My Arsenal

March 13, 2024 0 By Mirm

For years I have chosen to weaponize certain things that should not be considered weapons. Things like my gender, my age, my marital status are not liabilities, only realities that can be seen as gifts and tools or weapons and chips on a shoulder. Life is full of choices and rather than weaponize things I am learning to see them as ways to help others in the margins who have their own unique realities.

I have worked in a predominantly male environment for most of my career and sometimes it has not been a welcoming  environment.  ‘Women in ministry’ has been a hot button for all my life; I was raised in a church culture that devalued gender, age and more, often unintentionally – at least I want to believe so.  In ministry, more than secular culture, women are often painted in a certain light; I have been the recipient of both disdain and praise for the choice to answer God’s call for full-time ministry.  I have never wanted to be a trailblazer but I have wanted to be true to both scripture and an example for my kids biological and otherwise.

Life in ministry can be a challenging place to navigate and I have often wondered how to have my voice respected and heard. I have been fortunate for all the advocacy I have known, especially Jim, Harold Adams and Bob Brouwer (all men BTW).  They are 3 of many I have worked with who have been receptive and able,  and who have not seen my gender or age as a liability and always treated me as an equal.

There are unique challenges to being a female in a predominantly male space.  I have, for the most part, learned to treat those challenges as an opportunity to do my job well and faithfully as a member of the team, regardless of and because of the differences we each bring to the table.

In recent years, I think I have shifted and begun mentally to use my status (widow), my age (boomer) and my gender (she/her) as a chip on my shoulder. This is not a good thing. I woke up last week, with the nudge of the Holy Spirit, to realize that I was weaponizing qualities He has given to me, thinking I had to prove or defend my worth. This stance has and can actually keep me from being effective. Rather than enter any space with a chip on my shoulder, I want to see the ways God has wired me and is faithfully using me. When I see my gender or age or marital status as layers of gifts I am better able to pay attention to the unique and diverse issues I/we all are given.  Using my differences as vehicles of hope instead of weapons creates awareness of what it took to gain a seat at the table. Further, it creates sympathy and sensitivity to the things that others work through to gain access to the table. In fact, perspective turns my liabilities into strengths and my “weapons” into agents of grace to help others remove their own obstacles/chips to get a seat at the table.

The Lord has allowed me to minister not because I am gifted enough or smart enough or good enough but because He is. I do not have to be enough because He is. May I always be obedient for such a time as this. May all my weapons be turned into plowshares.