By Danielle Morgan
God's Brave Women - Danielle's Story
Have you ever walked away from a great thing? How about something that offered opportunity and challenge, and if you packaged it all up in a box and tied it with a nice, pretty bow, it would be full of all the things you thought you were looking for?
In August of 2019 I did just that.
I was 3 years into an incredible career where I sat as a Communications Director for a very large, thriving multi-site church. My position came with a great deal of influence, authority, and responsibility, and I did not take it lightly.
I had spent the last year in my role finally feeling like I had built a solid rhythm with my leaders. I was taking ownership over the direction we were heading and was afforded the opportunity to build a team to support our mission moving forward.
My team was solid, I was finally starting to get the bandwidth I had been so desperately seeking, and on all accounts, we were on our way to something great.
But something wasn’t right. During those 3 years I had fought very hard to get to where I was - and when I say “fought”, I mean it was an uphill battle. If you’ve ever worked in vocational ministry, it’s not the friendliest place for a woman to be, and that right there is a hands-on education I started receiving on day 1.
"I had fought very hard to get to where I was - and when I say “fought”, I mean it was an uphill battle."
I once heard a top-level executive say to a room full of mid-level women, “I fully support bringing in a female executive, we just haven’t found any suitable women.” And as a woman with an intention and drive to grow within the company, my first thought was, “wow… what a slap in the face to me and all the other fully capable, highly educated, and uniquely skilled women sitting in this room. Maybe, sir, you should start by looking around.”
This wasn’t dissimilar to the time when I was told I needed to present a new idea I had been working on with a male colleague because it would hold more weight with him in the room. When I asked if it was because he was a man, my leader simply said, “maybe.”
As horrifying as this is, the sad reality is, it was true and I knew it. I knew that if my male colleague could back me up, I’d have a fighting chance. I knew that if my male colleague could echo my sentiments, his voice would hold more weight than my own.
But why was I not enough? Why were my years of commitment, loyalty, hard work, and proven track record not enough on their own? I’m not sure I know the answer to that question, but I speculate that the void of female voices in positions of senior level leadership had a lot to do with it.
"But why was I not enough? Why were my years of commitment, loyalty, hard work, and proven track record not enough on their own?"
And I knew that, regardless of the claims being made in support of women in leadership, there was nothing being done to develop and lead the capable and qualified women that already existed within the company.
I knew I needed an advocate and I needed to see that I belonged - we all did. We were tired of being siloed and excluded, having our qualifications questioned, and not being considered for roles that we were clearly right for.
It’s strange because when you’re in the midst of dysfunction, you don’t always realize or see it. It’s when you reflect, share your experiences, and start to poke around and ask hard, pointed questions that you realize your experiences are a direct result of a broken and bruised culture, and the problem was so much bigger than I had realized.
"When you’re in the midst of dysfunction, you don’t always realize or see it. It’s when you reflect, share your experiences, and start to poke around and ask hard, pointed questions that you realize your experiences are a direct result of a broken and bruised culture..."
The final year in my role, I had finally started to reap some of the benefits from all the gritty work I had been doing. I had built a team, we were becoming more and more in sync with each other, and things were moving forward. This final year is where I experienced the most reward, but deep-down my spirit wasn’t at rest.
I had been praying for months about the hurdles I was facing. Just when it felt like I would take a step forward, something would plunge me 3 steps back. Then other doors started to open for me, and I seriously considered what it would look like to leave.
And let me tell you what happened when I did…
I began to advocate loudly for women in the workplace, especially those in male-dominate spaces where women feel unheard and unseen. During my role at the church, I had made my voice heard among female and male colleagues alike when it came to creating space and opening doors for women in leadership.
But leaving gave me an even larger opportunity to speak louder, bring awareness, and to create resources that not only encourage women in similar situations, but empower them to boldly advocate for themselves.
Sometimes the brave thing to do is to walk away from a good thing so that God can use you for an even bigger and greater purpose.
"Sometimes the brave thing to do is to walk away from a good thing so that God can use you for an even bigger and greater purpose."
Sisters, the season you are in now will not be wasted. God is preparing and equipping you to walk boldly into the next stage. If you are willing, He will use everything from this hard season to build your character and develop discernment so you too, can bravely determine when it’s time to say goodbye to something good so you can welcome something great.
"He will use everything from this hard season to build your character and develop discernment so you too, can bravely determine when it’s time to say goodbye to something good so you can welcome something great."
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave!
No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.
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Danielle is an author, lifestyle writer, speaker, and brand & marketing strategist, whose work centers on equipping women of faith as they navigate the ins and outs of professional development.