Originally published Monday, 23 May 2016.
I waited to share a word that I believe God gave me in Scripture a few months ago because I was scared.
One of the benefits to reading through the Bible in a year--is anticipating which Scripture verse God might speak to me. Through each page, chapter and verse--the Holy Spirit illuminates the voice of God and His Truths. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (ESV).
But, what about a woman of God? Where is her place? How is she to fulfill her calling? When does this happen? Why?
The Hebrew word, Antropos, does not mean man only--but a human being, whether male or female. I am no feminist, but I believe a woman's place stretches far beyond the tents women used to call home during Bible times. She is equally created by God to do great works planned for her long ago (Ephesians 2:10). Some women are single, married, widowed, or divorced. In each unique place and stage of life--women hold significant value.
But what about the church?
I am woman hear me war is the battle cry of my heart for women in the church.
I feel like my whole life I've been waiting for a ministry invitation to be more involved, but because I'm not popular, wear lacy clothing, or love the color pink (I do love the color hot pink, does that count?)--I'm not chosen for the role of a lifetime.
I'm not asked to speak.
I'm not invited to participate.
I am woman hear me war is actually found in Exodus 38:8.
I almost missed its eternal significant while reading through my Bible, but there it was!
"He made the basin of bronze and its stand of bronze, from the mirrors of the ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting."
Twice, I almost missed it.
Ministering and ministered are the same Hebrews word, Tsaba', which means to go forth, wage war, fight, serve. It's actually mentioned twelve times in the Old Testament.
I am woman hear me war is not for the faint of heart.
Only after a woman overcomes her gender stereotyping, brushes her feet off at the hidden "Unwelcome" mat at the entrance to her church, all while making sure her family is taken care of at home--there's still a war to fight!
As a woman called to the church, I have never felt so much shame, stares, and uncomfortable silence when I tell people what I do. I never did fit the mold. I wasn't married right out of high school or even college. The more I wrote books and followed God's call on my life--I can honestly say that only a handful of churches hosted me to speak.
When I got married I thought the red carpet would be rolled out, and the "Welcome" neon flashing sign would suddenly appear over the doors of the church--my church. It never happened.
Numbers 8:24 says speaking of Tsaba' that every Levite "from twenty-five years old and upward...shall do duty in the service of the tent of meeting."
This same service and duty is not only extended to the Levites or those who minister in the tent of meeting, but the women who minister in the entrance of the tent of meeting, and the men who go to war. I love how God left no one out!
I am woman hear me war spells out a woman's place in the church whether single or married.
2 Kings 25:18-21 shows the male version of Tsaba'. The, I am man hear me war battle cry. The end result was unfortunately not pretty nor pink. The men of war were literally struck down and put to death by the king of Babylon.
War is serious. It's literally used to "minister" for the souls of men and women, and it's also used to go forth and wage war! Maybe that's why I was afraid to share it when I read this verse back on January 30th.
I must admit.
When I first read this verse and looked up its meaning I was curious. What did it look like in the Old Testament for women to minister at the church? What I found was not at all what I expected. I was shocked and surprised. It's no wonder I've never read it in a book, heard it preached, or listened to its far from charmed meaning in a podcast.
I am woman hear me war gives me the right perspective of women's ministry and arms me for battle.
As an active participant of today's Christian church, of which I am already feeling left out, I no longer feel sorry for myself. I'm so glad I uncovered this hidden gem because it reminds me of my unique place. Standing alongside my fellow women serving in the church. I don't have to wait to be invited to speak or drafted to attend a conference. I am volunteer.
Did you hear me?
I can volunteer!
I can even become a sponsor (gasp)!
I can sign up to bring a meal to a woman who has just given birth at the church. I can host a small group at my house or pray with a friend who is struggling with her health. I can fight for purity in singleness and in marriage.
I can fight because I am a woman--so hear me war!
I am woman hear me war is for all the other women who are waiting in the shadows just waiting to be asked. It's time to link arms, pick up our prayer lives and fight. Serve one another in love. Spur one another forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24, my life's verse).
I am woman hear me war doesn't wait to be asked. She doesn't look for position. She doesn't compare herself to her fellow soldier because she knows she shares the same fate as the rest--death. War is dangerous. A "key" position might mean the front lines of a battle. I am woman hear me war guards her heart and her life knowing there's more at steak--people's souls.
I must confess that there have been so many times I've coveted a "key" ministry position only to watch it being offered to another woman. I was devastated. I knew I had so much to give, so why wasn't anyone asking me? Then, after enough time I realized that we were in this war together. We needed each other to stand and fight the battle.
The battle may belong to the Lord, but the battle is still fierce--and that is why I am glad I read this passage because my whole life I have felt like I needed validation from God and the church to be just that.
I am woman hear me war supposes an army of women who minister together on behalf of the Kingdom of God knowing the hour is at hand. The bridegroom is returning soon.
Are we ready?
Is she ready? Is he?
Are you ready to serve?
You might think twice before answering those questions now that you know what's being asked of you. A "yes" to women's ministry is a call to war, and a battle cry for the hearts and souls of our sisters in Christ.
Question: Are you ready to go to war?