On Claiming Your Priesthood

{By Tammy Hendricksmeyer}


I was the one who wore tight jeans. I was the teenager who flirted with boys and pretended to be easier than I really was. I was the one who secretly waited. But I was the one dressed in punk-ish clothes in my youth group at my southern church. I was a Rahab looking girl. One you stayed away from if you were a good Christian.



But if I was Rahab, I missed the scarlet rope.



I could tell you details about two incidents that happened in that church. They were significant and damaging. But instead, I’ll tell you–I left. I didn’t just leave them. I left all of them. It’d be years later before I’d fully re-embrace my faith.



And I’ve learned, as a returned prodigal: grace is a daily salvation.



As an eighteen year returnee, I know of shame. Fear and failure have sat with me at night. When I’m tired and sleep isn’t coming, lies come instead. I know this now. The enemy takes our vulnerable moments and exploits them. Those moments look like me, resemble parts of who I am, except they are horribly twisted. Always full of ugly insertations.



But when you know the tactics, you prepare. That’s what I do. I recognize it. That’s the first step. But I don’t fight it alone. When I’m knocked over by its force, I reach for scriptures. It’s the sword. My offense. My weapon. Then I go further. I go to those who I fellowship with, who are there in it with me.



This human-ness, if we look it straight in the eye, testifies of the Fall. I’ve had to re-learn too. I’m not defined by those things that would label me as damaged. I’m not defined by my past. It shapes me, sure. But I am renewed. I continue to be renewed.



Theological folks call it, sanctification. Simply put– we need a whole lot of Jesus every day. Or put another way, it’s like aging. You never stop. But hopefully you grow wiser in the process.



I’ve also learned–there are other types of leaving. Ones that bring you outside the box of your upbringing. Ones that lead you away from your familiar spiritual wells and leads to an ocean-sized watering place. Ones that run the risk of drowning in God’s great goodness. Ones that reveal God doesn’t fit into your neat-n-tidy doctrines telling Him what He can and can not do with your faith.


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As humans, there’s the obvious–we make mistakes. All of us. But we don’t have to check common sense at the door or leave discernment at home. We are connected solely by Jesus. Not pedestals. Not personalities (good or bad). Not lengthy legal contracts. Not by fear of Hell or church memberships. But by the Spirit of God.



I want to know more. I want to know what God says about me, about us. I want to see it for myself, touch it, smell it, hold it in my hands. I seek Truth for my own sake. For our sake. I do not wait for a modern day Moses to bring back parts of God for me. If he wants to go, let him. But I’m coming too.



“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 HCSB



I am a living tablet. I am a house and the Holy Spirit, my permanent resident. Together, you and I, we are the Bride. Over coffee, or phone calls, or playgrounds, in Him, we are the church. And I need this kind of church in you. These are friendships of little scarlet ropes carrying Jesus to each other.



There is a spiritual exercise but it looks a lot like weakness. I want to go there. I want to run to the tomb and discover how He lives more today than He did on that cross.



His Spirit is within me. And when people on pedestals or some derogatory name defines me, then I’ve replaced Him with someone or something else. It moves my location to the foot of Mount Sinai, anxious and waiting. And down there, I look for a Moses or another something to tell me who I am.



But now, I march my own two feet up the Mount. I feel the quaking earth, despite fear or uncertainty. I press in for words of Life. I let Him write the words on my heart. I am not deterred from flashes of lightening or men who’d say I’d be better off waiting wait for someone else.



I claim my priesthood. I do not deny him His place. I am not drawn away from the new covenant to be saddled by the old. If only by the Blood sprinkled on my conscience, I am a priest. It came at great cost. It called me out of darkness. It is the new wineskin. I am the wineskin, stretched and ever stretching by the new wine poured in me.



The surest way to remember a man or woman’s humanity is to walk up the Mount, side by side. Each, equally full of Christ. And in doing so, I will claim. I will embrace. I will join others and we’ll make up the Parts.



But ultimately, I will take seriously my duties because surely God is here. And I will know Him for myself.




And friends, take a moment out of your time, when you need a break, and need to breathe. See what these lovely people brought together for you? If you have a few more minutes, send one of them a note with your thoughts.




My PhotoTammy imagines cutting through the competition & jockeying of social media. She’s a renaissance woman who’s scattered pigeons at Notre Dame, swam the coral reefs of Okinawa, scaled fortresses in Nuremburg, and viewed the Eiffel Tower safely from the ground. She now lives on a farm and occasionally drives an old John Deere tractor. She’s the Founder and Curator for Outside The City Gates , but she finds courage on her personal blog, The Art of Fear Not, where she embraces her gifts, talents, and life.




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5 Comments on “On Claiming Your Priesthood

  1. This is beautiful in a lot of beautiful ways, Tammy. I think we have more in common than just John Deere tractors and farm life, friend. 😉 Thank you for keeping it real here and really keeping Jesus at the forefront of this place and your writing. In Him we press on and lean in. xo

  2. Pingback: On Motherhood Gone Terribly Wrong, Priesthoods, & City-Slicking Farm Wives | The Art of Fear Not

  3. Tammy,
    Thanks for showing us how to claim our priesthood by your example…This is so true and good: “I’m not defined by those things that would label me as damaged. I’m not defined by my past. It shapes me, sure. But I am renewed. I continue to be renewed.”

    Thanks for the hope and truth 🙂

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