Spirit-Led Woman

Want to receive SpiritLed Woman by email? Sign up here

My Preaching Debut

Sarah Bessey
Sarah Bessey

The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

Certain vocational milestones stand out in my mind. There was the day my grade two teacher typed up my first story and told me I should be a writer someday. My first article published in the school newspaper.
The first time someone who did not know me in real life left a comment on my blog. The first time Rachel Held Evans shared one of my posts. The day I signed with an agent. The day I signed my book contract.
And now: the first time I preached in my home church on a Sunday morning.
(And yes, I’m purposely using the word “preach”—not the more acceptable words we women usually employ when we’re at the front of a church: “sharing” or “talking,” even “ministering” perhaps. Preach. It’s a strong word, isn’t it? I want to reclaim the word “preaching” for women and so, as usually happens, I needed to take a walk down the road I’m encouraging other women to take.)
I have spoken at a few women’s events here and there, a couple of university class Q&As on writing or Christian feminism. And I love being with women; it’s one of my favourite things, a comfort place for me now. Of course, I am always nervous and worried and over-prepared, and then I go and end up falling in love with another group of women who love Jesus and want to love well. Church basements are my happy place. In fact, this past Saturday, I spent time with Hillside Community Church’s ladies, and they were so warm, so friendly, so real, I could have hugged them all (and I did, in fact, hug a good many of them).
A few months ago, I met with our senior pastor, and he invited me to preach this past Sunday. I love our church‘s leadership team for many reasons, but our pastor gave me yet another reason in that meeting: He wanted to make sure I knew that I didn’t have to preach a Jesus Feminist kind of teaching message. If I wanted to, fine, great, go ahead with full support.
But here I did not have to earn or justify or teach my way into my place in that pulpit because of my sex. In my church, it is settled, it is done: The gifts of the Spirit are not gender-based, and he wanted me just to get up there and preach. So I did.
I wear all black when I’m nervous. It makes me feel stronger, like my voice and my face will earn the attention, not my wardrobe. So sure enough, on Sunday, I was in all black. I put on a leather bracelet from my friend Idelette's travels in Africa, and I wore my girls-with-swords necklace. It was the first time for my husband, Brian, to hear me preach. He is a great preacher, and I still feel like this is backward somehow—like he should be the one up there preaching while I sit in the front row. But here we are, and I think he’s more excited and comfortable with this turn of our life than I am, to be honest.
I made it through. I only cried one time about how much I love Jesus. Okay, fine, two times. (Maybe three.) I still get so weepy when I try to talk about Jesus. He’s so lovely to me. I preached about finding God in our everyday lives, about overcoming our evangelical hero complex, and how our lives as they stand right now are an offering before God.
After a bit of time talking with friends afterward, I came home and took off my black clothes and put on my grubby shorts. I went to my kitchen for a little food therapy: I made chocolate chip cookies and homemade pizza. 
My son Joe had a fever, so I put him to bed for a nap with Evelynn while Brian and Anne ran a few errands to Canadian Tire. Annie lost another tooth yesterday morning and was busy writing multiple notes to the tooth fairy. Brian brought an iced caramel macchiato home for me, and we kissed in the kitchen. 
He said, “You know, I was surprised how good it was. You did really good, Sarah.” I knew what he meant and laughed. He was right. I was surprised how well it went too.
Sunday was terrifying because I am already so keenly aware of my inadequacies and failings, of all the ways that I am still in process, still so painfully in need of grace and kindness and transformation. And this is not a “congregation” or a “crowd”—this is my community. These are my friends. These are the people who have loved me back into intentional Christian community after my long period of disassociation with the institutions of the church. 

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Watch for these danger signals for choosing poorly.

    4 Signs You're Making a Bad Decision

    Avoid distraction and disappointment by testing your choices with these 4 principles.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit