At the end of 2014, I found myself leaving my children’s pastor job in Virginia Beach. Luke and I loved our “family” at the church we served at, but I found myself dying inside. I never thought that silly string, treasure boxes, and “Jesus loves me this I know” was beneath me; it simply was not my ultimate passion or purpose.
I served for almost 2 years and was asked to preach from the main stage to the grown ups one time for five minutes (don’t worry, I took a full half hour). The men in leadership were not trying to hold me back; they simply expected me to do my job, as children’s pastor. That was my “role” in our church family.
Truthfully, I would have been fine with simply doing my job and fulfilling my role if I thought there was room for me to grow, but I had searched for enough ministry jobs all around the United States to know that “kids ministry” is pretty much the end game for many female ministers – trained or untrained.
Quite honestly, I didn’t know who I was or what my specific calling was in my late 20s. I sort of lost myself during that period of my life.
I got married at 25 and I didn’t know how to just “be me” anymore. I have a “gypsy soul” and I love to travel to minister, see friends and the world. Marriage makes it a bit more difficult to be a committed gypsy. Thankfully, I have a hella cool husband (born and raised in Northern California), who sends me off on trips when we can afford it.
But it’s more than that; marriage takes over one’s soul (at least it did mine). All of the sudden, it was not just about me anymore. Since I struggled to find a ministry job (even with a master’s degree in biblical studies), most of the financial burden fell on Luke and he sort of fell into the role of “provider.” That was not the plan.
Luke and I met in graduate school. We were going to both build our careers. We were going to both be “providers.”
There was no way I was going to simply fall into the role of “stay at home wife.” It just was not me. I think I tried a few times, mostly by making sure Luke had a nice frozen dinner when he got home from work. Hey, it was Trader Joes brand (don’t judge). I clean sometimes; ok almost never, so what the heck was my role going to be in this marriage?
I had heard that some women take over the finances and budget when their husbands are the “provider.” Ya, I am terrible at math and have very little tolerance for stress. Luke is good at math and can handle an insane amount of stress, so I simply let him take care of the finances.
One thing that does stress Luke out is returning stuff to the store. It’s pretty funny to pretend like I am going to make him “return his own shirt” this time. He sort of starts hyperventilating and sweating. So, I accepted that my “role” is to be the “returner.” I guess that is the least I could do.
But, being the “returner” and the “children’s pastor” were not enough for me. I wanted and needed more for my life. I had all these gifts inside of me that were not being seen by anyone with any sort of influence or motivation to help a sister out.
I have a lot of the gifts women are not supposed to have, which intimidates society and the Church.
I was born to lead. I was born to be an evangelist (which means much traveling alone). I was born to preach the good news. I was born to help bind broken hearts. I was born to set captives free. I was born to confront injustice. I was born to tell and live the truth. I was born courageous.
If I would have been born male, I would have been the “ideal” candidate for most high level church jobs.
I just finished a (must have) book called, “Lime Green” by Jackie Roese (Find Here). I actually know Jackie and adore her because she cusses when she preaches sometimes. I didn’t grow up around any sort of cussin’ in church, so I find it amusing and real.
Anyways, Jackie tells her story about how she found herself as a “pastor’s wife” in Texas surrounded by a bunch of “light pink” church ladies, and she stuck out as “lime green” with her loud and bold personality, with gifts to lead and preach. She didn’t fit the “light pink” sweet, southern, quiet, submissive, diplomatic “pastor’s wife mold.”
The truth is though, many women who are trying to be “light pink” to please God or men or whoever, are not really “light pink.” There are some fabulous “light pink” ladies out there, but I am not one of them.
I spent a little time thinking about what color I am. Maybe hot pink or fuchsia, I thought. Then I heard God (or maybe my inner ego) say, “Oh no girl, you are RED!”
So of course I did what any rational human being would do in 2016 and I googled “the meaning of the color red:”
Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.
Oh yes, my husband can attest to the “raises blood pressure” bit.
I love that I am the color red, but most people are intimidated by my shade. So much of my adult life I have not felt important, valuable, wanted, or needed. I have felt pushed to the back of the closet, hoping that someday someone would be courageous and secure enough to wear me.
I wonder how many “red” or “lime green” women are out there trying to be “light pink” just to fit in?
The Church, and really society as a whole, has a way of telling women who they should be, what they should wear, and what they should and should not do with their lives. But, if we cave to the pressure, we will lose our color.
That is what happened to me as a children’s pastor. I caved to the pressure of what the Church wanted me to be out of necessity for a job really; but overtime, I began to lose my fire, energy, strength, power, determination, passion, desire, and love.
I guess I hoped that if I became “light pink” for a season, someone would take notice that I was actually “red” and start utilizing my gifts for God. It turns out that when we hide our true colors, people don’t see who we actually are, and they will never give us the space to use our gifts, because they don’t even know we have those gifts!
I have to say this though; many people will NEVER give you space to use your gifts if it means that they have to “slide over.” As Christians, we are supposed to be constantly “sliding over” for others, but many local churches have lost their way in this (specifically when it comes to “what to do with” women who are not “light pink”).
Even so, I think we as women (and men too) are designed to chase our specific color. When we try to make all women “light pink” and all men “bold blue,” we miss out on the beautiful and countless shades found within the body of Christ.
I am still finding myself everyday and becoming more and more who God designed “Jory” to be; but here is what I have learned in the last couple of years. God painted me the color red and God does not want me to spend too much of my time with people who will keep me hidden away in the back of their closets. Red is meant to be worn!
What color do you think you are? I would LOVE to know! Go ahead, google it, you know you want to!