I remember the first time I thought I wasn’t cut out to be a church lady.
I was a tomboyish little thing in my early teens. Lavender glasses masked a solid 80% of my face, and I wore a mouthful of shiny braces with my No Fear t-shirts. Hockey posters of the Vancouver Canucks wallpapered my bedroom.
My family and I were sitting in a mauve pew (mauve was BIG back then) one Sunday at our trendy home church. The announcement slides were scrolling brightly along on two giant screens.
One of them caught my eye:
Hockey On The Big Screen! Come Friday to Watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs!
My little heart leapt. For a brief moment, I was as giddy as a hockey-obsessed nerd could be.
But then I read the fine print at the bottom of the screen.
“Oh. It’s only for guys,” I thought, a little dashed. “Well that seems unfair. Can’t girls watch hockey? Why doesn’t the women’s ministry have that?”
After that, I paid attention. I noticed that the boys were doing all sorts of cool stuff: pancake breakfasts, water-ski weekends, hiking, movie nights. The ladies’ ministry, on the other hand, seemed a bit (A LOT) boring; it was all hors devours and nail painting and oh-so-many studies on servant hood. Boys got high fives for just coming to church. The girls had to work.
And did I mention that thing about the PANCAKES?
As I inevitably developed into more of a woman with each passing year, I became frustrated. Why couldn’t I feel at home in women’s ministry? I’m a woman. I love Jesus. Why couldn’t I connect with any of the activities I’m supposed to connect with? Why didn’t fashion nights and bread baking and creating stunning centerpieces do it for me?
Even after I moved to another church, I sat in my pit of loneliness and isolation for an embarrassingly long time. I thought it was the church’s problem, and I planned to pout on the outskirts until they got it together.
But I needed to get it together.
Because the church is not them. The church is me. And if I don’t feel connected or inspired, then I need to change something, not wait for someone else to. They’re just figuring it out for themselves. I am responsible for my church. For His church.
So I swallowed years of fear and not-good-enoughness and offered what was in my hand. I paced for a full hour before sending the email to our Women’s Ministry pastor. I thought my idea would be rejected.
I thought I would be rejected.
But I wasn’t. They loved the idea; they loved the weird; they loved the different.
They loved me.
It’s been over two years and my rather out-of-the-box heaven sent idea is still going strong. I can’t quite believe it.
In all my snap judgments and insecurity and self-imposed exile, I was missing out.
I was missing out on women.
Women who craft gorgeous centerpieces while talking theology. Women who may bake a mean meatloaf but can preach the house down. And countless women like me who spent years feeling lost and way too different to cut it as a church lady.
All these powerful women who are chasing after change.
Who are inspiring me to chase after change.
To stand up and ask for the pancakes.
I almost let my ego get in the way of all that.
I thought that if I didn’t feel part of the body, it was the church’s fault.
But, what do you know, it was actually mine.