Love is For Us, Not Against Us

Lindsey Mooberry


“I pray that you would be a voice of truth and boldness. I pray you would wrestle with your own story until you own it, body and soul, and have learned how to make it sing.” —Sarah Bessey

I’ve spent my whole life in church (Sunday school, flannelgraphs and all), and it was good — until it wasn’t. It was fine when I was little and didn’t pay attention to all the things women weren’t allowed to do. But then later, through a series of events, everything imploded and my perception of being made in the image of God was shattered. It started to seem like men were more the image of God than women were. And it seemed like God loved women just a little less.

All I heard was women being defined negatively and in terms of all the things they couldn’t do. The faith I had always known was starting to strangle me, and I did the thing that was not supposed to be done — I threw it all back at God. I couldn’t hold on to the “equal, but…” version of God anymore — that I was somehow “equal” in worth and value, but just had a different (and noticeably lesser) “role” as a woman. Walking into the sanctuary became increasingly difficult under the avalanche of questions. I couldn’t hear anything anymore or believe I had worth.

Why weren’t women ushers?
Because of God.

Why didn’t women serve communion?
Because of God.

Why couldn’t women hold leadership positions?
Because of God.

Why didn’t the church make an effort for women’s stories, perspectives and voices to be contributed in any significant way?
Because of God.

And somehow God is love? Really?

Those in power were defining who God was to me and who I was before God. I was supposed to believe that God created women for men. I was supposed to believe that all of this was good and biblical and God’s design. I was supposed to believe that this was equal in God’s eyes. I was supposed to believe that what Paul said was greater than what Jesus said and did. I was supposed to believe all the proof-texts that were thrown at me.

I was supposed to deny, suppress and ignore what was inside of me that didn’t match their narrow definition of a “biblical woman” being imposed on me. And I was not supposed to trust my own ability to hear from God.

On a deep level, my connection to God sustained severe damage and was on the verge of severing completely. It would have made sense to walk away entirely after all that turmoil. That would have been understandable. I have no rational explanation as to why that wasn’t where the story ended, other than something in me wouldn’t let go.

But there still was an ending of sorts — an ending of being a part of the only faith community I had ever known. And yet, my speaking out and challenging of that theology was also a beginning to me learning the sound of my own voice.

And after fighting through this for almost three years now, I will say this:

Love does not erase women. It does not dismiss or diminish them. Nor does love silence them, keep them out and render them invisible. Love sees them, hears them, rewrites their story, restores their voice and draws them in. Love doesn’t force, coerce or control. It invites, empowers, releases and lifts up.

Love is for us, not against us.

And love never lets go.

Lindsey likes to make things, has rather small handwriting, and appreciates the color chartreuse, mid-century modern style and most anything chocolate. And she feels super weird writing about herself in the third person.

Christina Hite