Ordained Woman Pastor

Ordained Woman Pastor

Ordained Woman Pastor

My name is Mechelle Allen, and I am called to be an ordained woman pastor for hurting women and children. I live in Marysville, WA, with my incredible husband, Norman L. Allen Jr., and my youngest daughter, Marissa, who is 20. I was born in Minnesota in 1966. The oldest of four. I have two sisters and a brother. We moved constantly when I was a kid. Up to age thirty, I moved 55 times. We lived all over the country and I never spent a full year in any school I attended. I found it very difficult to make and keep friends.

I gave my heart to Jesus at a Jesus People meeting in downtown Minneapolis when I was seven years old. As I listened to the preacher giving the altar call, I knew I was a sinner. I desperately wanted to answer that altar call so I crawled under the pews and between people to get to the front of the church. My parents found me in the back room praying with a lady to ask Jesus into my heart.

Childhood Trauma

I learned Bible verses on my dad’s knee and gained a love for singing praise songs. We went to church sometimes, and dad taught me to read my Bible. However, he was an alcoholic and often got very violent when he had been drinking. My dad punished me severely, at times I even received beatings during which I was told not to cry. I was also bullied in school. Spit on, beat up, called names, and sometimes groups of kids in middle school encircled me taunting and teasing. I was miserable and desperate to have friends.

At 13, I became interested in pursuing a career in television and radio. Seizing every opportunity to be around TV and radio stations helped me to learn everything I could. I earned my broadcasters license at 14 and began doing internships at radio and TV stations. The A/V club in high school was the first of its kind at that time and I joined it. I produced and directed a three-camera video recording of a play as a freshman.

At age 15, my dad, angry with me, drunk and high as he normally was, grabbed me, kicked me out of the house and told me not to come back. My mom was at work. I learned years later that he told her I ran away, which is why she never came looking for me. I went to the downtown area where I lived and slept outside under the stars, with homeless people, begging for quarters and buying food when I had enough.

Further Life Turmoil

Soon I was offered a place to stay by the woman who supervised the interns at the radio station. I accepted but was forced to do things for her friends. She expected me to let her male friends in the local media have their way with me over the next two years. One of them actually had me at his place to babysit and clean his house for weeks at a time. At age seventeen, I was told that it was time for me to go back home. So, I did go back home and rededicated my life to Christ. I thought that I could repent and just put it all behind me. I started going to church, got my GED and got married all within a year.

My husband was physically, emotionally, and mentally abusive. He told me I was garbage, not fit to be a wife, and a bad mom. I told our pastors, but they offered no advice other than to not make him mad. I found hope and help at my new church. Soon, I worked with the preteens and helped with children’s church. Then, I found out my husband was abusing our kids and threatening to kill me if they told on him. We escaped fearing for our lives. My pastors hid us until I obtained a restraining order. Then, he could be removed from our house. I enrolled in college and began working at the church as a TV producer and pastor’s assistant. My ex-husband stalked me for months and then left the state never to return. I continued raising my two daughters, age seven and four.

A New Beginning

In 1994, Norman began volunteering as a camera operator for me. He came to the church to do computer work, and we developed a friendship. I determined not to remarry as long as I was raising my girls. In early 1996, we started to see each other more often. He cooked us dinner on Sunday afternoon and took us to church for the evening service. I figured we would just be friends. So, when the church had to lay me off during financial difficulties, I told him I needed to really focus on my kids. I needed to build my career and could not be distracted with a long-term open-ended relationship. Two weeks later, he proposed to me saying he wanted to commit the rest of his life to me and my daughters, Sarah (now 33) and Bethany (now 30). We married six weeks later on December 21.

Norman is a gentle, even-tempered, loving and godly man. Sarah once said of him at a Father’s Day celebration that he plugged the holes in her heart that her birth-dad made. We had a daughter together, Marissa, now 20. She is exceedingly more than any of us could have asked or thought. We laid out goals in building a culture of love, acceptance, and forgiveness in our family, and never talked of step-parenting. We are a close family.

Our oldest daughter told us soon after the 911 attacks that she was going over there. She intended to join the military. Sarah came home two months before graduation to say she had sworn into the Navy, and she went in as an MA military law enforcement. She was assigned to a group called mobile security force, who provide security and do investigations in combat areas. During a mission delivering supplies, she was injured. Since then, she has become disabled having multiple surgeries for nerve damage to her spinal column.

Panic Attacks and Attempted Suicide

During this time, I began having severe panic attacks that affected my work as a children’s pastor and teaching software classes. My dad also started showing up at my job or house randomly. I was working three jobs equaling 70 plus hours a week. I had a daughter in a war zone, homeschooled a high school sophomore, and our youngest just entered kindergarten.

One Sunday during children’s church in November 2005, I was alone. There were no helpers that day. There were 48 kids and just me. I asked parents as they dropped off their kids to stay and help, but no one would. The kids’ chatter seemed to overwhelm me. I lost my place in the lesson. I couldn’t think of what to say or do. My heart began racing, the room was spinning, my vision blurred, I was sure I would die right there of a heart attack. Then a close friend walked in. I handed her the lesson and left and drove home.

When I went back to speak with the senior pastor, he said I was replaceable and he could easily find someone to do my job. I went to my retail job feeling at the end of my rope. The pastor was like an older brother. I had learned from him that I was called to use my unique talents and my skills to minister to the body of Christ. Everyone was integral and necessary. Now, he had taken that all away with his words. My worst fear, not finding a place in this world where I belong, came true in my mind that day. Feeling there was no way for my internal pain and anguish to end, I overdosed on sleeping pills. I wanted to go to sleep and wake up in Jesus’ arms. To me, that was the only way for the pain to stop.

What’s Next?

As I sat in the behavioral health wing of a hospital, I struggled with guilt. The hospital staff did not help, one nurse told me God was disappointed in me. I was told I was bipolar, given meds and sent home. I couldn’t function and soon was back in a different hospital. This time, I learned some things that pointed me toward the Lord, but I still had turmoil and the old fear that I would go crazy. I began seeing a therapist, took my medication, quit working, and tried to be better. I just couldn’t figure out why I was still having problems.

During my third hospitalization, it became apparent that I was dissociating quite a bit. It seemed I would go someplace inside myself, inside my head. The staff had me begin to learn techniques to keep me in the present. Music, art therapy, and talking to me about what I was thinking. The therapist and doctors tried to figure it out. I carried the weight of shame and guilt like a wet blanket covering my life and any interactions I had.

In 2013 and 2014, there was upheaval in my work and church life. I was still struggling mentally and emotionally, and I shut down. I just could not understand why I couldn’t handle these changes while everyone else seemed able. Finally, something clicked with the doctors. The abuse I suffered and the constant turmoil in my young life was the cause. That abuse had left me with complex post-traumatic stress disorder. They changed my medicine, and I started attending therapy groups. I now am finally getting healing.

Lost Memory and New Hope

When I had my first breakdown, it was severe, and I had memory problems. Much of what I learned of the Bible and in college seemed elusive, people’s names, even subject matter I taught was now foreign. I quite often stumbled at putting together coherent sentences or coming up with ideas in meetings, which led me to more despair and self-imposed exile.

My new church has gone above and beyond in reaching out to me and praying with me. I am back to teaching, helping in children’s church, and leading Bible study groups. They have been very understanding and supportive of me, and a great blessing over the last two years. We are involved, loved and blessed at this church.

I have spent the last decade intentionally facing horrible trauma in my youth, tearing down faulty core beliefs, and rebuilding with the truth as a foundation. There is peace in knowing that I belong because of who God is and what Jesus did for me on the cross. I can manage the flashbacks, the thoughts that aren’t helpful, all the body sensations that come with the anxiety through skills I have learned in therapy.

Ordained Woman Pastor Restored

My kids are grown, two with their own kids and one in college. I’m a grandma and an empty nester. They are supportive of my ordained woman pastor dream. I am back to teaching children once a month, leading a ladies’ Bible study, and helping my sister start a nonprofit organization that assists orphanages and schools in East Africa.

After several years of intense therapy and hard work, I no longer want to hide from what I have gone through or to hide away from people in shame. So, I step out and make myself known and vulnerable. God is surrounding me with people who accept me and love me. I decided to get re-baptized as a statement that, instead of hiding in shame, my life is now hidden in Christ and I will choose to be transparent and teachable as I move forward.

It is time to get back to the work that tugs at my heart with women and children. When I came across the Christian Leaders Institute, I knew God had answered my prayer. He helped me find an affordable way to regain my Christian education and finish my bachelor’s degree. My ministry dream is to reach, teach and pastor hurting women and kids as an ordained woman pastor. I want to point them to Jesus and His healing Word for their lives. Then they will know His hope and gain skills to manage difficult pasts and realize a life worth living for Him. God is connecting me with leaders, and new friends. What Satan intended to harm me, God has used to gain glory for himself in my life.

Ordained Woman Pastor Dream

Becoming an ordained woman pastor with the Christian Leaders Alliance will give me credentials and confidence to step forward in ministry opportunities. It will give me access to places where some of the people I reach out to are currently, like a hospital, prison, or churches overseas.

Ministry to me isn’t so much a destination as it is a lifestyle. Hurting people find a place of peace at my home. My heart is open to people, especially women and children who hurt from abuse. I want to take time to listen to them, pray with and for them, and offer insight that can help them in their journey to find hope to live.

Christian Leaders College will make it possible to finish what I started when I became a single parent in 1992. I enrolled in college back then and got an Associate’s Degree in Human Services. I was not able to continue due to finances. Even with a daughter that we are helping with Nursing school and a husband for whom we paid for college, I can still reach my dream of becoming an ordained woman pastor and obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree.

Pray for confidence in sharing the gospel, open doors to teach and share what God has done for me.

Henry Reyenga
Author: Henry Reyenga

Henry Reyenga is president of Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance.