By Aiden Willis
When she first realized that she felt “the call into ministry”, I put this in quotations because I feel as Christians we are all called to ministry, she was very overwhelmed with a lot of emotions, thoughts, and honestly lies from Satan. The thought and feeling that outweighed them all was, “Lord this is too much for me, the burden is too heavy.” She remembers going to people a lot and wanting to hear their thoughts, did they think it was a good idea?...could she really minister to and shepherd young adults?
She kept on trucking and trusted the Lord. She decided not to go to graduate school, this was her senior year of college, so it was a BIG deal. She kept struggling internally with the fact that the majority of the Christian spaces she was apart of were majority white. Keep in mind her parents have done a great job of surrounding her with people who have had different life experiences than she had, so she was not uncomfortable being around her white brothers and sisters in the faith. Where she struggled was finding other strong black women in the faith who were doing vocational ministry as a career choice and were in direct proximity to her. This would be something she continued to struggle with for the next two and a half years. Her heart would continue to grieve and she would constantly ask the Lord for more.
Over these past few years, she has found many life lines in podcast, excellent popular biblical teachers, and some writers. What she continued to struggle with is finding more than a hand full of black women in ministry that are easily accessible. Now don’t mistake her wanting to be able to have more of these women accessible to her, for there not being any Black Women she could get on her computer and find. Through Youtube, and social media she found a few, and they were/are POPPING! But representations in her everyday life was becoming more and more important as she pursued her career in ministry. When she thought about the campus ministry that she was surrounded by in undergrad, majority of those leaders were white. Now while they taught her, led her well, and sanctified her well, she began to realize that there wasn’t much room to be all of who God called her to be if the women leading her didn't really understand her.
She also felt and still sometimes feels the pressure to be the advocate for all black people who are in her immediate spaces. In some respects that pressure is a reality, when you are the only one person of color or the only woman of color in the area of ministry you have been called into, whether you wanted to or not. This woman grew up in a suburb where she never was quite black enough for her black friends or white enough for her white friends...does this sound familiar to any of y’all? While that was her experience, she now has many girlfriends whose experiences were vastly similar and different. Our experiences and upbringings are what shapes us as adults and also how we relate to God. What’s even cooler about God, is that He can bless two women with very similar upbringings, but give them different ways they relate to Himself, different sin areas that teach them dependence on Him, and different giftings. Hallelujah and Amen for a Father who created us to all be so uniquely different and yet all worship the same great Abba!!
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. “
Now if there is only one black woman in a ministry position, how exactly is she supposed to bring respect and honor to all the black experiences in the world!? Especially if she doesn’t know all the experiences black women encompass!! Somebody cue Kanye’s, “How Sway!!” HOW!!” Lord it is a calling and the crown is HEAVY!
Now we can keep lamenting about how hard the job is, which I think there is room for and we hope BEAM creates that space for Black women. Or, I can talk about the gift this calling brings. There is nothing quite looking my black sister in the eye at church and laughing at something only me and her would understand. There is nothing quite like the joy I feel when I see a black woman find her voice in a majority space. There is nothing quite like the way I am able to cry with and relate to another black woman when she is pain. There is nothing quite like being the black woman who gets to remind the majority that black women are one of God’s greatest creations.
This verse in Philippians also helps me catch my crown when it starts slipping. The calling and purpose the Lord as put over my life is not one that is meant to glorify myself but rather Himself. Ladies we are the Lords joy and crown, His greatest creation. When God looks at us He sees image bearers of His son. We must stand firm in the Creator of the created and know that His heart longs for us. Not out of need for us, but out of sheer want and love for His Children. Black women we are His beloved; as the crown gets heavy, catch it, and rest in His sweet love for us.