Personal Stories | CBE International

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Personal Stories

Lauren Gross Blanco
I was a teenager when I first heard my male pastor preach about the woman “subject to bleeding,” as she is often called by various Bible translations. Her story wasn’t new to me, but I still remember my face growing hot and how I shifted nervously on the pew when my pastor announced that this woman had her period—he euphemistically called it her “womanly issues.” It was a sudden revelation to me to realize this story I had heard several times before was speaking about the unmentionable Aunt Flo. A person, in the Bible of all places, was “on the rag,” and I felt extremely awkward about that. Probably because my pastor was uncomfortable talking about it. Probably because my culture had conditioned me not to talk to men about my own “woman... Read more
Photo of David Hart
Mary always knew her son’s life would end this way. She always had ominous nightmares about her son that would all begin differently. Sometimes her son would be a different age—fourteen, nineteen, thirty, thirty-three. Sometimes he would have a beard, and sometimes he would be clean shaven. Sometimes he would have dreadlocks or braids, and sometimes his hair would be like everyone else’s on his block—a well-manicured Afro. In some dreams, Mary’s son would be a doctor or a lawyer. In others, he would be a student, or a scientist, or a preacher, or a teacher. In some dreams, he would be a precocious child, sprinting around the neighborhood challenging other children, and even adults, to a game of twenty questions, trivia, or truth or dare. In her nightmares,... Read more
A few years ago, I was a workshop presenter at a popular women’s conference. The other presenters and I had gathered to pray at the beginning of the conference. We’d exchanged greetings, participated in a cute little ice breaker, and had a wonderful time of prayer. I was the only woman of color, but this wasn’t new for me. I’ve become accustomed to occupying spaces like these. During one of the general sessions, there was a panel discussion about women in ministry. I wasn’t a panelist and didn’t particularly care to be because I was exhausted from the breakout session I led. I’d just completed a workshop on racial reconciliation among clergywomen, and it was ninety minutes of really deep, honest, and rewarding dialogue. On the heels of that sessio... Read more
Cory Driver
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! My family moved to a new place last year, so we are relatively new to our current church. I am still in that awkward phase of introducing myself to others only for them to say that we’ve already met and vice versa. Recently, a man whom I’ve met several times introduced himself to me. His wife leaned over to him and said, “Honey, you know him. He’s the one who is always wearing a baby.” It is rare, indeed, for me not to have one of my children strapped to me on Sunday mornings, or any time that I am out of the house with my brood. Wearing my baby gives me two hands free to try to keep the older one safe and out of trouble, or help my wife carry all our children’s accoutrements. I hav... Read more
Leanne Weber
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! I am at the weekly prayer meeting that all church staff are required to attend. The leaders like it when spouses come too, but they understand that work and family obligations sometimes do not allow this. I am the only woman on staff whose spouse does not also work at the church. We are a one-car family, and my husband works at a group home forty-five minutes away from the church. I take a deep breath and scan the room, hoping to see another woman or a couple that I can catch a ride home with after the meeting. Otherwise I must sit in my office until almost midnight waiting for my husband to pick me up because, although it is not official policy, church culture dictates that a man and a woman who are not married to ea... Read more
Meredith Flory
The same year my husband was in the process of enlisting in the military, I was studying the Bible with a group of women on Wednesday evenings. I don’t remember the exact study, but at one point we were to read a passage in the New Testament about heroes of the faith, probably Hebrews 11. This is a long list of people from the Old Testament who made an impact on history by their faith in an unseen God. We were to choose one person that we admired, felt inspired by, or related to and write about them. I say people, but truth be told, this is primarily a list of men. When a woman is included, the language is passive and is focused on her reproductive power (for example, Sarah “was enabled to bear children,” Heb. 11:11, NIV). While reading, I was drawn to this verse: By fai... Read more
Kara Triboulet
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winner. Enjoy! “When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be; anything God desires you to be, no matter who you are,” the director of ministries said. Every Sunday morning before the children were dismissed to their Sunday School classes, they would gather around the stage facing the congregation and listen to a short message from a staff member. This was the message that Sunday. When I heard this statement, I was twenty years old. It wasn’t even directly stated to me, but it threw me into season of confusion and frustration. This wasn’t a statement of hope for me. Instead, this statement had hidden limits attached to it. Limits that nobody around me seemed to have a logical explanation for. I sat i... Read more
Editor's Note: This is a Top 15 CBE Writing Contest Winner. Imagine this scenario with me: A husband in his sixties hurls physical threats and curses at his wife daily. She walks a fine line to avoid aggravating him to the point of violence. The empathy and thoughtfulness that had long been natural between them evaporated. She celebrates important dates without his acknowledgment. He is demanding and seldom shows appreciation; he never says, “thank you,” nor considers the stress he creates. He regularly threatens divorce. He called 911 to have them “take care of her.” This situation escalates over ten years. Would you stay in this marriage? This is my story, but the man I describe is not the same man I married, even though he appears the same and recognizes t... Read more
While reflecting on God’s faithfulness throughout 2019, I remembered a recent conversation with Alexia Salvatierra at the Evangelical Theological Society. An internationally recognized community organizer and seminary professor, Alexia remembered Archbishop Desmond Tutu saying once, “We are resurrection people!” Yes, God’s resurrection power is not only our hope, but the power and lift in all of our work at CBE International. God’s risen presence led CBE’s community throughout this year and awakened new empathy and resolve in us to balance power between men and women. I hope the stories I share inspire your faith as they have mine. I enjoy connecting with CBE’s community wherever I travel. While CBE’s community is dive... Read more
Ellen Richard Vosburg
Editor’s Note: The following is an interview CBE International conducted with Kristen Padilla and Tara Beth Leach. Kristen and Tara were two of the organizers of the Day of Prayer for Women in Ministry, which took place on November 17, 2019. In the wake of this event, and with all the excitement it generated, we wanted to hear more from these tenacious church leaders and thought you might like to hear from them, too. Perhaps their example can help us as we all work together to support and encourage women in ministry. Kristen Padilla is a speaker, Bible teacher, wife, and mom, and she serves as the marketing and communications coordinator at Beeson Divinity School. She is the author of Now That I Am Called. Tara Beth Leach is the senior pastor of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene... Read more

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