And when someone inevitably treats you unjustly, criticizing your tone of voice or your distracting outfit or your too-feminine sermon illustrations, stuff that male preachers rarely have to deal with, don’t let the shame in. Receive what truth may be gleaned, and then let it go, Elsa-style. But do not let that shame sink into your soul and warp it. Instead, you remember the Voice that called you to this blessed vocation, and next week, you walk right up into that pulpit again, knowing you have been called by God and are empowered by the Spirit, with your head held high, and preach the Word with power. You were made for this, and you are being made for this.
And when someone questions your authority, when someone suggests that a Word from God is not valid coming from your lipsticked lips, you boldly approach that pulpit and claim your pastoral authority. Claim it with a firm step and with a bold voice. Not because you have all the answers and not because you are convinced of your own greatness. Not because you have nothing to learn or no room to grow. You walk up there clothed in courageous humility: courageous because God has called you and goes with you, and humble because you are but clay in the hand of the Potter. You walk up there with authority, not out of presumption but out of obedience. Because God called and you answered. You were made for this, and you are being made for this.
It’s easier now for me. There are no more urinals. I serve a blessed congregation that intentionally affirms my gifts. But, even if they didn’t, I would not back down from my calling. Like Peter and John speaking to the Jewish leaders in Acts, I answer, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19–20). So, too, I cannot keep from proclaiming this Good Word, of Christ come down for us and for our salvation. I was made for this, and I am being made for this. Thanks be to God.