When God Whispered My Name

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a woman pastor? Don’t feel bad if you haven’t because I never really gave it much thought until God called me to go into the ministry. Almost twenty years ago, God started dealing with my heart about becoming a pastor. My immediate thought was, I can’t be a pastor . . . I’m a woman! So, needless to say, I ran from the call until God placed me in a desert. It was while I was in a very dry barren desert that God started using other pastors to confirm that He was indeed calling me into the pastoral vocation. There is one pastor in particular that I remember the most. I was in a restaurant when this male pastor approached me and simply said, “Jesus said, you are to feed His sheep and lambs.” Well, I was like Gideon, and I asked God for more confirmation. After receiving more confirmations than I could count, I finally obeyed the voice of God.
Before I go any further, I must confess to you that I have a lot of the Apostle Peter’s character intertwined in my personality.
So out of complete obedience to the holy calling, I pulled my sword out (the Word of God), and I set out on my quest to confront my pastor. However, God tenderly spoke into my spirit, “Wait”! I’m so glad that God has a sense of humor because I’m sure that I caused Him to chuckle a few times. So, I waited, and I waited, until finally, God spoke to me to start attending another church so that I could sit under a more seasoned pastor. I was so excited to finally start getting this show on the road! Well, needless to say, the pastor that God placed me under did not encourage women to operate in a pastoral office. By now, I was beginning to question if I heard the voice of God correctly. So, I set out on a mission to, once again, confirm my calling. Well, this time God was silent for two years. Yes, that’s correct, for two long years not even one confirmation! In that two year period, I sat under anointed teaching and preaching, and I gleaned heavenly wisdom. During that time God taught me the ancient lesson on obedience.
The Bible instructs us in 1 Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than sacrifice”. Because of Saul’s disobedience, he was removed from the kingship position that God allowed him to be placed in. However, one must remember that it was not the perfect will of God that the children of Israel have a king. God gave them their hearts desire. Therefore, it’s very important that we make sure that we are in God’s perfect will, and that we learn to be obedient to His instructions.
There are several women in the Bible that God called for a divine purpose, such as Deborah. There is no disputing that Deborah was used mightily by God as a great leader; however, she displayed the spirit of a humble servant. She was handpicked by God to be a Judge over the nation of Israel, and she was used as a prophetess. Let’s look at the meaning of prophetess and judge.
In the original text of the Holy Bible, the Old Testament words were written in the Hebrew and the New Testament words were written in the Greek. So, since we are talking about an Old Testament character, we will go into the Hebrew meaning for Prophetess which is: Nebiah: Meaning: Female Preacher. (Young’s Analytical Page 781.)
According to (Strong’s number 8199), the word “Judge,” means to: Vindicate, Judge, Punish, Govern, Litigate, Defend, Plead, Reason, and Rule. Wow! Sounds to me like God entrusted her with a pretty powerful position.
The Bible tells us in Joel 2:28-29: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. KJV
One can plainly see that God spoke out of His servant Joel prophetically concerning the great outpouring of His Spirit, and that God included both genders. Some would try to say that God only used women in the Old Testament for a special purpose in leadership. However, there are many women that God used in the New Testament. Philip had four daughters that prophesied. Acts 21:9: And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
The Greek meaning for prophesy in (Strong’s number 4395) is: Profateyoo: Meaning: To foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration. According to (Arndt & Gingrich Lexicon Page 730): To proclaim a divine revelation. And according to the (Young’s Analytical-Page 779): Publicly expound.
It is clear that throughout the ages of time that God used women in leadership. However, it is also clear that in this modern day world we live in, women have been discriminated against in the ministry. I can only speak from personal experience that this is a heartbreaking fact. I can also say with confidence that if God has called one of His ladies into the ministry, He will equip her with His strength and grace to fulfill the calling.
I have been pastoring for nine years, and I have found it to be both challenging and fulfilling. Have there been times that I wanted to throw in the towel and run? Yes, you better believe it! However, my God has richly awarded me for my obedience. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, Silas, who happens to be my number one supporter. I have learned that people tend to respect me more once they learn that my husband stands behind me. My husband and I do co-pastor; however, he does not feel called into the ministry. God is a God of order, so since my husband and I are one, that makes him a very important part of the ministry. Ladies, the more we submit to our covering, the more God will bless us in our vocation. I have been around domineering, overbearing women pastors that have made a bad impression for women in the ministry, and for that I am very sorry. I believe wholeheartedly that we women pastors should always conduct ourselves as a lady. In fact, God will not bless a woman who tries to operate like a man. May I say that God was not at all confused when He fashioned us as women, nor was He confused when He called us into the ministry. Always be the beautiful godly woman that God has called you to be.
I leave you with this thought, never try to force your ministry into fruition. God will make space for your ministry. Throughout the years, He has always been faithful to me. To God be the glory, the church that I pastor, Shiloh House of Peace, is 100% debt free and is full of God’s love. I believe that this is because I went through the long process that God required of me to get from point A to point B. Remember, there are no shortcuts in God’s ordained plan. I have learned that I may not always please people, but if I please God, that’s what counts at the end of the day.
Let your conversation be seasoned with salt and grace, and let the love of Jesus radiate from your hearts.
May God Bless,
Pastor Melinda J. Abersold

2 thoughts on “When God Whispered My Name

  1. Patty Stafford says:

    Your writings are so inspiring!
    I was so blessed by the way you portray women in the ministry!
    In my life, I have seen so many women come across as manly in the ministry when God expects us to be ladies:) that’s what He created us to be even when we hold an office in the church. Love you Sis. Mindy
    You’re a great example & Author.

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