Not me God, I’m a Woman By Pastor Brenda Lee Bowley
My call into the ministry started when I was a very young child. I always had a spiritual side, even as a small child my grandparents , my mother ,as well as, my aunts and uncles, would say there’s something about her, she’s different she’s going to be used of God. Of course I didn’t understand it all. The only thing I knew is that I was seeking for a God to be ever with me.
I was raised a Catholic, I had made my first communion and confirmation, I wanted to be a nun. In my mind I knew only the man could work at the altar, I wanted to serve God so bad. So I reasoned with myself if I wanted to work for the Lord and to do his will, I had to become a nun and do all that I could. In fact I wanted to be a missionary nun to Africa.
Life went on as normal as could be. I married at very young age of 16. Please don’t marry young, finish school I don’t recommend it. Life didn’t take me down a road of glory but it was a road of pain, abuse and I walked a road of difficulty. Even in the bad times I remember crying out to the Lord, to help me. I remember going into a church and praying to God to lead me into places of comfort peace to deliver me from my situation. Things did not work out as easy as one would think, it was years later when I came to know the Lord and the truth of God’s word. I had only known the Trinity in the way of Catholicism.
One day at a Tupperware party the women were talking about church, and they were talking about Jesus being God. I became very upset stating how could that be, it was three Jesus God and the Holy Spirit. Scripture was given to me, statements were made, words were said about a mighty God whose name was Jesus. I went home and I began to search the Scriptures only to see that all of what they were telling me was in the Bible. The nuns used to tell us,”you do not read the Bible without the guidance of the priest or one of the nuns.” But now in my 20’s i’m finding out that there is only one God the Creator of the world. His name is Jesus. I wept and I cried to think that for many years I have been taught a lie. I went to the first united Pentecostal church of Augusta Maine. Oh the joy and the tears that whelmed up within my soul. I long to search and defined what was before me. It wasn’t long before I received the gift of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus name on my birthday July 13, 1976. I was born again twice.
I remember many times thinking God wanted me to do more, but in my mind how could that be, I was a woman, and I had an unsaved husband. Surely there’s no way God was calling me to do anything like preaching for him. So I would shut it out and continue on serving the Lord teaching Sunday school helping out at nursing home services teaching home Bible studies staying busy doing the work of the Lord. Yet God continued to nudge my soul, and my spirit would feel a jumping inside, God was calling me to preach the gospel.
Women just didn’t do a lot of preaching or pastoring. A lot of people I knew and loved did not stand behind women in the ministry nor did they even believe women should be in the ministry for which they were called.
I decided I would stay right where I was and continue to be a great support in the kingdom of God. Time went on again life had many difficulties many trials and at times it was as though my whole world was falling apart. Once again the call of the Lord came upon me, and I Felt to listen just a little bit more to the call. I felt pressed on all sides, I didn’t want to cause trouble in my home nor did I want to cause trouble in the church. However I do remember telling the Lord,” if your really calling me to do your work and preach the gospel ,then Lord before I do and obey you , please speak to my husband and tell him to have me go and do the call of God on my life. “I promise you I will go.”
I was driving down an old dirt road and God was nudging with again, it was so strong, I rolled the window down and opened the door with tears running down my eyes, and shouted I will obey God, if you make a way and I will obey.
It wasn’t long, maybe 10 years, and my husband came to me and said “I cannot fight your God anymore go and do what God has called you to do.
God spoke to me about a little town in Madison Maine. I went and I began to teach Bible studies looking for places to maybe hold a small service. I didn’t have a ministerial license, though in my heart I knew it was going to happen. I did all God wanted me to do, I needed to have the credentials, to be able to offer to the people God. They needed to know they could trust me to take care of them spiritually. A license is a must! Though you don’t need one to witness, you might to start and establish a church.
I again waited upon the Lord, God gave me a dream. In the dream I was walking down a road, in the dream I saw wheel chairs coming down the middle of the road, then I saw a woman in black-and-white, she said to me, “where have you been we have been waiting for you to tell us about this one true God.” I held the dream in my heart and told couple of friends about my dream that felt so real to me. I put it in my bible. It wasn’t but six months to a year later, I was going to the little town of Madison to pass out tracts with some friends .We were sitting at a local restaurant, when someone said there was something going on, A crisis type situation, I offered to go and see if we could be of any service . We left and started going to the direction of the noise, all of a sudden, I heard myself say look at the wheelchairs coming down the middle of the road. I felt the power of the Holy Ghost surge through my body. I began to speak in tongues. My friend yelled, “Your dream Sis. Bowley, I replied with, Lord, where in the lady in black and white? I heard the Lord speak to my heart, He said,” with God there is no gray area, it’s either black or white, when I call I call.” I began to weep in the presence of the Lord.
The journey began. I applied for my local license, and my unsaved husband backed me the whole way, all the way to the Ordination license/process. All the way to remodeling a building and having a church in Madison Maine. All the way to buying a piece of land to build a new church for the Kingdom. Then when the body is ready we will build.
What a journey it has been! I was the Maine Ladies President for 14 years and spent two years on the committee, for a total of 16 yrs. I am done now and am focusing on another chapter in my walk with God.
It was not always easy, many did not believe in my call, but those that did helped to encourage me. Focusing on the positive people will be the most important thing you will do. Surround yourself with Godly support. Remember always, If God calls, God will make a way for you to fulfill the call. But we as women must keep a good spirit and love those who are not with us. We must be kind, friendly, real, and always obey God.
I didn’t believe in women in the Ministry either. But I do now!
Today I am currently pastoring the church in Madison, Maine. I love to help other women and men aspire to obey their calling. I have three lady ministers in my church. One was a missionary to Estonia, and now helps in the church and preaches in another church waiting for a pastor to take the church. She covers on Wednesday nights. The other lady is our Jail minister. She has baptized over 100 men and many have prayed through to the Holy Ghost. She helped to establish a chapel in the jail. It’s beautiful. Then the other lady is my church administrator. She preaches for me when I’m away and when needed. I have a male minister who helps in every area possible.
I love to preach out, I love to evangelize and hold conferences and lady revivals. I go to a Lady Minister Conference once a year in Indiana. We all need each other.
My husband is still unsaved, but growing closer every day. He backs me up every step of the way. He was an unbeliever, now he believes, pray he will be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.
I continue to work a full time job in the field of Social work. I have one son and two grand-sons. I love to serve the Lord, in the good times and the bad times. Jesus is always the center of it all.
My vision is to see more women becoming active in the Call of God on their life, to follow and obey their calling. I want to support and guide as many as I can to support them in reaching and believing their God given right to their calling and goals in the Ministry. I love building the Kingdom, male or female. It’s all about the Kingdom.
Name: Pastor Brenda Lee Bowley
Vocation/Job: Case Manager for Mental Health
Education: Degree in Mental Health / Social Work
Ministerial License Type: Ordination
District Licensed in: Maine
Current Ministry: Pastor
Ministry Vision: To help to grow churches, help women fulfill their God given call in becoming a Woman in the Ministry.
Favorite Books: Bible, Study Books, books on leadership and books of other women and their ministry.
Favorite Foods: Lobster, seafood, Strawberry Shortcake
Favorite Pastimes: family memories, kayaking, going to the ocean, love to travel.