To my dear daughter,
There is going to be a time when you are going to ask me why some people don’t like my job. Some people will confuse me with Daddy as the pastor. Some of your friends and classmates are going to tell you what their parents think about me as a female pastor. There are going to be times when you are going to see Mommy cry after a rough board meeting. So when you read this, you will understand why.
On July 8, 2015, Mommy was able to sit in on one of the most major business sessions of the General Conference. It was the 60th session for the SDA church. This was important because the discussion of women’s ordination was about to be voted. Thousands of people were in attendance in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, listening to delegates from around the world put in their two cents about this topic. Mommy was nervous sitting with a couple of friends listening to each argument. Many said yes, but it felt as though more were saying no. Every time I would hear a delegate vote “no”, it felt like they were personally stabbing me in the chest. It was painful to even hear the audience applauding those who were against WO, felt like I was being choked. To even hear a female delegate vote “no” was like a betrayal along with a serious backstabbing. But to hear of those advocating for WO was like a breath of fresh air, a sigh of relief. I was happy to know that there were at least someone out there who cared about me and was willing to speak on my behalf. Former GC President, Jan Paulsen, advocated for a yes vote and while he was speaking there were delegates booing him. I was dumbfounded to see pastors and church leaders being so disrespectful. But I was thankful for Jan Paulsen. He made me feel like I was special in the Lord’s sight for being a minister of the gospel. The moment we were all waiting for, 60% of the votes said no. Yes, it was heart breaking for Mommy to go through this. To sit there and hear that vote passed made me feel that my calling from God was not validated. Something as little as gender is the reason why Mommy is unable to be officially “ordained.” After hearing the vote, the president of the North American Division, Dan Jackson wanted to meet with all of the delegates and women clergy of our division to assure us that we are valued. It was comforting to know that our division president affirmed women pastors. We were asked to stand up and the room was filled with a standing ovation. It brought tears to my eyes to see the amount of people who fully supported women’s ordination. They took the time to pray for us, I was with your Aunty Trina and we were surrounded by pastors, conference presidents, and delegates in prayer. We were encouraged at the end in the midst of pain from the disappointment that had risen. Your grandmother and Aunty Whit-Whit texted me and said to keep moving forward while your grandfather reminded me that my calling was from God.
I just want to say sorry that you are going to have to witness some of Mommy’s struggles as a female pastor. That vote made Mommy sad but at the same time encouraged Mommy to continue to preach the gospel. Even though Mommy won’t be ordained by our conference any time soon does not mean that Mommy is not ordained by God. God is greater than the GC vote. His ways are greater.
If by some remote chance that you consider to be a pastor like Mommy when you grow up, just make sure that it’s because God has called you to be a pastor. Also, realize that the journey will not be easy. You are going to have people tell you that women can’t be pastors. They will avoid using the title “Pastor”. They will overlook you for someone less qualified. They will call you a feminist and a heretic. They will tell you that God is not pleased. They will even tell you that you will never find “Mr. Right” because of your decision of being a pastor. They would even tell you that there is no point of being a pastor since you are unable to be ordained.
But just tell them, “Correction: I am naturally ordained.” Before you were born, God knew you by name which was why He gave me your name years before you were born. Along with that your “ordination” took place when you were conceived. God has plans for you, He has a calling for your life. Your grandfather once told me, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” You may not understand it now but when you get older and look back over your life, it will all make sense. Just remember to stay faithful to whatever calling you have in your life.
Mommy will be okay, because God has my back. Plus, God has used Mommy in a powerful way to bring others to Him. Lives were transformed by His grace. This was even before Mommy was even an official pastor, so imagine what He will do through me in the future.
Mommy loves you!
Forever naturally adorned and ordained,
Nisha (Mommy) ❤
*Disclaimer: no, I am NOT currently pregnant 🙂 *