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.
Need a retreat but can’t get away? Click here to check out Kathi’s book, An Abundant Place.
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
Robin Dance says
This sort of story is the hardest; when you shared about Jenn, I hurt with you, for you and her children and family and family of choice… And yet. Here you go with seeing and sharing Jesus, to encourage and challenge others to see something in new light. “Pushy” can get a bad rap, but when Jesus came into contact with someone others might’ve criticized, He poured into and healed her. I wanna be more like Him (and you, my friend <3 ).
Kathi Lipp says
Robin, thanks for honoring Jenn with your comment. She is the best kind of human and representative of Jesus. (And I feel the same about you.)
Oh Kathi, so sorry to read about your friend. I only hope when my time comes I am surrounded by so much love.
While I was reading this, two stories came to mind- the one you mention about the bleeding woman and the “Mary and Martha” passage. I have been called pushy, among other not so kind terms. But, I believe it was the women who were part of Jesus’ ministry that “pushed” the envelope as we say today and were so vital to that ministry. When I saw the title of this post, I could not wait to read it and it did not disappoint!
Kathi Lipp says
Madeline – I love all the pushy women you mentioned. We have so much to learn from each of them.
Ruth Mills says
I love this except the heartache of losing your friend. Thank you for having the courage to share Jesus from your trip you didn’t want to take. May you have His continued comfort, peace & strength!
God bless you and keep you.
What a legacy of faith your friend Jenn is giving to her children. I pray when my time comes that people remember me as being “pushy and woke” to the needs around me.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Sorry about your friend not well. I know another woman who has friend who had cancer it had come back again. She has said this Friend to her family and friends. I win even if not healed this side of earth. Even though you will miss me on earth you have not lost all. As you all will see me in glory with Jesus again when your time up on earth . But this time you all will see me with a bran new body no cancer. As I will never have cancer again as I will be with Jesus in glory and healed. So be happy if that happens don’t be sad you won’t see me on earth anymore if not healed. Look forward to that day you will leave earth one day and get to see me in my brand new body never to have cancer again. So let’s make each day I am here still on happy and full of memories incase I not healed this side of earth. So as you all have happy things to remember me by if I taken home to glory to get my healing. I thought that was just lovely of my friends friend to think of her illness like that. She said it all in Jesus hands if I am healed this side of earth or in glory. But I think she is one wonderful woman for being pushy to make memories so as. If taken home to glory her friends and family have good memories to remember her by if not healed on earth. I do think that is just so lovely. Amen Love Dawn Ferguson-Little in my prayers all incourage xx
Thank you, Kathi! This is wonderful! So inspiring! You go, girl!
Mary Carver says
I love this so much. Not your loss, of course; I’m so sorry for your loss. But the picture of Jesus loving a pushy woman is like the biggest, fiercest hug for this pushy woman. Thank you, friend.
Terry Law says
Oh my! How this touched my heart! I could not help but burst into tears. Such a huge loss! I am praying for her and her family and for you and for those that love her and will deeply grieve. Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs and prayers
Maggie Sue says
Throughout the Old & New Testaments, God has provided examples of persistent women.
All are mere shadows in the light of Christ’s pursuit of every.single.soul.
Keep bein’ ‘pushy’, dear sister!❤
Gem Fadling says
So grateful for all the pushy women who move forward with tenacity and grace. Thank you for sharing about your lovely friend. And the bleeding woman is one of my favorite people in all of the Bible. Exactly because of her tenacity in reaching for what she knew would help her. And Jesus responded so lovingly. Blessings to you, Kathi, and your friend.
Beth Williams says
Sweet sister so sorry for the loss of your beloved friend. Asking God to bless her children. The persistent widow is yet another pushy woman. A widow kept coming to the non-God-fearing judge asking for justice from her adversary. But because she was persistent he gave her justice. It takes pushy persistent women to get things done. We need to advocate & love those on the fringes of society. If we don’t do it who will? Keep being pushy. Jesus loves you!!