How I Became an Egalitarian: Confusion, Doubt and Hope

This is Part 7 in a series that started here.

My confusion and doubt over my calling and God’s plans for me as a woman in ministry continued to cause considerable angst as I finished out my two years on staff with the Navigators, quit my research job and traded it in for another job, and then, at last, accepted an opportunity for a full time ministry position in the San Francisco bay area.

Working for a missions agency, my job was to advertise, mobilize, interview, train, send and lead short term missions volunteers.  The highlight of this season of ministry was the time spent counseling and encouraging the volunteers as well as the time spent with the students we met overseas.  I truly thrived on the opportunities of sharing about Jesus to those who had never really heard the true message of the gospel.

During this time, I functioned relatively well, day-to-day, but then I would have these moments of doubt creep up and immobilize me.  I can remember clearly one day when I had been asked to lead a devotional for short termers, which included men 20 or 30 years older than me.  While speaking, I became aware of their presence, and it made me stop in mid-sentence, as I wondered if they were wondering why in the world this “little girl” had the audacity to try to teach them something.

My confusion over my calling, my gifts, and the prevalent Bible interpretation was never far from my mind.  Even when I went on a road trip with my friends, we ended up having a discussion about this very topic.

On that trip, we ended up at a church in LA called Epicentre.  Kalam, Wendy, and I knew Pastor John and Evelyn Lo from the World Christian Conference, which is a missions conference.  We joined them for an evening service, and, as we were leaving, John and Evelyn asked if they could pray for us.  I was expecting a simple prayer of blessing for our journey, after all, we hadn’t actually had any conversation with them.  But that is not what we got.

They sensed a special message for each of us, all different, but all so uncannily accurate.

To me, John said, “MaryAnn, I feel that the Lord is telling me that you are a fire-starter.  You’re like a volcano about to erupt.  There are elders telling you, ‘no, no, no’, but you shouldn’t take their criticisms as a ‘no’ from God or to feel so discouraged that you shirk back.  That is not the answer.  The answer is intimacy with Jesus.  We rebuke back the words of harshness in Jesus’ name.”

I was stunned.  I had never experienced this kind of prayer before.  How did he know — ?

The three of us walked away in complete awe.  We talked back and forth about it for a good portion of the drive, concluding that it could not have been coincidental.  God must have given them insight into our hearts.  How else would he have known that there were elders in my life who had told me “no” or the passions and dreams in me that were welling up?  How would he have known of the spiritual fires God had used me to start or the ones that I felt destined to start?

I didn’t know what to do with the words of affirmation and prophecy except to put it in my back pocket, and then wait and see what would happen next.  Certainly, a tiny glimmer of hope was planted in my heart.  Maybe God wasn’t telling me “no” after all.

Click here for the next part in the series.


One response to this post.

  1. What an awesome message you received from the Lord through John! Thanks for sharing part of your story. Looking forward to finding out what happened next.


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