“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises” Hebrews 10:11-12.
I am thankful I am a woman.
I confess, there have been moments when I have thought it would be nice (as in more comfortable and easier) to be a man. Certainly, as I press more deeply to walk in my calling, there are days when I wish I could pull out a “man suit,” complete with burly musc(k)les (always add the ‘ck’ sound when pronouncing this…it has been Arnold’s greatest contribution to the state of California), deep voice, and a smooth pathway to “qualified and gifted” for ministry. But alas, my petite stature, tiny voice, and uphill struggle remind me daily, I am not a man.
And yet, I am genuinely thankful. Why?
1. Jesus is not ashamed of me. I rejoice that I am a member of those whom He calls brothers and sisters. He makes the distinction between genders, but does not fault or marginalize either. He cherishes both. I am thankful that He delights in my sisterhood.
2. Jesus pioneers my salvation…and the perfecting of its expression. Sometimes when you don’t have the musc(k)les to power something into being, you have no choice but to let Someone Else shoulder it. My weakness can comfortably rest on the shoulder’s of His sufficient strength.
3. Jesus understands my identity struggle. He understands what it means for others to view Him as less than the whole self He knew He was intended to be. He knows what it’s like to serve up an expression of the Spirit’s work and have someone only compliment Him for the tasty wine. There was much that Jesus offered in His earthly ministry that was rejected, scorned, and dismissed by others. He understands what it feels like for every ‘brother and sister’ who experiences pain in the devalued places.
4. God uses my gender to expose my places of unholiness. Through the issues I have struggled with regarding my gender, the Lord has tenderly, yet persistently, directed me to release pride, bitterness, envy, and self-trust. My sisterhood is specifically used of Him to shape me into a person of grace. Through this grace, I am reminded that I am just one member of a very large family who are all having their dysfunction (i.e. sin) taken to the woodshed of God’s correction. We’re in process…each and every last one of us. No doubt, we “brothers and sisters” must sound like squabbling siblings, fighting over an issue that has confused logic and hyperbolic emotions on both sides. Praise God, He is a patient Father!
5. I am glad that there are those who treasure the expression of the “sisters” in the congregation and use their platform to keep re-inserting the conjunction in “brothers AND sisters.” My heart takes courage from the diplomatic and biblical appeals of people like Sarah Sumner, David Scholer, and Anne Graham Lotz. This post was inspired by Scot McKnight. Thanks, Scott, for your post today and for faithfully valuing the expression of women as full ministry participants in the family of God. You can read his post here.
Are you a woman? Thank God for His fabulous design and “function” in it well. Are you a man? Find a woman and thank her today for her expression of God’s beauty, truth, goodness and love in the family. Trust me–it will mean the world to her!