Sweating as my stomach did flip-flops, I marveled at my stage fright before last Tuesday's sermon #2. Surely by now I had established that the males in my class were friendly fellows. Encouraging, even. So I relied on the deep breathing exercises that reduce anxiety as I watched a fellow student preach. I wanted to break out into full-fledged yoga stretches, but refrained. Mercifully, I was second in line.
I shared a story from Debbie Alsdorf's book Deeper, about how her pastor-husband left her with two small boys, and her world shattered in an instant. I told them how Debbie's body couldn't handle an antidepressant of any kind, and of how Debbie's well-meaning friend suggested she read Psalm 139 throughout the day. Debbie was desperate, so she copied the passage at Kinko's and read it morning, noon, and night. She even set a stopwatch to remind her to read it more often. About three weeks in, her depression began to lift. She read it like this for one full year and God restored her life, and helped her to understand that He created her and is always protecting her.
My central truth: "These precious pages protect us." I talked about Psalm 19:7-11 and the over-the-top descriptions David used to describe God's Word.
In an attempt to describe my first point, that God's Word can be trusted to bring virtue to our lives, I talked about verse 7, where "refreshing the soul" means it preserves and rescues my life. I spoke of how we are all the "simple" or the morally inexperienced.
I told of a friend in addiction recovery who moved away from casual hookups to finding the hope she needed in the truth of God's Word. The power in this book to change our lives is palpable, true, amazing. (Just watch the movie Book of Eli if you want a visual picture.)
Second, I shared how God's Word brings priceless value to our lives. The most precious substances in the Near East -- gold and honey -- couldn't compare in David's mind with the value of God's law. "By them is your servant warned, and in keeping them there is great reward."
Honoring God's Word actually saves our skin! The Bible is not a battering ram, although unfortunately, some of us have felt bruised rather than blessed when others use it inappropriately. Instead, it is God's gift to us. Infinitely valuable, precious, and needed. It should have the effect of making our hearts happy and of giving light to whatever path we are on (v. 8).
These precious pages protect us. The challenge is to study and value them on the heart level, so that when a crisis hits the fan, we are armed and ready.
And so my sweating stopped and my quivery stomach stilled. As I looked up, my professor offered words of praise and encouragement that literally blew my mind. Is it a testament to my femaleness that I told him I wasn't that good? I wanted to get down on my knees and to thank my heavenly Father for bringing me this far, for showing me that His daughters can offer biblical truth in a truly feminine and excellent way. And so I thank Him now. Thank you, Father. Girls matter in your Kingdom. I'm starting to see that ever-more-clearly now.
Are you searching for the biblical support for women speaking in the church? I recommend this informative and well-researched article, Unmuted, from Dale & Jonalyn Fincher.