Connection with God used to be easy. Growing up, not only would I read my bible, but often I would stay up journaling and talk to God throughout the night.
Yet as I moved into adulthood, this connection started to fade.
Being a kid and a Christian seemed to mean following God with my whole heart, but being a grown woman and a Christian meant following a husband, supporting him with my life, and avoiding the untrustworthy pulls of my heart.
As I challenged these lessons, I was told again, and again I was mistaken. I may have wanted to follow another path, but my role was clear as a future pastor’s wife. I could have a career to financially support his ministry or roll up my sleeves and start prepping the bake sale.
If I did feel pulled in another direction, I needed to consider if I was being lead astray by secular thinking.
Apparently, artists, dreamers, adventurers, and rule-breakers do not make good Christian women.
This led me to distrust my connection to God. When I would feel the familiar pull toward the divine, I shut it down. When I felt ecstasy, joy, and freedom, I assumed this couldn’t possibly be related to God and shut the whole thing down.
That is until depression and anxiety kicked in. So I went on a hunt for Joy. I looked in nature, in the stars, and circles and communities of women. I thought I was finding a new form of divinity different from the God of Christianity.
And then I learned about the Divine Feminine. Hidden in the pages of scripture, peaking from behind statues in churches and ancient texts.
She is, as St. Francis says, “sister earth, sister moon, and sister tree.” She’s the divine Mother, Sophia Wisdom. The feminist aspects of the Divine that have been shut down or hidden over the years.
It made so much sense that I would see my femininity only in service to men. As Elizabeth Johnson points out in her book, She Who Is, if we are conditioned to see God as male, then women are left to struggle to see themselves as imago Dei.
No wonder I questioned my own callings. No wonder I shut down my connection to God. In patriarchal theology, when the male is God, women can only be the devil. But in liberating theology, when we are all image-bearers of God, we are all reflections of the divine.
Our joy, or ecstasy, our pleasures, our desires are impulses gifted to us from God. When we limit our joys and pleasure, including the joys and pleasures of women in the church, we limit God.
And God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, Sarai, Rebecca, Miriam, and Mary. Cannot and will not be contained.