I remember someone telling me on the day of my ordination that my pink lace top was not appropriate. I asked the question, ‘won’t i wear a robe?’ they responded yes and i then said what’s the problem?. I do not remember an answer that persuaded me to go home and change. Another day i was told that fishnets were not appropriate in the pulpit, i looked for that in the Bible and could not find it anywhere. my four inch red pumps do get a few mixed reviews before i stand to preach the word of God. one day someone even asked me, ‘do they let you preach with those things (dreadlocks) in your hair’. i smiled and said yes dear and gave her a hug. (she’s my cousin)
when i was growing up my mom wanted me to look a certain way and dress a certain way and i recognize that was for her comfort level. As a parent of two college students and a high school senior, i am definitely getting my payback – DAILY. but with love i recognize myself and my desire to be authentically me. Some people love to dress up and be very matchy matchy. I personally think that my red 4 inch pumps match all my church clothes and my red dansko clogs match all my casual clothes. i love to see an impeccably dressed man or woman and grew up in the house with four of them, that was just not me. I have always been a little rough and extremely tough and always simply just been me.
I talk to God and God talks to me – out loud with an audible voice. God tells me that I am a woman after God’s on heart, and as long as i wake daily seeking God’s will for my life and discerning who it is that God calls me to be and what it is God calls me to do my living will not be in vain.
the 1st sunday i served communion at the church, i pastor a woman insisted on covering up another woman’s tattoos – i told her no need. God sees them anyway and God is really only after her heart as well as yours. She looked at me strange, but she heard and she understood me right then and right there. I serve a largely unchurched population and so short dresses and cleavage and pants below the waist and white tees and shorts and tennis shoes and flip flops are commonplace here. at least until we get to know one another and we seek to discern who God is in our hearts 1st.
i don’t see so much skin or so many pants below the waist anymore and i never said anything about their dress code. I recognize that my desire to be comfortable and to feel at ease around people is not what matters – what matters is that i make this a place where everyone feels welcome and that the Spirit of the Living God has an opportunity to transform hearts and minds.
God calls us to love one another and not to judge each other lest God judge us at the last days. I cannot afford to be judged by God (no reason for testimony here) and therefore i refuse to be judgmental and force my sentiments and what makes me comfortable on anyone else. Loving people, all people, no matter who i perceive that they are or what i perceive that they are about is Godly and its righteous and its holy and when i do that my heart is clear and my mind is at ease because then i am operating in the will of God.
Toni, how wonderful it is to read this message. I am impressed with your ministry and to know that you have stood out among your brothers and are doing your own thing. Great job and continue to do God’s will.