woman-preachingI was already nervous enough about preaching. I knew it was an honor to be asked to do so, especially considering I’d be only the second woman to ever preach in our church, and the first to do so on a day that wasn’t Mother’s Day. It was an honor… and a great responsibility.

While I felt encouraged and supported by the staff and many in the congregation, I knew I would meet resistance. People I know, love, and respect in our church family do not believe women should preach and have publicly expressed those views. I anxiously anticipated some opposition following my sermon, and even feared some condescending whispers during it. But I was caught off-guard when a certain comment made its way to me the night before.

My kind husband had thoughtfully posted something online, inviting people to come hear me “share the Word” (such an innocent phrasing, even though we all know sharing the Word is really just preaching). Several encouraging comments were made by dear friends, and I greatly appreciated all of them. But one woman, an acquaintance of my husband’s that I had never met, simply wrote, “SHE is going to preach?” If the ALL CAPS “SHE” didn’t give the tone of her message away, her emoji usage really drove her point home:


You know, the emoji face that looks like you swallowed sand and it’s stuck in your throat. And that’s exactly how I felt as I read her words: stunned, confused, uncomfortable, and hurt. Her comment spoke directly to my insecurity and doubt… and, as those things tend to do, they multiplied. It felt as if the countless hours I had spent in prayer, study, and preparation were all a waste, because this was not something that I should do. As if the sermon meant to bless God’s people was only going to cause pain and division amongst them. As if my pastor’s trust in me was misplaced.

I wish I could say her comment rolled off me, or that I got down on my knees and prayed for her, or even that I played Katy Perry’s “Roar” and danced around the house to blow off steam. I did none of the above. You know what I did? I cried. A lot. And when I had cried enough, my husband and I prayed, and I went to sleep. Because whether or not that lady or anybody else (including myself) liked it or not, I had to preach the next day. The bulletins were printed and the order of worship was set. There was no turning back now. Yes, SHE was going to preach. Insert emoji of choice here.

woman-preaching So, I preached… on Esther, my favorite book of the Bible. During my time in the pulpit, I saw no one whispering death threats or walking out in protest. After the service, several sweet friends and even total strangers came up to thank me for a message that blessed them. I was thankful and relieved – the church would live to worship another day.

But once the service had ended and the sanctuary had been cleaned up (an aspect of my job that no one has a problem with a woman doing), I gave myself pause to process all of the events and emotions of the past 24 hours… and of the past eight years, since my call to ministry. In 2009, I so clearly heard God’s voice call me to ministry and leave my dream career behind. In 2012, I followed God’s clear call to Spain, where I was blessed to serve the most amazing people with the most amazing churches. In 2015, I so clearly felt God lead me to seminary where I would be better equipped to live a life of ministry for the rest of my days.

So why… WHY… did I let a few smaller voices temporarily distract and dissuade me from the call that God had placed on my life?

Comments like the one posted, ones with words that hurt and don’t edify, are common to us all. I know I have regrettably used words to tear others down rather than build them up. Why, especially within the body of Christ, are we not cheering our sisters and brothers on in their walks and calls with God instead of judging or competing with them?

Let’s encourage one another and build each other up. Let’s cling to God’s truth and not to lies our wandering hearts occasionally believe. And no matter the opposition, let’s preach the Good News of Jesus. Because I can tell you right now… this SHE preached and is going to again. And next time I’m asked if SHE is going to preach, I’ll simply respond, “Why yes, yes she is.” Insert praise hands here.