Last Thursday, I spent most of the day packing for a trip I didn’t want to take.
It was only one, tiny carry-on suitcase for a forty-eight-hour journey. But it took me all day because I couldn’t make any decisions. I was in a fog and didn’t have any brain left to decide if I should take the grey sneakers or the cream ones — even that decision was too much.
You see, my beautiful, loving, never-met-a-stranger friend Jenn went to the doctor two weeks ago with back pain, and now she is dying.
The next day, I got on a plane to say goodbye.
After losing her young husband to a heart attack ten years ago, Jenn has raised her four kids with tenacity, fierce protection, and unwavering love.
She is a champion for those who were not upheld by the “systems” of the world. She has fought with the love of Jesus for those who are so often on the edges in the world and in the church: people of color, the poor, and the disenfranchised.
She loves ferociously, accepts everyone, and protects the vulnerable.
And a lot of people didn’t like it. They called her a lot of names (some that I won’t repeat here); the insults implied that she was just too pushy.
She pushed her “agenda.” (You know, being the hands and feet of Jesus.)
She pushed what was acceptable for a woman to say and be in church.
And now she’s pushing like a champ through her last fight: stage four cancer.
I flew into Denver International Airport, picked up my rental car, and drove straight to the hospital. There I met with a dozen or so of Jenn’s other friends: her pastor, her church’s women’s ministry leaders, her college friend, the friend who “adopted” her and her kids when Jenn’s husband died, and so many church and ministry friends.
And each of these women had one thing in common: they were pushy.
They pushed to make sure Jenn had the privacy she needed and kept people out of the room so she could rest.
They pushed for pain management so Jenn could be comfortable.
They pushed to raise money for her kids so they would be taken care of after she passes.
They pushed to make sure that Jenn’s wishes are listened to at every turn.
And here is what I know for sure: Jesus loves a pushy woman. A woman who goes against what a woman is “supposed” to be and do. A woman who doesn’t act the way she’s expected to behave. A woman who will do anything to align with God and His will, no matter what it looks like to those around her.
Jesus loves a pushy woman.
Just look at the story of the bleeding woman in Luke 8:42–48:
As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
This woman, who so desperately needed a miracle, was pushy.
She literally pushed people out of the way in order to receive what she needed from Jesus.
My whole life, I’ve desperately avoided coming off as pushy. But when it comes to getting what I need, and what others need, I want to be pushy.
I want to push the expectations of the world, even the church, out of the way so that I can advocate for good.
I want to fight for the widow and the orphan, the oppressed and the disenfranchised, just like Jenn did. Just like Jesus did.
I’m going to be willing to make others temporarily uncomfortable, for the long-term goal of living each day as Jesus commanded us to do.
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The (in)courage podcast is taking a brief hiatus from new episodes this week as we do some maintenance and updating behind the scenes! We’ll return to new daily episodes next week, starting March 13th. In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy five episodes from our podcast archives!
Today’s replay is from April 2022. It’s an excerpt from our book Empowered: More of Him for All of You, written by Anna E. Rendell. Listen at the player below or wherever you stream podcasts.Leave a Comment