Approach many women in the church and if they re being honest, they ll tell you they
try hard to keep it all together;
are frustrated that being good doesn t deliver the perfect life;
feel trapped in expectations;
make decisions based on shoulds ;
feel selfish when they say no; and
are uncertain of their place in God s kingdom.
Between the desire to please God, the need to feel valued, and the compulsion to make everyone around them happy, women often find themselves denying their desires. It s safer to stay in the life of shoulds even if it means being spiritually and emotionally disconnected.
Kelli Gotthardt knows their pain. Always considered a good girl, she threw herself into every ministry, saying yes to every request her church family made. On the outside, her life looked completely together but she was drowning in self-doubt and shame. Unlikely Rebel is the story of how Kelly slowly shed shoulds and shame, learning to love God and love who He created her to be.
The journey from the comfort of doing everything expected of a perfect pastor ‘s wife to the uncertainty of living authentically and true to her unique calling is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. Many Christians condemned her, responding with fear or anger to her greater intimacy with God s calling when it didn’ t match their own vision. For others, though, her journey inspired courage to embrace God s path for their own lives.
Now Kelli invites other women to discover God s leading in their lives, learning that if they throw off the despondency of underserved shame, abundant life awaits.
About the Author
I am more or less a misfit. For much of my adult life haven’t felt like I quite fit in at church. This may surprise people who know me because, to look at me, you’d think I was the ultimate insider. Married to a pastor, lover of Jesus, able to pray out loud in front of large groups–what could be the problem? It always seemed I was asking different questions and reading different books and desiring different results. I wanted more authenticity. Less “safe” Christianity and more following Jesus no matter what the cost. I wanted more of God’s word in me and less dissecting it and trying to control it. I wanted less “cleaned up” and more “lived in”. I wanted more living with questions and the mystery of God and less pat answers. At the very least I wanted to have these kinds of discussions.
As I’ve continued down this path over the last decade, God has led me to others who share these desires. In fact, I’m discovering there are lots of men and women like me who want more…and less.
The answer was not to leave church, but to continue to expand my community. Continue to gather other misfit women and connect them to each each other. Which is why I’ve created this space–a refuge and resource for women who want to take a next step into uncharted waters.
My prayer is that through my speaking and writing and this community of others who are on the same journey, you might find renewed vision, a next step and a few traveling companions.
Last evening I sat down in a lazy-boy chair and devoured this book before bedtime. It is amazing! Kelli Gotthardt laid her heart and soul bare before her readers and shared her most intimate, deepest parts of her life. The good, the bad, and her journey.
Although she had a rebellious streak growing up, this is not about rebelling, but challenging the status quo, not complying because everyone else is, but being certain that what she does for the Lord is exactly what God wants her to do.
Being a pastor’s daughter, and promising myself I would never become a pastor’s wife, I completely related to her flight from ministry and duty for a year. I know that overwhelming feeling of living up to the congregational standards and doing all that is desired of you as a member of the pastor’s family. Those unexpected expectations from people just wear one out…..then we doubt if God ever wanted us to do those ministries let alone called us. I completely related to and lived some of her story.
Unlikely Rebel is divided into three parts:
Many women fall into this trap of satan I’ve described above. They are worn, desiring a way to escape the norm to live authentically. This is why I believe this book would be an excellent study for women independently or as a group. What a wonderful way to minister to your world through your home. This book is funny, heart wrenching, beautiful, and painful. As she shares herself, you will see yourself.
Thank you to Kelly Gotthardt and Kregal Publications for a copy in exchange for my honest review.