Some families are known for being doctors and others are known for having a lot of lawyers or teachers. In my family, however, we have a lot of minsters. For as long as I can remember, I have always had someone to tell me that Jesus had a plan and a calling for my life. I grew up seeing my uncles, aunties, cousins, and parents behind a pulpit preaching the word of God. I was the kid that was always preaching to my stuffed animals with my precious moments bible instead of having a tea party with them. My whole family, especially my parents, taught me that God gave me a voice to speak up and to never hold back from what God was calling me to do. My family instilled into me a loud, strong confidence in who I was called to be.
I knew I had to go to Bible College right after high school. I was excited to learn and grow in my calling. My first two years were great. I had men and women professors pour into my life and encourage me in ways that are still making a difference till this day. On my final year of bible college, we got a new professor. He was a young, Latino pastor and he was also very upfront of his view regarding women in ministry. What was his view, you ask? According to this professor, women were not allowed to be in ministry. He believed that a woman’s ministry was to have children so that they can be forgiven of the sins of Eve. Up until meeting this man I had never had someone tell me I couldn’t do what God called me to do. I didn’t know there were people who would disagree with the calling I had in my life. I was in shock that I had to wrap my head around the fact that some people would think my calling is wrong.
Every class, even if it had nothing to do with women in ministry, he would bring up the topic. It seemed as though every chance he got he was trying to prove to us that women in ministry was wrong. One day I got so tired and raised my hand in class because he brought it up yet again. He called on me and I asked him, “Why did you decide to teach here? Why would you take a job at a school where you would be preparing men and women for ministry if you don’t believe women have a calling?” I then told him, “Because I have a calling and so does every woman in this class. Why do you want to teach us if you think this is wrong?” I could see the blood boiling in his face and my 19-year-old self was shaking on the inside but standing firm on the outside. His response was, “that is not an appropriate question and I will not give an answer.” He then dismissed the class and told me to come to speak with him.
This professor spoke to me for over an hour trying to give me examples in scripture that proved that what I was doing was wrong. I started to walk out of the classroom and he walked with me to the outside of the dorms. One of my questions to him was, “if a woman preaches to a thousand people and they all get saved, you are telling me that it is wrong and you rather those people not come to know the Lord?” He responded, “it goes against God’s word so yes, I would not have her preach.” I was so mind blown and my heart was breaking when he went in for a low blow. He said, “look, Krystal. I am just trying to help you. If you become a pastor and preach, you will be going against God’s word and well, you know what happens to people who go against Gods word.” I exclaimed, “You’re saying I’m gonna go to hell?!” He said “it’s all there in your bible.”
I tell this story because it was one of the first encounters I had with someone placing doubt into my calling. The calling I was so sure of was being challenged. Little did I know that the challenges wouldn’t stop there.
I titled this blog “A Brown, single, Sinner, Latina women” because these are the things that I have had the most opposition for being. At one time or another I have had someone tell me I was wrong, bad, or not good enough because I was one of these things. Sometimes I was even the one telling myself I should throw in the ministry towel because I was one of these things. When you are told you can’t do a certain thing because you are a woman, or when you referred to as the “ethnic voice” in in the group, it starts to get to you. I just wanted to be a voice without being singled out as different. I have applied for ministry positions where I was told that they loved me, BUT they were looking for a couple not a single person. Don’t get me started on the mistakes I have made while being a pastor that should count me out of ministry. It feels like there is often so much in my life that disqualifies me from ministry. The title of this blog doesn’t even cover it all. I have felt disqualified because I haven’t gone further in my education. I have felt disqualified because I am over weight or not as “hip” as others. I have felt disqualified because of the people I have let down and the relationships I have damaged. I have felt disqualified when people tell me I am not a “real Mexican” because I don’t speak Spanish. The list can go on and on.
As I sit here and write this I am reminded of Matthew chapter five. Here Jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount and he starts listing things that the world says we would be disqualified for but that in the kingdom of God we are still a welcome despite those things.
You see, there are tons of things that disqualify you and me from ministry. However, because of the work that Jesus did on the cross for us we are qualified for ministry! Regardless of gender, language, size, upbringing, citizenship, or relationship status, you and I have a calling in our life! We can’t let opposition stop us from the call that God has in our life!
On my last day of class with my professor who disagreed with women in ministry, he called me up after class. He said, “well, you are graduating. What now?” These were my words to him, “I was born with a calling in my life to preach the word and care for people’s hearts. I know there is a dying world out there that needs help and even if you tell me I can’t, God tells me I can! So, if you have a problem with that, you take it up with God because he gave me this calling!” I then grabbed my stuff and I walked out the door. It was a drop the mic moment before dropping the mic was a thing.
I was told by that professor that I could not be a pastor and now I am the first lead campus pastor that is a woman of the very school I was attending when he told me I couldn’t be a pastor. God has to get the glory for that!!!!
Despite this great victory, there are some days that are hard and some days where my sins want to remind me of my mistakes. There are times where I look in the mirror and wish I looked a little different, some days I am embarrassed that I need a translator when I preach at a Spanish church, and somedays I am so over being single. Nevertheless, I find peace in the fact that I was beautifully and wonderfully made.
I was beautifully and wonderfully made a woman.
I was beautifully and wonderfully made a Mexican American.
I was beautifully and wonderfully made with some curves.
I was beautifully and wonderfully made to embrace seasons and not rush to the next season.
I was beautifully and wonderfully made by a God who loved me so much he sent his son to die for my sins so that they don’t have to hang over my head and ministry my whole life.
I was beautifully and wonderfully made to be me and not anyone else.
The beautiful thing about Jesus is that he takes all the things that the world says disqualify us and uses those things the bring glory for his name. He turns them around, calls them beautiful, and invites us to be part of his Kingdom.
There are too many lives in need in this world for us to hold back! Let’s embrace every part of us and place every part of us in the hands of our God.