I was speaking with a female friend of mine the other day (and I hope she doesn't mind that I share this story and our conversation - I didn't ask), anyway, she was telling me that in her Christian circle she has had several males come up to her and tell her that because she is so outspoken and wants to lead that she was not wife material and not only that she was intimidating. My first reaction of course was anger and disgust for the insecure Christian males that I have encountered today (of course Andrew you are not one of them).
She went on to tell me that she, although felt called, has left her position where she was working in a ministry type setting for another career path because she was tired of being patronized or challenged about her strengths because they did not meet the expectations of her Christian male counterparts. It broke my heart as she told me that it hurts so much more to be put down for being a women from your Christian male peers. And it hurt even more for them to judge her and tell her she was not worthy for them to consider as spousal material.
My first reaction to her was how barbaric that these Christian men thought so highly of themselves that they could in essence tell my friend she was not chosen by them. As if they had any ability to pass some type of pick and choose method with her. I said next time tell them its okay because you don't even make my expectation list so you were never marriage material for me either. As we laughed a bit about my statement and I encouraged her to continue to be strong and celebrate in her outspokenness and leadership abilities. I began to think about that ministry position she felt forced to leave because she was told that her place was only to contribute in the areas of XYZ even though her talents and her skills warranted her to contribute in areas of ABC.
Why is the glass ceiling for women leaders so much lower and thicker in the Christian circles? How can we teach and partner with our male colleagues in this arena so they do not continue to lose these very successful, beautiful, intelligent, and powerful women who will continue, in any place they are at, to change this world for the Kingdom? How do we empower the next generation of women and change the message to this next generation of males in the Church and the world?
I stand with all the women who feel beaten down by too many expectations, labels, and roles. I have been there and know the struggle, the pain, the frustration, and the sense of betrayal and defeat. I stand with the women who fight everyday and push against the glass ceiling in their ministry positions. I stand with the women who have either been forced out or like my friend couldn't take it anymore and needed to leave, I stand with them to encourage them to come back and fight to find significance in their gifts that they have been blessed with to be courageous and bold. As women I want to encourage each of us to write a better legacy to this next generation then the ones we have been handed. Lets us be thankful to the women who fought before us, but let us not get tired or discouraged, but let us be one voice that will crack and break the Christian ministry glass ceiling.
God uses us all and we can look to the bible to see that it was women who stood when so many others fell away. It was Mary who boldly went to the tomb and discovered that Jesus had risen!!!