Of all the things I've never wanted to be, an angry woman is at the top of the list. An astute observer of cultures, I realized early on that angry women were not welcome in the church. Quite frankly, they weren't welcomed anywhere, but the church had an arsenal of spiritual weapons to use against them and I did not want to be on the receiving end of this kind of criticism.
I would rather be marginalized, objectified and silenced than be labeled an angry woman.
And so it has been.
I've flirted with 'angry' in the past. In my twenties I was forced to address the underlying anger because I was literally vomiting it out of me in the form of an eating disorder.
In my thirties another layer surfaced and I went through a 'swearing' phase. I'm told it was hilarious. Cute, even.
And now it's back. I'm angry. Still hesitant to embrace it, it leaks out slowly. Often surfacing at the most inopportune times. An offhand comment has a little too much bite. What sounds like an affectionate jab in my head comes out as a punch in the gut.
Earlier this week I sat down with an unsuspecting group of pastors and they invited me to share about my experience as a woman in the church. I would not have told the truth to everyone, but to these brave men I chose to entrust just a bit of my story. The raw emotion that curled up from deep inside took me off guard, but these good shepherds seemed unfazed by my messiness.
Infinitely more surprising than the rage, was the compassion I experienced on the other side. In the wake of my anger, I discovered the tenderness I'd been searching for.
I recognize the bread crumbs God is laying out for me. His invitation to walk through this dark forest of frustration. Not alone and for a purpose. Trusting there is no other path to the open spaces on the other side of this blackness.
Because now I know that the only way to avoid becoming an angry woman is to get angry.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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