Thursday, March 26, 2009

She Speaks:

Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth.
Jean-Paul Sartre

I try not to "think too far ahead." I am afraid to dream, to look around the bend of "what's next."

I am someone who tries, but rarely balances, marriage, parenting, friends, family, seminary and pastoring. I work through scheduling snafus, wearing too many hats and never knowing if I've done enough. I get the subtle jibes for being a woman and a pastor.

I've worked jobs I despise to get experience in ministry and in churches, only to get pigeonholed in things that bore me to tears -- hospitality, databases, admin or children's ministry. I left behind music ministry when I got the not-so-subtle hints that I was aging-out of hipdom. Despite growing in my skills at teaching and preaching, despite hearing that I have gifts in speaking ministries, I am denied the pulpit.

Yet deep within, God has planted and nurtured a Call to go beyond the "ordinary" and fulfill a prophetic vision that I can scarcely bear to put into words.

My beloved often tells me that I need to take seriously the encouragement that I receive for not only my writing but my teaching/speaking. Truly, I'd like to. But because I've suffered under people with delusions of grandeur and the maxim "a little Greek is a dangerous thing," I frequently hesitate. That, and the constant awareness that being a "feminist" and a "biblical theologian" are antithetical in many a fundamentalist's mind. It makes me wonder if I can live up to the Calling that's before me.

However, this semester, after some concerted prayer with professors and fellow students who know me well, I'm prayerfully extending my wings. I'm networking, reading, and listening to people outside my usual sphere of contacts.

I'm allowing a fresh wind to sweep into my heart, and it's causing hope and joy to balloon up in ways that I've not felt in a long time.

A friend recently asked me, "what's holding you back?"
I cried. It's fear.

Fear that I will not represent the God I love in a way that is winsome and engaging to the people who need to meet God the most.
Fear that I am not able to handle the stress of moving into a new phase of public ministry.
Fear that I am going to be shot down, deflated yet again by people with their own agendas and ideas for my life.
Fear that I will not be present for my family when they need me.

I just heard about a conference that I am going to try to attend this summer. It's called She Speaks and it holds promise for women like me who are standing on the edge of their Calling and life purpose.

It's July 31-August 2 in Concord, NC. Financially, with summer school and The Harpist starting college in the fall, things are a little tight. One possibility is that by posting this story on my blog, I'll be one of the lucky ones who gets a scholarship.

Dare I dream that I'll get a scholarship? Or be one of the lucky ones who can get that final boost to launch?

She Speaks has seminars in speaking, teaching and writing. There are opportunities to listen, engage and imagine. Dare I dream?

If not this place, or this opportunity, then God knows where.

I am daring to dream. And to move forward into the places I hear God calling. I am not stepping back again.

Pray me through, will you?



Lisa Laree said...

Yay, Deb!!!!

QuakerPastor said...

You GO girl!!
Holding you in the light and love of God

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I am so excited for you!!!!! You deserve a scholarship more than anyone I know.

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Praying for your dream and wishing you luck in the contest! I'll dare to dream along with you :-)