Did you know God gives every woman 12 sacred gifts to help us experience the fullness of His presence?
Most of us don’t know this because we have been raised in a culture most often defined by patriarchy and toxic masculinity. Then we are often taught to reject our sacred gifts because the culture says we need to look and act a certain way. As a result, we learn to reduce our gifts.
Sadly, this isn’t new. For thousands of years, women have been taught to take up as little space as possible. Physical harm like the ancient practice of foot binding, for instance, has often been used to reinforce this idea. Women are humiliated for normal, healthy body functions. In some cultures, women are actually cast out of their communities during menstruation.
The best parts of us are gifts from God
Women are not always taught about the gifts God has given them. This is a tragedy. We get really small when our gifts wither.
I know this all too well because I found myself burned out. After years of “doing everything right” all my emotional and spiritual resources were depleted. I struggled to connect with anyone. I had a beautiful family, a great ministry, and a successful company, but there was a hollowness inside me that felt like it was going to swallow me whole.
It’s my hope that sharing what I’ve learned about reclaiming our sacred gifts will help you avoid that same burnout.
12 Sacred Gifts
Not just any old identity, but one that exists outside of our relationships with everyone else. Each woman is created with a God-given identity that doesn’t depend on career, relationship status, or the decision to give birth to children. Our value is determined by God and based on being His beloved daughter. Your roles, relationships, connections, and actions do not determine your worth or identity.
Every human has the right to self govern. We can choose what we do, how we live, and what we don’t want to do. This right is constantly challenged as women are told what to wear, say, do, and be under the premise that we are not wise enough to make these decisions for ourselves. These limitations are steeped in toxic masculinity that attempts to control rather than partner with women. When this toxic masculinity is deeply connected to our faith, women are pushed to the fringes and the fullness of God is off limits.
Women, particularly women in marginalized people groups, are constantly told their voice is unwelcome and unimportant. Within religious communities, we are often taught that because we are women, our voice only leads to sin and destruction. The truth is that God calls women to preach, teach, and lead inside and outside the walls of the church.
Knowledge of Ancient Wisdom
Our connection to holy traditions has been attacked in the church for thousands of years. Because of bans on women in leadership, women have been excluded from oral and written traditions within the church. Ancient wisdom surrounding our bodies, nature, and intuition were often labeled as pagan. Women who shared their ancient wisdom were severely punished to the point of being murdered.
Sisters, there are no bad emotions. Each person has access to a full range of emotions to communicate what’s going on, express needs and wants, and release what’s inside. The world has conditioned us to believe that any emotion that makes waves or is uncomfortable for others is not from God. They’re wrong. All of your emotions are holy and deserve to exist.
Intuition is a gift from God that allows us to sense what is happening on a deeper level and respond in uncommon ways. Women who have not been overwhelmed by toxic culture experience freely flowing intuition. They are so in tune with God, their surroundings, and the people all around them.
The world has tried to tell women our deep connection to all the supernatural aspects of our faith is unholy. Can you imagine the story of Jesus without angels and visions and miracles? Or without the numerous women who both received and shared these encounters? The supernatural is real. God’s daughters are not excluded from witnessing it.
God created our body, minds, and souls to be free. With freedom comes a little wildness that is unpredictable. This is radically different from the puritanical, Victorian views of tightly buttoned-up Christian womanhood. If we are really leaning into God, there’s bound to be some unpredictability in our steps. That wildness is a sign we are following God even when it doesn’t make sense. It’s not a sign we don’t know Him.
Toxic masculinity only values male leadership. Entire generations have missed out on the gift of women and men leading together with equal authority. Even in the highly patriarchal biblical times, we saw women exercise the authority to lead their families and ministries as well as sit face-to-face with Jesus.
When people are scared of this sacred gift, they’ll tell you that you’re stubborn. When they benefit from your willpower, they’re more likely to tell you how strong you are. Women are taught that our willpower is only good when harnessed for something the other person wants. Just imagine how different our world would be without the willpower of Esther, Deborah, Mother Mary, Ruth, Miriam, and the midwives who defied Pharoah.
We all exist in our bodies, but the world teaches women that our bodies are untrustworthy things to be conquered and controlled. We become disconnected from our own bodies in many ways and lose sight of how deeply connected we are to our mind, soul, and spirit.
You knew this one was coming, right? God created women and men to be sensual, sexual beings who are deeply connected to our bodies. The shame-filled purity culture of the western church has decimated our ability to connect with each other on this level. Our holy desire for each other and the desire to be sexually confident women is Song of Solomon-level sacred.
It’s my hope that this list serves as little cracks in the door that you can step through and experience God’s fullness. Please don’t view it as a legalistic checklist of things you need to do to be good enough for God. That’s not how this works! Each of these sacred gifts was already given to you by God. We may need to dust off any limiting beliefs that have entangled them, but you don’t have to earn them or prove anything to God.
“Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.” Romans 6:14, The Message
Want to learn more about true Christian womanhood without the oppression of patriarchy? Consider this a personal invitation to join me for a free virtual workshop: “Reclaiming Christian Womanhood”. Reserve your seat at wildsacredholy.com/reclaiming-christian-womanhood-workshop
Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC is a Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women at AngelaJHerrington.com , founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry, and Christian feminist activator at WildSacredHoly.com.
Angela is a spunky Gen Xer who creates sacred spaces for vulnerable exploration. Her specialty is helping Christian women untangle themselves from limiting beliefs, toxic religious culture, and all the ways the enemy tries to keep them small. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela and her unique online ministry were featured in Lyz Lenz’s 2019 book God Land: Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. She also has been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is also a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest, and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women-led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
Angela is also a wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.