Since OUR WHOLE STORY MATTERS, let’s start at the beginning. (enjoy the photo montage… 😜)
I was raised in a strong fundamentalist, Christian family who loved God but had very explicit beliefs and restrictions about what a little girl could grow up to be and do with her life.
By the time I was 8 or 9 years old, I realized the world wasn’t built for me. The church I grew up in and the family I was raised in made it abundantly clear – both explicitly and implicitly—that my place as a girl was in the home, taking care of my family’s needs, supporting my husband, and raising babies.
But even as a 3rd grader that made ZERO sense to me.
I wanted WAY MORE than a husband and a home.
By the time I hit middle school I had decided I was going to have not one, not two, but THREE jobs—a lawyer defending the rights of those unjustly accused, a hair salon owner called “If Looks Could Kill”, and the first female President of the United States of America. (there’s still time 😒)
As a young girl, even though I didn’t know what the word “leader” meant, I knew I was one. I was the “bossy” one, the ringleader on the playground, the one who went first but had others following. But there was a seemingly impossible gap between who I was and what was being prescribed for me.
The story I was being told to write for my life didn’t resonate with the story I sensed God wanted for me. #conflict
As a teenager, I was called to pursue local church ministry as a vocation. My gifts of leadership and teaching were called out, affirmed, and encouraged by predominantly men. I went to Bible college, graduated with honors, and became a pastor.
For 17 years I served in pastoral leadership at two of the most influential churches in America in roles ranging from intern to youth pastor to executive pastor. I lead scores of volunteer teams and countless paid staff, both male and female.
Throughout my 20s I never wanted to make my gender an issue of my leadership. I believed that I was to be obedient only to God, even if men would not affirm my calling. I hoped as I was faithful in my calling that God would change the hearts and minds of men who wouldn’t confirm my calling or view me as an equal partner in leadership.
However, by the time I turned 30 I realized part of my calling and conviction was to use my voice, experience, and understanding of who I was as an Ezer to proactively counter the leadership gap for women and oppressive theology holding women down. I wanted to open possibilities for women and men. The reality of more women living and leading with wholeness wouldn’t accidentally get better. It would require a concerted effort to change.
Justice always requires active participation in righting wrongs.
While the American Evangelical church has been formative in my story, it’s also been quite hurtful and harmful. As a woman with strong leadership and teaching gifts, it’s often been challenging, lonely, and confusing. Sometimes I was given opportunities to grow and use my gifts, other times I was silenced, marginalized, alone, and minimized.
(As a wife to a Puerto Rican man and mother to Ethiopian children, I now know the injustices I experienced were only accentuated by the embedded racism and sexism in the larger evangelical church.)
Nevertheless, I echo another one of Jesus’ follower’s questions, “to whom else would I go?” (John 6:68)
I can’t get over Jesus. The way God in flesh invited us into transformation, wholeness, and abundant life has forever changed me. The way he commissioned us to bring more of heaven on Earth is the way of my life and this company of Warrior Women.
I never imagined birthing a company like Ezer + Co., but it makes sense when I pay attention to the whole story that God has been writing in my life and leadership.
Ezer + Co. was born in March 2019 in response to coaching hundredsof women with stories like mine.
After coaching and consulting countless men who’ve been humble and brave enough to say, “help me”, I knew we had plenty of work to do. I’m so grateful for the men I’ve worked for and with who’ve wanted more equal partnership with women in leadership but were struggling to breakthrough
old complementarian theology or male “headship”
hidden biases and excuses that they were taught and absorbed
elusive male privilege that’s embedded into every system
limiting beliefs about women’s roles and responsibilities
overall lack of practical know-how in how to surrender power and elevate women at home and work for the sake of more equality and mutuality.
Ezer + Co.’s original mission statement was ACTIVATING WOMEN TO LIVE AND LEAD WITH WHOLENESS IN FULL PARTNERSHIP WITH MEN. We’re more committed to that today.