Am I willing?

I sat down yesterday and pulled a book off the “to read” section of my book shelf. I have one small shelf where I keep books I find that I want to read and I’ve disciplined myself to not buy more books until there is room on that shelf. If not, I will have shelves of unread books bought with good intention.

With it being a holiday I had no where to be and nothing much screaming for my attention. It led to the rare event where I was able to sit cozy in my reading chair and read for hours. As I digested the message of this book, I marveled at the courage and strength bleeding from every page from the woman sharing her story in the book.

“The Making of Biblical Womanhood” by Beth Allison Barr is a historical look into the complementarian/egalitarian beliefs surrounding women in the church today. Though she does look at the Pauline scriptures that have long held men and women to certain “Biblical gender guidelines”, more of her book is about how history and certain Bible translations have literally been rewritten to exclude women in leadership.

It truly provides a fascinating voice on the issue and I highly recommend all Believers dive into the depths of this book and answer her “what if” questions on many of those Pauline texts. While I enjoyed her fresh perspective on the topic, what hit me the hardest was this.

With what could only be described as Holy Spirit given strength and courage, she literally uprooted her entire life for the sake of truth. And I find myself asking the question. Do I have the courage to do the same?

She comments in the book about how she remained silent on the topic for years. Not wanting to lose her friends, church family or uproot her children from only the life they had known, she chose to ignore the Patriarchal mentality taught in her large Southern Baptist Texan church. Totally understandable! But what she doesn’t mention, but comes with the territory is was she willing to put herself under the contempt of the Cessational complementarians in her denomination and the rest of the church?

Whoa.

And am I?

Double whoa.

I have long felt led to take the cancer journey I walked through and turn in into a beautiful theological and relatable commentary on suffering. It’s a dream I dream about regularly. To help the Body of Christ understand why bad things happen and give fresh perspection shown to me by the Holy Spirit through my own walk through suffering.

My beloved niece recently asked me, “What’s holding you back Aunt Day?”

And if I were to answer that in all honesty I would have to say, it is this rational (or irrational) fear of the Cessational complementarian reviews.

I confessed this to my husband today over lunch explaining how the story is so tender and personal to me I could not handle any nay-sayers questioning my “authority” to speak to the body because of my gender. I mean, I can just hear them. And it’s those fictional and nameless voices that have caused me to remain silent when I know the Lord has a lot to say through me.

My husband’s words to me were this: “Dacian, you need to let yourself have the freedom that you aren’t always going to knock it out of the park with every person. Your message isn’t going to be loved by everyone. And it’s okay if you and your message aren’t perfect.”

And I questioned him, “Is it though?” (I am somewhat of a perfectionist in life.)

He smiled at me and reminded me that Jesus was crucified by people who didn’t like his message. But that didn’t make his message an less truthful.

Instantly Holy Spirit spoke to me reminding me of Beth Allison Barr’s inspirational story of being willing to uproot her entire life for the sake of the truth. Her husband lost his job. She lost her church family. Her children lost their friends. Then HS asked me, “Dacian, are you willing to join me on the cross and be crucified by people who don’t agree with your message?

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 (TNIV)

Okay Lord. I hear you. Am I wiling to be crucified by people who are supposed to be “on the same team”? Am I willing to allow the truth flowing through me to be judged by people who should be wearing the same color jersey and headed in the same direction? Instead they mock me from the sidelines as they aren’t even in the game. Am I wiling to accept ridicule from those who should be supporting me, cheering for me and lifting me up but are instead tearing me down? Am I willing to be, like Christ and like my sister in the Lord Beth Allison Barr, crucified for truth?

Tears welling up in my eyes, I walked to my office where I started this blog post. YES LORD. I AM WILLING.

So this is my cry to the world. My confession of faith. My attempt at being transparent. I am willing and this book will be written in 2022.

Lord help me. Lord carry me. Lord sustain me. You are my strength and my shield. With the belt of truth wrapped around my waist (and all the other armor of God), I take that step in faith. Trusting your faithfulness, Lord. Lead me. Guide me. Speak through me. I am yours.

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