When Jami Nato was called to a season of rest she felt unsettled, but God was preparing her for what was to come.


Source: Anna Shvets / Pedels

I hit the trail too late in the day. If there was a trophy for underboob sweat, I would win. I don’t even try to hide it with black tank tops any more. It’s just me and a grey top, sweat dripping, visible panty line showing, tearing up the trails mile by mile. I guess this is what aging feels like; you stop caring what people will think of the walking sauna they just passed.

As the sun beat down, I wondered about God’s provision for me this year. I didn’t have any projects, nothing new, and it felt strange. Disorienting to just be. In a meeting earlier in the day, we had talked about identity. I can get identity through doing lots of things all the time, busy creating. To not have that, to have only the small things, to not be so “useful” all the time. My pastor said I was just as valuable and that God talks a lot about the hidden places. The places where no one can measure my success.

I can get identity through doing lots of things all the time, busy creating.

The crazy thing is, in hindsight, I now know the work God would do in me over the course of that year. He was preparing me for something up ahead, and I would really need the full tank of gas I was building through rest over the spring and summer. My “project” would be the rapid spiritual growth, the deconstructing and reconstructing of some not-so-helpful ideas surrounding my womanhood and my theology. I discovered I didn’t need to shrink to fit into religious ecosystems that revolved around hierarchies and women being quiet. I ravenously studied the women in the Bible, and they lit the way for the path ahead, each one providing a bit of wisdom for my journey.

Here on the trail, I sensed God with me. And I talked audibly. “You know, God, it’s you who made me this way. Why would you make me so outspoken or so demanding of my equal value in a place I really love? I’m messing everything up!”

That week, I learned about the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27). Their father had died, and since they were female, the land would go to a male relative. But this was where they lived! And so, in an act of bravery, they marched to Moses and said: “Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son?” (Clever play to the male ego). “Give us property among our father’s relatives!” And Moses had to think about it. He brought it before the Lord, and God said, “What the daughters are saying is right. You must give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives.” And then they changed the law for future women because of their bravery.

It seems cheesy to say I was like a chrysalis turning into a butterfly, but maybe that’s why God created such a creature.

I wept when I read what seemed to be a direct answer to my prayer through a story of women disrupting their ecosystem and the change that came about. I became unafraid, emboldened to stop shrinking and start using my voice, demanding my inheritance from our brothers in Christ. Asking to be included at tables women were not traditionally sitting at because I saw God do that all over the Bible. Pushing back against faulty theologies surrounding male and female with my pastor. Reading, encouraging, asking questions, and letting go of the posturing as if we had all the answers. We would ultimately come to an impasse, and I would have to leave that denomination to find myself a home where I could be fully unashamed in my gifts and calling while having a uterus.

What would emerge in me after that season didn’t look anything like the person that started her journey. It seems cheesy to say I was like a chrysalis turning into a butterfly, but maybe that’s why God created such a creature: To give us hope for complete transformation on this side of heaven. And to feel God beaming about it, to feel his face shine upon me, to be this known. And the joy I felt by him watching me do what I was made to do. Fly.