearn for living water more than a simple Jeremiah 29:11 graphic quote.

It isn’t that women’s ministry isn’t good. Of course it is. It is women communing to celebrate the goodness of the Lord. The drawback is that we keep ourselves from playing in the deep end in order to seem relatable, approachable and re-tweetable. Women are more than a catchy slogan or a light hearted meme. We are complicated, deep, valuable, and crave being known. By each other, by strangers, by a Father who is both accessible and mysterious by design.

Can we agree to break out of the cliche and redundant for the sake of a shared end goal to be MORE THAN a mom. MORE THAN a wife. MORE THAN a professional. MORE THAN a divorce. MORE THAN a loss. MORE THAN a friend. Let’s encourage each other to run wildly toward the greater thing God has called us to. He has perfectly encapsulated His power inside our beating hearts. Can we agree not to trap it and hold it ransom by our own convenient labels and pithy domestic regurgitations? Then I think we can unite as a women’s ministry and show forth the might that we so long to reflect.

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