Last week in my meeting with Mary, we had some conversations that weren’t new to me.
“Can I get married and still lead something?” “I want to be a mom but I don’t want to stay at home with my kids – can I do that?” “Where are the women who can mentor me?”
And as we talked, she passionately told me about how she didn’t want to be mentored by a pastor’s wife just because she was a woman, she wanted to be mentored by a pastor. She wants to learn to lead.
“I don’t understand,” she said passionately. “Does nobody want more?”
“THAT is the question!” I said (aka yelled while pounding my hand on the table).
Here is my answer.
Yes, girl. We want more.
We want more than only being talked to about modesty. Whole retreats and services focused around how if we wear a bikini the men will have to gouge their eyes out to keep from eternal damnation caused by our radiant beauty. We want more than being told how thick our tank top straps should be while the boys are being talked to about how to share the gospel in adventurous ways. We honor our brothers. We honor our bodies. We get it. We are doing it. But we want more than being relegated to the shape of our bodies, the pressure to salvage the salvation of our male peers. But there is more to talk to us about. We want more.
We want more than only being talked to about sexual purity. Whole retreats and services focused around how the grace of Jesus just can’t extend to kissing boys. We want more than being told that we are a chewed up piece of gum or a torn up 20 dollar bill. We have fire in our hearts, we want to change the world, we are not thinking about our wedding nights. We might never get married. We want to be treated as whole, now. We want more.
We want more than being corralled into minister’s wives events to talk about the pressures of being a pastor’s wife. We are not pastor’s wives. Many of us are not wives at all. (We honor pastor’s wives, we think you are rockstars and we know you are giving your lives for the Kingdom. We need you.) We want more than being an addendum at the end of you telling the women that it’s enough for us to take a backseat to the spread of the gospel. We don’t want to take a backseat and sit in another room while the men discuss ministry strategy. We want to drive that car off a cliff, we want to give our lives to it, with or without a husband. We want more.
We want more than little girls being trained how to bathe babies and fold laundry while the boys go on camping trips. We want more than our young men not having a clue how to do laundry because they’ve been told they will find a wife that will take care of that for them. We want partnership. We want men who don’t need us to be small so they can feel big. We want to work together for the Kingdom.
We want more than your jokes about our emotional instability. We are not emotionally unstable, but we will become emotionally unstable if you don’t stop calling us that. We are powerhouses. We can preach. We can lead. We can counsel. We can nurture. We are not here for you to stand in front of us and joke about how we are manipulative. We are not manipulative. We are your co-laborers. And we want more.
We want more than crafts, we want more than baby showers, we want more than finger sandwiches. My God, give us a steak. Give us meat to chew and bones to spit out, give us hard work that makes our muscles grow and makes us hardy enough to withstand a storm or two. Give us hearts soft enough to be pierced at the slightest breeze of oppression and give us grit to fight like hell against it.
We want more. These girls are screaming to me, we want more.
This event I was at last week? I was completely beyond exhausted at the end of the day. As were all my female colleagues. Do you know why we were tired to our bones?
All. Day. Long. Young women came to us begging, crying, pleading, “We want more.”
Enough with the men deciding how to empower us. Let us speak. Let us tell you what we need. We are hearing from the next generation. We are hearing from the women in the generation before. Let us help you.
We. Want. More.
And I swear to you, I will give until I have nothing left until those girls get more.
(Also, a moment about my new friend Mary. She is pioneering a Chi Alpha [a Christian university ministry] at Spelman College, a historically black women’s college. She is going to do amazing things and still needs people to join her support team. If you’re fired up about this, that’s something you can do – get this young woman supported so she can build this amazing thing she is called to. Let’s make a difference and not just sit on our hineys, hey?)