Thank goodness God, in His grace, gave me beautiful women mentors who ministered faithfully with the Word of Truth throughout my childhood and adult life. Even while I snubbed the corporate ministry of women, God was blessing me with the very personal ministry of a few very special women.
I was the kind of woman who ran the other direction when "women's ministry" events were announced in the bulletin. The chit chat and the centerpieces and the circle discussions never seemed to get deep enough into the thick of theological things to convince me of their importance. I much preferred a coed conversation around the dinner table to a room full of hormonal ladies with space to air their grievances.
O, pride, you nasty little devil - keeping me from things my heart needs because my heart is too proud to receive them.
But I have been feeling God make provision. He is creating space where pride once stood so that He could bless my heart and so that I could fall in better love with His beautiful design.
This weekend, I attended a two-day women's ministry conference (gulp): many women, large room, round tables, chocolates, and vulnerability. I shuffled in just as a session was starting and the panel of speakers spoke on God's design for womanhood and the way it reflects God's over-arching story of cosmic redemption.
It was a slow succumbing, really. And it was kind of like a springtime bloom.
The room was full of ages - from pre-teens to great-grandmas - and I was realizing that God's Word speaks the same beautiful message to each one of our souls. Genesis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." His creative display of His glory in mankind was very intentionally reflected in male and female. I need not roll my eyes at my femininity like it will carry me away to frivolity. God's glory is displayed in His creation, intentionally in the inner-workings of relationships and uniquely in the differences of men and women. His reflection does not hide. His glory is proclaimed in creation whether or not eyes roll in rebellion.
And His grace pressed down on me with a heavy heartbeat.
This is my God, my Creator, my Redeemer - this God made me to reflect Him and know Him and love Him. His reflection does not hide behind my female-ness but shines through it.
I listened to wisdom from friends and strangers and teachers, just listening. My favorite moments came as we delighted in Scripture together. There is great power in opening the Word with right expectation that it will not return void. And, I believe, there is also great beauty in the corporate delight of Scripture.
The slow succumbing came as I swallowed the prideful expectation that women's ministry events were about chit chat and centerpieces and circle discussions. The blooming came as I saw God's nature reflected in the lives of these women. I imagine the honesty, support, and encouragement are exactly the reasons why such gatherings are so important.
After the women's event, I spent the rest of the weekend making precious memories with my grandparents. What a gift. Not a moment was out of place, even as we squeezed every last laugh out of the midnight hours Saturday night.
And, when we listened to the story of Abraham and Isaac play out in Genesis 22 on Sunday morning, I felt fresh the reign of my rebellion. I marveled at Abraham's obedience and his early morning departure to sacrifice his only son and I asked if my heart was capable of that kind of trust. My belly twisted as Abraham raised the knife to slaughter his son and I asked if my faith would ever be that kind of bold.
My spirit sighed when the ram appeared, overwhelmed that God had made provision. God had promised Abraham He would provide and Abraham trusted that He would keep His promises. Abraham's trusting meant early morning obedience and his believing meant conquering his heart's rebellion. When death was certain for his son, Abraham believed God to be a promise keeper.
Though death is certain, God has made gracious provision for our salvation, that by faith we would be rescued from rebellion.
Communion tasted different on Sunday. It was hard to swallow. Because this mystery of salvation doesn't make any sense.
I choked down the bread and the wine and breathed the kind of prayers I imagined Abraham might have prayed after God made provision for Isaac.
Even for all my rebellious and prideful ways, He has made a provision that is sufficient for my salvation.
O, that I would trust that God is my constant provision.
O, that I would live believing His provision is sufficient.