Monday, April 4, 2011

Incomplete without a man?

Ironically, after I posted my thoughts on how I can pastor as a woman, a family friend sent me the message, "you need to get married so you will have a spiritual covering, a spiritual head to do ministry."
This isn't the first time I have been told this. Back when I was in college, I volunteered to work with the youth as the church waited for a new youth pastor. The pastor told me I couldn't work with the youth because I didn't have a husband, a spiritual covering. At that point, I was feeling called to ministry but had not shared it openly with a lot of people. Why would I share God's call on my life when I received statements like this? And so, I must be wrong. God obviously wasn't calling me because I was a single woman. I must be hearing God wrong. And so started my 10 years in the wilderness. Questioning myself, questioning God, I drifted aimlessly. I must not be able to hear God correctly. But what kind of God calls someone to do ministry but doesn't send what is needed to accomplish this task? To add to my confusion, at the same time I felt God was calling me to ministry, I felt God was calling me to a long period of being single. How conflicted can one person get?!
Thankfully, God had my path begin to cross the paths of some very godly women pastors. God's grace exploded across my imagination and soul. Suddenly I was not incomplete without a man. Suddenly, I was not a third class citizen---behind men and behind Balaam's Donkey. If God could use a donkey, he surely can use someone who desires to serve him? I was drenched in God's grace and freed to joyful obedience.
And so, when the words were spoken once more that I need a husband to be complete and covered so I may minister, I wasn't hurt or sent into a spiral of doubt. I smiled and let it go. I claimed the God who promised to be the father to the fatherless and husband to the husband-less would be enough for me. And I am thankful. Thankful God has brought me out of the pain, out of the oppression, out of the feeling of inadequacy due to my gender. Thankful for the freedom and hope and grace I have found.


  1. Thanks for your honesty Leanne. And I'm glad you continue to listen to God and not to man.

  2. Dan, it has been a long road to get to where I can hear God and not worry about what human beings think.
    Thank you Dan, for your support and friendship. I am jealous (if I can admit it) of your congregation. I would have given anything to have a pastor as supportive as you when I was younger. But I rest in God's grace and redemption.