Many years ago there were called together a large group of women to discuss the problem of inequality of gender in the church’s operations. Most of these ladies were wives of powerful men of God or were powerful in themselves apart from their husbands. Some were single ladies that had not found their place in the Kingdom yet but were filling in anyplace that they could to promote the Kingdom of God. The question that was set before them was: ”How do we release the Church from the traditional role they have given women and loose the gifting for all to operate fully?” Unfortunately, there was no real solution for them to discover since one cannot do a quick-fix on something that is ingrained in our culture as a norm. A book was written as a result of this meeting.
I was one of those women.
So, when my husband and I were participating in a prayer type meeting this week, I was given a download from the Lord that truly surprised me. I started seeing these closed treasure chests that were in the chairs that the ladies of this group were occupying. “What, Lord?” He started talking about the chests being full of the richness of His wisdom and glory and that they were not given a chance to be opened up. “Who is at fault, the women or the men?” He explained that they were co-creaters in this scenario. The women, out of habit, sat quietly and let the men dominate the conversation and all the revelations that were coming forth. Two women had told me that the only reason they were at the meeting was to support their husbands in what it was they were doing in this group. What the Lord said made a lot of sense. As good Godly wives they wanted to be there for their husbands as they sat silent for hours so that the men could expound mighty things in the Name of the Lord. Did the women have something to say? Don’t know. But if they did, they would have had to interrupt a man as they were waxing eloquently. The men were excited and ramped up for this encounter with the Most High God and felt they were on the cusp of a greater revelation that was about to bust. They were feeding off of one another’s enthusiasm and were in tune with what the Spirit was about to pull out of His hat. But, not one stopped for a moment and looked to their wives and asked, “What do you think?” From the vision I was looking into, I saw that that was all it would have taken to” burst the pregnant belly” one fellow kept seeing that was ripe to come forth. It would have started a cloud of glory to gather over the group and none of the participants would have been the same. Since these men had previously voiced that they wanted to have the wives be more involved in the meetings and that they appreciated any input from them, I was sad to not see this happen. “Why did they not see that all they needed to do was to lift the lid on the treasure chests to see the amazing come into the room?”
The Lord answered me in a way I could relate. I am a visual person, so He shows me with pictures so that I can understand HIs heart. He reminded me of a trip we had made across the U.S. to Texas several years ago, and that at one point we had come across an area that the pioneers of old had traveled through on their way to the Oregon Territory. It had been reserved and the ruts that the wagons from the wagon trains had made remained preserved in the mud. I had been fascinated that these ruts had stayed in tacked after all these years. (It was black clay so that explains it; for those who have ever lost a good rubber boot in black clay.) With that visual in mind, I started seeing what the Lord God was trying to show me.
Each pioneer was leaving their homes and putting all their belongings in the back of a wagon and heading out to a better place. They wanted a fresh start and room to grow. Being totally in, but not totally sure what was ahead, these brave ones dared to experience something they were sure was a new thing and a greater thing for them to be a part of. With great enthusiasm they slapped the reins on the rumps of their beasts of burden and started the journey with full knowledge that there would be challenges along the way. But after months of travel and bad roads and bad weather, many were not as enthusiastic about the journey. I saw them as they came across the ruts of the previous pioneers and they were ready to set their wheels in those ruts and let the path be smoother and more sure and more safe. It was a tried and true trail and it was good enough for the ones that had gone to Oregon before them. Once you drop into those ruts you have a hard time getting out and it is just easier that way. Everyone knows the way because it is so clearly marked.
I considered this parable as I was looking at these men that were so sure they had not gotten stuck in those wheel ruts but were progressive and loved their wives beautifully. They just could not see that both genders had accepted the old ways without even believing they had done so. It was not that anyone was at fault, but it was an explanation I had been looking for all those many years ago in that gathering of women. To change the church’s idea of how to include both genders in the working and moving of the Holy Spirit, there first has to be a reckoning of them both of the fallacy that it is just easier to stay in the ruts. Breaking out is hard and not clearly marked, nor safe. It is full of insecurity, strife and a sense that you could lose your way off the true path. But the adventure factor is worth it all. There is better food, greener pastures, higher mountains and clearer water when the wagon train cuts their own path through the wilderness. They can stay in sight of the old trails but they are willing to pay the price to see all things new and fresh.
Unfortunately, I was not able to share this revelation with the group this week because of time restraints. That upset me for a while until I realized that I could use social media for the first time to get out this Word that was downloaded to me that day. Maybe there is someone else that has the same question in their heart as those women that had gathered in that long ago meeting. Maybe they would see this parable and God would make it to be clearer and deeper in their spirit and they can expand what was to only be said to a few and expand it to touch more lives, and maybe we can see a true breakthrough in this area for both genders. What adventures could we experience if we could blaze a trail through the traditions that keep us stuck in our comfort of the wheel ruts?