Two weeks ago, a woman felt she needed to call me at 9:30 p.m. because she had “discerned” that I had rejection issues about men and that’s why Equipping Lydia was a ministry to women. The words she spoke to me were full of anger and accusation. She felt that it was her Christian responsibility to share the “truth” of what she had “discerned about me”. I would describe her words as, “she racked me over the coals, gave me a good tongue lashing”. If I had agreed with her assessment of me after the call I would have turned in my resignation and quit the ministry altogether because she told me I was not “fit to lead until I was healed from my rejection issues with men.” I was nauseated when the call concluded and I cried.
Her words were not loving or gentle.
I have been in the company of this woman one time more than three months ago. We had no relationship. She asked me if men could attend one of our formation opportunities, I shared with her that EL is not a ministry for men and that the group would not be open to men. The group was created to be a safe place for women to share with other women. I did offer to come to her group that included men and teach. When she left, I felt like she was going to contact me to do just that. She didn’t call.
More than three months later she decided to call me to tell the “truth” about my “why”, and “the areas where I needed to be healed” based on me promoting EL as a ministry for women and seeing a few “FB post”. Because of her verbal attack I took a pause to see what God was inviting me to discover about myself.
There is an invitation in every experience.
I discovered that she had discerned wrong. My rejection issues haven’t come from men, but from women like her who have made the decision to believe their negative perceptions, assumptions, hearsay etc., about me rather than taking the time to get to know me.
However, the good that would be birthed out of this verbal assault would be the solidification of the “why” to my call to serve women.
I have had lots of experiences with being criticized, and verbally attacked. I was bullied so much in school that I graduated a year early from high school not because I was so smart but because I was tired of the rejection and the bullying of my female “peers”. This bullying hasn’t stopped, I still have experiences of being bullied by women in various ways as an adult.
I am called to create and hold safe places for women because although I have experienced rejection from women, I have met, I have friendships and I have family members who are women that are authentic, loving, supportive, empowering and safe. I want every woman I know to have these types of relationships with other women. Women need to see and experience these attributes in one another. This is one of my ministry assignments; to bring women together. There is so much division between women that they need safe places to become allies and not enemies.
Cloaking criticisms, accusations, and negative judgments in “because the spirit told me to” is a form of spiritual abuse. It is not safe. God's Spirit is loving, gentle and without condemnation.
It is a also a form of persecution. This type of abuse is one of the reasons women need to be in spaces with other women who are willing to extend grace and acceptance if they perceive or see a weakness in another woman. It is through the building of relationships that honest sharing happens. We are called to call forth the divine spark in one another not use harsh words and devise strategies to extinguish that divine spark.
..to be continued.....see part 2