This week I’ve been pondering how incredibly faithful my God has been, and how I find myself in a place I’d never quite believed was coming. I’ve tried to convey those ideas by writing a letter to a spectacularly insecure, teenage Jen (and, perhaps, to others like her). Apologies in advance if it’s fantastically pretentious!
Those absurd dreams God gave you; they’re happening. Hang on in there.
When it’s midnight and you’re still reading. When the exams extend impossibly far into the distance. When the finish line doesn’t appear even remotely in sight. Hang in there. When you’re a long way from home and it doesn’t make sense. When you’re just really tired. Hang on.
Hang on. When those verses about the church being a place where everyone is valued, needed and welcomed don’t quite ring true. When you can see the eye telling the hand it needs it, and the head doing the same to the feet (1 Corinthians 12: 12-26), but you’re feeling much more like the appendix, your presence inexplicable and somehow surplus to requirements.
Hold on, when you can’t see anyone (and certainly no women…) whose life looks like the one you yearn for. When you question whether your ambitions and dreams are valid, or somehow worldly, secular, squalid. When you come back from youth conferences and wonder if your passionate belief in gender equality is maybe something someone should pray with you about…
You’re going to find a church, a community, you love, and which loves and supports you back. Which doesn’t take the easy way out. Who couldn’t care if what you’re doing fits into a preconceived, cultural Christianity. They’re going to teach you that God loves loud, outrageously ambitious women who are mildly terrified of helping with the children on a Sunday.
You’re going to represent people. In a real courtroom, in real cases. Your papers are going to arrive in that pink ribbon that Martha Costello’s do. You’re going to have a horsehair wig in a cake tin in your wardrobe.
And, yes, that’s all patently ridiculous. But God had a plan. God has a plan. God is incredibly faithful. Humans are flawed, and will hurt you. God won’t.
Oh, and finally, Jen: this week you stood in a room arguing against a number of fairly angry men and you held you own. You were, admittedly, panicked in no small measure and fearful of being unmasked as the fraud you felt you were. But you had no doubt it was what you were made to do, and it was clear you were not made to do it quietly. So, please, next time someone tells you to be mild, submissive and silent, remember that.
Jen (circa. 2017)