Saturday, November 13, 2004

femme fatal (not fatale)

this past year a lot of my emerging surrounds who i am as a woman. most of you know i come from a heritage where being a woman in the church really meant we were second class citizens in the kingdom of god, bearing the curse of eve in silence.

last week was very helpful for me in many ways, but one of the most important was reclaiming a bit of what it means to be a woman in the kingdom of god. i have no role models for this, i'm really flying by the seat of my pants here. my giftings look so little like the women who are allowed to serve publically that i really have very few role models or a place to fix my sites on to set my course.

one of the greatest ah-ha moments that happened last week was that i have modeled myself and the use of my gifts after men because there are so few women role models that are similar to my personality and passions. setting my course to track after a male role model has brought me a lot of disaster. i am not a man. when i try to use my gifts and model the masculine (because i know no other way) i am floundering and off-key, i am also not well received and people can sense my ackwardness and discomfort so much so that it becomes their own.

i don't know if this is making any sense, but what i know is that in order to use my gifts and passions in the kingdom i must find a way to do so as a woman, not as a woman trying to be a male version of a woman. this has nothing to do with sexuality, it has to do with owning my soul. i just truly don't know what it looks like to do that. i so long to minister from my soul, instead of trying to create what i think it's supposed to look like and making everyone, especially myself very uncomfortable.

the only place where i have had any success is in the classroom. i have had many positive role models in this area - i know what it means to be myself infront of a classroom, i am at home there. i just don't have a clue what it looks like to be 'me' in any other situation in the kingdom, yet.

i am surrounded by women who either are totally comfortable in their frilly, tablecloth, hospitality or fake it really well. i just know i've tried, and i suck at it. i really do. but i can't seem to figure out how to walk away from that stereotype and be myself. heck, i don't even know what 'myself' really looks like.

i feel like a version of me. i never realized this before last week. i never really knew how totally dissatisfied i am with the 'status quo' here. i have attempted for four years to find my niche at our church. the need is great, everyone is SO busy, overworked and in need of help, but every time i volunteer i am shrugged off or patronized, smiled at and not called. okay, i've got the hint. i get it. there isn't any place for me here, i'm okay with that, but i can't really believe that is true.

as far as my church is concerned i'm not 'fit' to lead a table discussion group at the women's bible study. i'm not trying to brag, but i really know my bible. i would have no problem leading the study, i can understand not being asked to do that, it's quite a status left to the sr. pastor's wife and her friends, but not even a small group, it just stuns me.

i went through the 301 class and my interview last january and was told 'well, it will probably be november before we have anything for you'... well, it's november and here i sit. it's not like i'm looking to do up front power things either. i was volunteering for administrative things, for which i have tons of work experience, and still i am overlooked. it's such a weird place to be, my husband is on staff, but they have no need of me. i help with his ministry, but will not sacrifice my children for theirs, so maybe that's what it's about, i really don't know.

i just know it feels really good to be getting this 'out'. it's been making me a bit nuts. i lived with it before, but now that i've experienced real community and been with other women who truly accepted me for who i am (granted it was only 5 days, but i don't think it was artificial in any way) and i saw/felt what it was like to be a part of something bigger than myself - and it felt good, really good.

i started to verbalize some of this with liam and he's not receiving it well. he thinks he needs to fix it, or that i'm becoming dissatisfied and therefore it means i think it's time to 'move on' or oh heck, i really don't know what he's thinking, other than it makes him really uncomfortable.

and maybe i do think it's time to move on. i have no heart for the seeker sensitive church any longer, that i am sure of. people matter more to me than programs now. i'm tired of being so busy with nothing that i don't even know my neighbors.

i know that this means i need to divest myself of churchy junk and invest myself here in my community, i'm just not sure where to start.

being female in my church growing up meant no one got to serve, i think it's almost worse here, only the pre-approved women, who are very similar and like-minded get the stamp of approval. it's like a popularity club and i didn't make the cut. i tried to re-make myself into their image and i just ended up hating me as much as i disliked them. i know there's got to be a solution. i know god has protected me from ministering in an unsafe environment, but it still is so frustrating and discouraging to be sifted and found wanting.

i could even handle that if they verbalized why. if they took the time to mentor me, or give me small tasks where i would be allowed to prove myself.

i guess i am ready to move on. to find a place better suited to both of us. i know that will freak my family out. i don't mean tomorrow, but i do know i need some hope, something to look forward to. i am normally a really content person. i just know that i tasted something sweet and i know there is more of it 'out there' - i just don't like the thought of not having it again.

thanks for listening to me whine. i feel a lot better putting this out there. this would be a lot easier if i had a career that met this need, there isn't. i've never wanted anything other than to fulfill the call god has on my life. i'm figuring out what that is and what it looks like, but not how or where to use it yet. i know that will come, i just wish it was sooner rather than later.

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