on why i hate womens ministry, but shouldnt. { & what Jesus is doing to change that.}

i have always wanted lots of lady friends.
but i have learned that i dont really do well with that.
{i am kind of awkward when i am around lots of ladies. i start to talk too much and tend to over share... i am that girl.} 
so, i gave up on that dream in high school. and i actually love that i am a 'small handful of friends' kind of lady. 

i have also always wanted to belong to a women's ministry at church. i thought it sounded fun & exciting and a great place to go and meet other ladies, other mamas and grow in the Lord together. but, in 2010 our church had a women's retreat. and my husband encouraged me to go - and i really had to have him talk me into it. i was scared because i had never been before - and i did not grow up with sisters or super close girlfriends so staying in a cabin with a bunch of ladies for a weekend was uncharted territory. but my sweet husband lovingly told me that he was not going to let anything get in the way {including moving into our apartment} of me going to this retreat. so, i drug my feet and my heart to a cabin in the woods, and had the best time of my life. it was so fun. it was so filled with Jesus, it was so good for my soul. being around ladies who were honest and transparent - it really spurred my heart on to be like that & by Gods grace, i feel like i have. then, i found out i was pregnant, i had that sweet little baby and just like my pants, i didnt feel 'right' anymore. i felt uncomfortable and awkward. i felt like a 17 year old struggling to make conversation with her moms friends. and when our church had another retreat in spring of 2011, i WAS NOT GOING TO GO. There was no way i was going to go sleep in a cabin in the woods - share a bathroom & have no place to hide my awkward heart and my awkward body. i felt like i didnt fit. i no longer had a baby in my tummy, even though it still looked like i did - and i couldnt sit in the bathroom listening to the "woosh- woosh" of a breast pump with all the other mama's that i knew. i was in the deepest, darkest pit of my depression and i was bleeding that darkness out of every pore and i thought i could pretend that i was ok. but i was not ok. i was struggling. i was afraid and i was terrified. {i wrote about it here.}and i had anxiety the whole way there. i dont even think i laughed or smiled. i wanted to die. i hated it. but i learned a lot. a lot about my worth and identity in Christ. it was just what i needed to hear. { you can read all about that here.} 

Jesus has always, and i mean always come through. he has taken my anxious, terrified, insecure heart and taught me just what i needed during those times. so why should i doubt him?

OH, but i DO. 
So, back to the story. 
Mars Hill Church launched their women's ministry today at our location. i have known about it for weeks. i signed up 3 days ago. and only because my sweet friend told me i had too. its not that i didnt want to go, {and i made lots of excuses not too} its that i dont like women's ministry. i dont like it because its uncomfortable and because its good for me. i woke up this morning and stressed over my outfit and my hair. and i stressed about missing nap time, and i stressed about what people would think of me, and i stressed about what i would say. and i didnt even think to stop and ask Jesus what he wanted me to do. i just got caught up in my 'im going to a women's event' routine. as i walked in to the church, i felt a little confidence knowing i was going to be at the same table as my friend. {i thought for sure i could choose where to sit.} but when they wrote the number 10 on my name tag and not 10 on hers my stomach hit the floor. my blood started pumping, i became flustered and insecure and scared. i was dying inside. i dropped my little girl off at childcare and talked myself into sitting down at table number 10. i sat there and no one else was at my table. i looked around at happy and comfortable women chatting away with each other. i felt dumb, i felt little and i felt like a child playing house - like i didnt belong. i hated it. i texted my husband, " please pray for me, because this is really hard. i hate it right now." and he responded with, " i am praying". we sang, and listened to some announcements and i sat with my arms crossed tightly over my chest {something i do when i am insecure.} and as the speaker kept talking i could hardly hear what she was saying, because hot anxiety was pulsating through my body. but then she said this,  
"sanctification is much like the process of making a house a home" and it hit me. i was being sanctified- right there in that moment Jesus was sanctifying me. she spoke about the gospel and asked us to talk to each other about what the gospel looked like in our lives, and what we thought the gospel was. my stomach was hurting so badly when the other sweet women at my table were talking. there is no way i could share, or talk or anything. i felt convicted and i felt scared - not wanting to show myself. then, they looked at me, and i started talking and then the words just came pouring out of me. the truth about who i am, what i am learning, how clearly the gospel is being played out in my life right now, it all just came bursting out. and i felt JOY. i felt PEACE, i felt OKAY. i felt like i was FREE.  i feel like i do after every women's retreat - refreshed - but this time it feels more permanent. like i have finally started to surrender this area of my life to Jesus. and i felt like dancing. i felt like singing, i felt like my heart was doing cartwheels. thanking Jesus for using this ministry to bring me closer to him.

so, the title of this post is a little misleading. but i am okay with that. because it is true. i hate women's ministry. i hate the stomach aches i get because i dont like talking in front of people. i hate the way it causes me to obsess about my clothes and my hair and my body. i hate talking intimately to women i barely know. i hate not being able to hide. i feel like all these ladies are so much more 'put together' than i and so much more mature than i - and i hate the way i compare myself to them because of that. but i love Gods people. i love community. i love these ladies.  i love truth. {and some great words of wisdom and truth were spoken to me today.} and i love our church. and i am going to continue to go and to face my fears, to look them right in the eye and tell them that they do not define who i am, Jesus does. i am going to replace all my insecurities with the reminder that Jesus always teaches me, tenderly loves me and encourages me through events like this.i am going to work on my heart and stop hating this. i am going to surrender all those feelings to Jesus and allow him to work and mold this part of my heart, and maybe, someday i wont hate going to women's ministry. because i shouldn't hate it - i should love it. and i want to love it. i want to embrace it, i want to give it all to Jesus. and after today i am one step closer to removing the word hate, with love. i am so excited about what Jesus is doing in my heart right now.


  1. Ally, I gotta say I signed up two days ago because Nick made me!! I wasn't really excited about this either and I don't know why. But God had a plan - He always does - and put us at the same table! I love it! I am SO honored and excited to get to know you a bit better and am now looking forward to future weeks of this study!

    PS: I am also totally that gal who shares way too much at the wrong time. I hate that feeling inside that's like, "Uhh, you should probably stop now!" but by then I'm already in way too deep. I totally get that :)

  2. you aren't alone. i feel the same way and really dread "women's" things sometimes. those events are so intimidating and often terrifying. Good for you though for not running away and sticking with it!

  3. This was such a heart felt post, Ally! I love when blogs are real and heart felt.
    I'm SO glad you're going and glad you're having your attitude changed about women's ministry! I've been blessed immensely at some of the women's Bible Studies I've gone to and highly recommend good ones :) I've been to a few poopy ones, but those were at poopy churches.
    Anyway, I also love that you and I are super different from each other and yet through Christ we share so many common bonds that bring us together as friends! Imagine if life was like High School and you could only be friends with the people most like you. I love that the Gospel and Christ break down those barriers and we can be as iron sharpening iron - no matter where we are in life!

  4. Ally, thanks so much for sharing this. We moved an hour away from our home church, and we're still making the drive on Sundays, but I don't have any friends here. I really want to get involved in a women's group, meet people, make friends...but I'm scared to. death. I know I need to trust Jesus & let Him be in control, but I'm still not sure if I'm brave enough to go by myself. =\

  5. oh, I loved this post too. I feel exactly the same way! I am a youth pastor's wife so I feel sometimes like I have to be friends with everyone but I am just not made that way. Sorry, now I'm probably coming across like a stalker but I really appreciate your honesty!


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