As a woman and mother in the church I have endured the pain of containment and suffocation of my voice. Decades I have cried out, begging someone to cut the lock from my prison crate. Many came by to encourage me; they said nice things about my roles and purpose as a woman. Others believed I should be freed, but didn’t know how. A few attempted but didn’t have the right tools. Some chastised me for being rebellious and unbiblical- they reminded me that I should be completely fulfilled and satisfied with the job of promoting my husband’s dreams and those of our children. I loved my family and set aside critical parts of myself to support them, but I was confused why God had planted dreams, gifts and vision in my heart as a young girl if my sole purpose was to be a mother and wife.
Realizing I would rot in this box, I broke out. The isolation in my eyes and exertion on my face was misinterpreted by many to be anger and rebellion. I had no desire to run away, all I ever wanted was a place at the table. I spent my life invisibly serving, scrubbing dishes and scraping mud off the floor- not just in the natural- waiting for the day I would be invited to take a chair. This was not about recognition or power; it was the craving to be accepted for who I am, to share what God placed in me for a purpose.
I am too exhausted from banging against the bars of my captivity to now fight for a chair. If that is what is required, I would rather spend my few years of freedom in peace. But I have daughters, and they will have daughters, and all will be born with the same craving for belonging, and they will carry the gifts and influence this broken world lacks and have voices that need to be listened to. So I return to climb atop my busted crate and with what is left of my broken, hoarse voice I appeal to the beloved church. Make room for your daughters. You need them and they need you.
Father, please mend this broken body so we can glorify you in the fullness and beauty You deserve.
Some of my favorite resources regarding women and the church