Written Dec. 24, 2008
Although I have been preaching for the last 9 years, a month ago I officially received my license to preach the Gospel. Although for seven years, I fled from the call, my lifestyle and walk has reflected the call for well over a decade.
Rewind back 7 months–In May 2007, twelve women were selected by my Pastor to begin a special training course for women called to preach. For the next 10 months, we would meet weekly and be trained in our area of ministry through classes where we were not only instructed by also given homework assignments. Then, in March 2008, the nine of us that remained were presented to the church and from that day forward we sat with the other ministers in the designated area and were allowed to serve just as the other male ministers of the church.
Since March, I have sat with the ministers, and sometimes I would sit where I always sat prior to my “coming out”—in the pew designated for Associate Pastors Wives. After all, I’m still Pastor Thomas’ wife.
On a Sunday after receiving my license, I went to sit in the area reserved for the Associate Pastors wives. When I got to my seat, a member said to me “I was surprised that you came here to sit.” She was making reference to the fact that I am now a minister, and from her tone, she led me to believe that I had changed. My response to the woman was “I may be a minister but I’m still Pastor Thomas’ wife!”
Years ago, when I began walking in my call, I inwardly changed. The licensing certified publicly what had already taken place privately. The woman’s comment made me ponder two self-evaluating question, “What has changed between now and my acknowledgement of the call?” and “What has not changed between now and my acknowledgement of my call?”
The latter of the two was easier to answer. What HAS NOT changed:
I’m still Roline ThomasI’m still married to Pastor Thomas.
I’m still a mother.
I’m still a grandmother.
I’m still a friend.
I still love the Lord.
I still love to preach.
I still love serving others.
I’m still actively involved in several ministry of my church.
I still love gumbo.
So, what HAS changed? That’s tough, because the license came years after the call. Has my attitude change? Has my relationships changed? Certainly each day my relationship with God has changed—I’m closer to Him today than I was yesterday. But really what has changed? Perhaps those closest to me can help me with that answer. Ahhhh, the lightbulb goes off—-It’s not me that has changed it’s the people around me that has change. Why?—their perception of me has changed. The way others view me has changed. With the call becomes change—perhaps a change in you, but watch out for the change in others. They are the ones who begin to look at you differently and treat you differently. Be careful that their changed view of you doesn’t change you.