Sunday, December 28, 2014

Time to Unpack Part 2 - Confession and Questions

Part 2 has been a long time coming... since my last post I've been busy. I had an annual ARD for my middle child, my youngest was diagnosed with a hearing impairment and we had her first 504 meeting, I passed my first and second kidney stones, my mom had a wee bit of surgery, I closed out the fall semester at work, hosted a couple of Christmas gatherings (one of which included 50+ people in my house) as well as did all my shopping and had family Christmas. Now, I'm in my jammies and finally finding time to get back to this post.  So, yeah, busy.

Even though I have been busy I wouldn't say the revelations I shared in my last post have left me.  Quite the contrary actually. They are on my mind all the time, usually followed up with the forever unanswered "what now?" question. But before I can answer that I have another confession to make. This one took me a little bit longer to wrap my head around and acknowledge, so forgive me if it is hard to articulate.

At the close of my last post I acknowledge all of the things that I packed away in the suitcase. The list included writing, teaching, and multiple leadership roles at church. I took gifts that God has given me and set them aside because I was confused about how to use them within the church culture I am a part of. Trying to figure that out had me questioning so many things that I gave up and put it away. I left something off the list though. Something I didn't even realize I was packing away. Surprisingly, God reveled it to me in the blacklight putt-putt course at Grand Station. (see - God can reach you anywhere!) Easy and I were having a surprisingly deep chat while we played through the course and he asked me what one thing would make me feel like I was moving forward spiritually. It took me a bit to find the words and then God gave them to me - Fresh Revelation - and in that moment I realized how foolish I have been. I had stopped seeking.

Now, don't get me wrong, God has still been teaching me things over the last several years. He teaches me through music and song, through shared devotional and study time in small group and classes, and through the preached word on Sunday mornings. He teaches me through family prayer time, and friends, and desk calendars. I am so grateful that He loves me enough to continue reaching out and speaking to me even when I am not purposefully and intentionally seeking fresh revelation from Him. Now that I know though... now that I realize I haven't been pursing Him... well, it's time to get out of the suitcase and start the journey again.

As I begin anew I realize I'm left with two main questions. Before I put them out there for you to think about, let me take a moment to say thank you to my friend and brother in Christ, Jason Fikes. Jason recently taught a three class series on the topic of women's roles in the church and it was sitting through his very well informed and well spoken class that prompted all this self reflection. More than just prompting the self reflection though, it started dialogue on the topic that is spilling over into a variety of settings and I do believe that is how growth and change begin. So, what are the questions I face now?

1) Does God gift women and men differently? Are there gifts not available to one gender or the other? Can a women be given the gift of teaching, prophecy, or even leadership? And if so, then how is she to use it?

2) What is authority? So much of the struggle with this topic is connected to the idea of authority. So what exactly is it? I understand authority within my marriage, and to a degree within the church structure I choose to be a part of. But outside of that, what is spiritual authority? Does it have an impact on my individual life? And is it connected in any way to whether one if male or female?

Time to dig deeper. I'll work on unpacking these questions as I continue to blog. I ask you earnestly to pray for me as I begin to journey again into a topic that it challenging and as I again submit to the call God has placed on me to use my mind and words to share all He teaches me with anyone willing to read or listen.