Someone once called me a ‘Free Spirit’. At the time I didn’t quite understand what they meant. But as I became older I realized exactly what they were implying – I’m the kind of person that exercises her freedom to make her own choices. As a young woman, many of my decisions brought pain to not only myself but others as well. But as I matured, married and had children my ‘can do’ attitude has inspired me to accomplish many things for the good, and hopefully those decisions have inspired others as well.
In many cultures women have little if any rights at all. If married, they are required to answer to their husbands for just about everything. Even today it is difficult for me to see women that are required to walk behind their husbands along with having their bodies covered from head to toe. I understand that where they come from this is common practice, like a religion. But in America, their practices seem so out of place and degrading. I understand this would be a long shot, but give me one hour with any of these women and maybe, just maybe, I would be able to convince them otherwise.
All throughout my life my free spirit has led me to make my own decisions. Yes, even in marriage. I was raised in a family with a mother who was quite strong, and independent. I never heard her ask the the approval of my father for things she aspired to do and never did I hear my father demand her to seek his permission.
Thankfully I married a man who, like my father the late Marinus “Bob” Nielsen, is very strong, but not demanding. We’ve both come from spiritual backgrounds where woman have rights both in marriage and in the governments of the church. Biblical rights that allow women the freedom to serve the Lord in the capacity that God has called them. Yes, even as pastors – And I’m not referring to the confines of children or youth ministry, I’m talking about senior pastors – representing Jesus in the pulpit to an adult congregation.
Over the last 15 years I have had many welcome my calling and of course there have been those, a small percent actually, who have scoffed at my title – which led me to write “Woman Preach” listing a number of scriptures that showcase biblical truths regarding God’s call for women to represent Him in many positions, including pastors and teachers.
From time-to-time I have encountered some men that have visited our church who appeared to be concerned with my strengths – for fear that my personality may influence their wives. Believe it or not there are many religions in our culture that use verses (read Woman Preach) designed to deprive women of their God-given rights and freedom.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I discuss important life decisions together, but when it comes to what I believe the Lord is leading me to do, I’m not required to seek my husbands approval. I simply share with him what the Lord is leading me to do and he is always supportive.
We’ll never see God force anyone to do what he says. Not even when it comes to their beliefs. He never crosses the line by forcing them to choose Him. He’s a loving God that has given humanity freewill.
Ladies, there are many strong women throughout the Bible. God loves women and he has given us freedom. Freedom to pursue our dreams and callings. Freedom to make our own decisions. Freedom to be all he has called us to be.
Allow me to encourage you – don’t allow fear of making mistakes keep you from accomplishing your goals and dreams. Just like any man, woman or child we will make mistakes, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try.
Exercise your freedom. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:6