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For years, I thought I had my place in the Body of Christ figured out. It wasn’t that I believed I was always going to be correct and that God couldn’t possibly call me into some other role; I simply believed I knew what I was good at and what was most comfortable. So I prayed repeatedly. “Please, let me be the appendix of the Body.” I must have said it a thousand times or more.

First Corinthians 12:12–18 explains that each believer is a part of the unified Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body”; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, “Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body”; is it therefore not of the body?

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

My concept of the appendix, based only upon hearsay layman’s understanding, was that it isn’t a crucial body part. I had never researched it, but always believed that we don’t really know what it does; it’s just kind of there—and sometimes it explodes for some reason, which requires surgery to get it taken out. With such a limited perception of this organ’s function, I grasped onto that naïve idea and made it a part of my prayer life. I had it all figured out…

I was called—or so I imagined—to sit in the back of a building somewhere and be silent for a living. Nobody needed to know I was ever there except my boss. I would find a career that allowed me to silently pass through a coffee breakroom, grab a cup of fuel, head to a corner chair in a vacant room, and “nerd-out” for eight hours a day. I wanted to use my life in a way that served the Lord, but I also knew there were many parts of the Body, and I had no shame in the notion that I would serve as a quiet one. Paul had made it clear that all parts made up the whole, and I was perfectly secure dreaming about a part that contributed without having to be seen or thought about. Nobody in my circle of friends and family really knew what the appendix did, which made the role even more appealing to me, because it suggested an “out of sight, out of mind” anonymity. Even evolutionists for eons referred to the appendix as a “vestigial organ” (being rendered without function over the course of evolution; literally, an already or soon-to-be useless organ). Plus, if I ever failed in my work, I (or my labors) could be surgically removed so the rest of the Body could move on without me. It was a “win” from every angle.

Mind you, this desire for being unseen or unheard was not by any means a lack of confidence in myself or a disdain for the company of other people. But I was a minister’s daughter, and I had seen years of religious abuse during the Satanic Panic era of the 1980s and early ’90s. Almost everyone in the Pentecostal denomination in those days linked every problem (national, local, individual, and so on) to a big underground satanic cult conspiracy, so even when there was no merit for it, the Church was gripped in terror, and I was frequently affected by that paranoia.

Let me make it perfectly clear that the religious abuse I witnessed and experienced never came from my mom, dad, brother, or sister. On the contrary, we were as close as any family could be, so, when the religious abuse occurred, we fought against it as a unit. However, the memory of all those years of trying to appease the unrealistic expectations of others had taken its toll. Scores of “Christians” throughout my life have found it their religious duty to tell me all the ways I’d let them down. More often than not, it was something ridiculous, and just as frequently it was a blatant contradiction of what the last person said. “You’re a lady, so you should wear makeup in church to show God your best,” followed by, “That makeup is worldly. If you absolutely must wear it, don’t wear it in church.” Or: “You’re the pastor’s daughter, so you of all people should be up at the altar right now praying for these people,” followed by, “Would you mind stepping back, please? You can visit the altar any time, but these people need some space with God.”

A woman in our church named Nancy once told me I needed to go home and burn all my Mickey Mouse clothes. I was on a kick at the time. I wore a lot of Mickey clothing because my body was shaped maturely for my age and I couldn’t find modest girl clothes very often. I was scolded if I dressed “like a boy,” so I went through a leggings-and-oversized-Mickey-sweater phase. I was under the impression that Disney’s Mickey Mouse would represent innocence and be seen as a good compromise, but no, Nancy said. Disney was evil, because some of their animated features “had subliminal messages hidden in them.” If I wore clothing made by the same company, I was “endorsing the wicked and perverse brainwashing of young children” and becoming a “willing participant of their evil.” Even Mickey Mouse was a disappointment to the church elders. A “green” believer might have gotten by with it, but I was a minister’s child, and I had to know better if my soul were to be spared from the enemy’s grip.

I never burned my Mickey clothes because my dad (whose hard-earned money paid for them to begin with) thought it was absurd, but there were other instances of this same expectation. Like that one morning with Rick…a “prayer warrior” who had attended our church with a guest speaker.

I had gone to the altar for prayer that day. My reason for being there? I wanted to be closer to the Lord. I wanted to grow in Him. I did not say that I felt there was any kind of sin in my life keeping me from doing so (as I had gone joyfully), but I guess Rick, who met me there for prayer, made that assumption. He asked me why I had come forward, and when I told him, he started walking around me in a circle, eyeing me up and down. Eventually he stopped off to one side and said, “Ah… This here’s your problem.” I felt a tug on my Tinker Bell earring. “That’s a pagan symbol. Did you know that?”

“Uhh… No,” I said suddenly wishing that I had stayed quiet in my seat. (Usually at a moment like this I would have scanned the room for my dad, but he wasn’t there that day.)

“Yes, yes it most certainly is. You’re wearing a mystical, pagan entity in your ears. That’s most definitely an open door for Satan.”

When he came back to stand in front of me, he started darting his gaze about the air all around me dramatically as if he were watching a fireworks show behind my head. It was as fake an acting job as I’ve ever seen. Each time Rick’s eyes popped to another location, he flickered his eyebrows in mock surprise. I hadn’t the slightest clue what was going on, but I knew he was pretending to see something in the supernatural, so I just stood there, waiting for an explanation. When it came, I can’t say I was surprised.

“Girl, you have demons all over you!” Rick shouted, and as usual, everyone in the building turned to look at me.

When I didn’t immediately recoil in horror and fall to my knees in repentance for wearing those earrings, Rick’s expression turned to one of mild embarrassment, as if he knew I wasn’t buying it—and now he had an audience. So he then took it up a notch. Before I knew it, he was batting his hands in a slapping motion all around my head, furiously (as if you battle demons with a physical slap…). This went on for what felt like an eternity, and all the while, the onlookers were dazzled by Rick’s authoritative stance in raging warfare. Eventually (thank goodness), he finally stopped and came back to a peaceful countenance, as if I had just been delivered. (As a quick aside: If the earrings had been “the problem” [that “problem” I never said I had], the fact that I was still wearing them at this point likely means that I would still have the oppression upon me. But I digress…)

He then prayed for me with a grand and thunderous tone, and when he was done, he moved on to the next person at the altar.

Years later, we discovered that Rick was a total fraud after a few major lies were exposed concerning the way he handled administrative reports related to his ministry (although it wasn’t rocket science that his religion was also fraudulent, based on his spiritual warfare battling tactics).


Of course, there were other times when my clothing or accessories drew scrutinizing glances, but that was the tip of the iceberg. One guy in one of the churches my dad pastored was all smiles to everyone in the building, but I could do nothing right. (I’ll never forget that man. He looked like Abraham Lincoln, and even dressed like him in the pictures [minus the top hat]). His name was Luke, and he constantly turned a blind eye to deeds by other children in the church that he would glare at me for. Like the tricycle incident.

We ran a school out of our church building and kept toys and equipment in the sanctuary store room. One day, the room was left unlocked after a worship service. I was by no means the first kid to run to play with the “off limits” school equipment. In fact, other children had been playing with all of the fun stuff for a good twenty minutes while the adults visited. I finally decided that because all the other moms and dads were allowing it, I was going to play also. I got on a tricycle I spotted, and started zooming around the recess area. Immediately, Luke sauntered over and started shouting at me—like Rick, drawing the attention of the surrounding crowd—that it didn’t matter what anyone else did, but that as the minister’s daughter, I should set the example and respect the property of the school lest I open a door for the enemy to enter my life.

This was one of those rare occasions when he got onto me within earshot of my mother, who politely explained to him that I wasn’t misusing the equipment. He stood there and argued with her for several minutes about all the wrong I was doing and the bad example I was setting, but I became bored and returned to the fun. I found out later that Mom took quite a tongue-lashing that day. When she didn’t agree with Luke and refused to scold me, she became the central target for the “bad influence” lecture. But by this time, both my mother and I were used to being “called out for bad behavior” and “usurping authority,” so it didn’t leave a scar on either one of us. It was merely just another day in the life of the minister’s family. It happened all the time. And it certainly was not the last time we had a run-in with Luke, either. However, it didn’t take anything specific to earn his expression of dissatisfaction. In fact, I don’t remember ever locking eyes with that man—not once in my childhood—when he wasn’t at the very least giving me that “I’m watching you” stare.

I grew accustomed to being “the unruly child” who was guilty of “inviting the enemy into my life” whenever I was at church. It was almost constant (and I am so grateful for my mom and dad, who always kept me on solid ground theologically). I was either enduring a lecture about life’s most menial concerns and how they affected my eternal standing with God, or I was enduring the stare-down. Then there was that third reaction I obtained frequently, which materialized in that “what a pity, she’s already a lost cause” head shake or eye roll. Ironically, outside the church, I had grown accustomed to hearing people tell my mother how well-behaved I was, how respectfully I spoke to elders, how sweet my nature was, how I followed rules so obediently…and it became apparent that I was only a failure to fellow believers. (As an interesting side note, if our modern Church were to perfectly adhere to the rules of male ministers listed in 1 Timothy 3:2–12 as “absolutes,” my “rebellious” behaviors in these situations—and the “harm” that would have caused to my father’s reputation—could have resulted in stripping my father’s ministerial credentials from him.)

In my teen years, the abuse reached a whole new and debilitating level. This time, it did leave scars. The incidents I witnessed in churches were outright crippling to my early spiritual development, and it is nothing less than a miracle that I have overcome that damage. Some of what I saw and experienced are so heretical and offensive (and all of which ironically occurred when my father—a man of great discernment—was either not in the building or after he had resigned) that it would take two chapters to scratch the surface, yet the purpose of this book is not to discuss my story. Maybe someday that book will be written, but suffice it to say that, for me, the church was the last place I would ever look to find love and acceptance for a solid fifteen years of my adulthood. (“Negative learning” is sometimes as important as “positive learning,” and I’m glad for the incidents I observed, because they have made me much more cautious as I go forward in what God has called me to do.) Some Christians (many of whom are leaders) cannot be pleased…and many specifically seek to take advantage of others and/or harm them for selfish gain.

I could list another thousand examples, but the point is, that garbage happened all the time. I was always coming up short somehow, and as long as I was placed at the center of attention because I was the pastor’s kid, I was going to have to deal with what that attention delivered.

Life had taught me where the sharks gathered.

By the time I was mature enough to start questioning which “Body part” I was, I simply did not want to be in front of people or have any ministry of mine under constant scrutiny.

A back room.

Steaming mug-o-joe.

Silence. Solitude. Independence.

Let me be the appendix, Lord!

So when the winds of change stirred me and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me I was not—as I had hoped—going to get by with existing “out of sight, out of mind,” the discomfort that fell upon me was great. I didn’t feel right continuing to beg the Lord for another path if I was also telling Him I would be obedient in the path He chose, so I conceded and enlisted myself in one of the country’s most highly respected and accredited Bible schools. (It was around this time that the night-imaginings mentioned in the introduction to this book, those moments of “preaching in my head,” began.) For years by this time, I had been a professional “appendix,” drawing a paycheck for my research and writing in the back of a building where I never had to face anyone outside of a casual hello in passing for a java refill. But if the Lord wanted me to get my minister’s license, I knew He would also give me the strength to be used in that arena, so with nervousness and fear, I poured myself into new schooling.

From the start, I was encouraged to see that the courses I enrolled in were addressing some of the same scriptural misinterpretations that I had already spent several years writing about. In fact, I soared through a three-year program in under one year, not because I was in a hurry, but because, ironically, I had already spent two decades writing about these topics. It was refreshing how familiar the materials were to me, and I soaked up information I didn’t know as well faster than a dry sponge submerged in water. Over and over, the course materials would refer to a popular misconception from the Bible, and then paint the backdrop from which the Scripture had originally been written (including such details as the author, audience, locality, culture, history, literary genre, etc.) in order to explain the Scripture’s true meaning. (Honestly, if all preachers today were required to keep refreshing their study skills in this way, the Christian Church as a whole would not resemble the lackluster social club of handshakes and cookies that it has become. My book, Radicals, visits this topic at length. Exegesis—the art of pulling the context out of the text—is simply not being taught or exercised to the degree it should be. If it were, many more Christians would be radical about the true Gospel of Christ.)

Thoroughly encouraged and thriving in these new exegetically rich studies, I found myself saying out loud one day, “I love this stuff. I always have.”

Like lightning, a still, small voice responded.

I know you do. I know you have. I know you always will. It’s how I created you. After all, you’re the appendix.

Wait a minute…


Say what?!



That still, small voice we so dearly treasure was telling me I was the appendix? That vestigial and nearly useless body part that even science had written off as a hopeless “leftover” of human evolution? I mean, I don’t believe in evolution anyway, but the concept that I would be consecrated within the Body of Christ as an organ our human assessment decrees nonvital…

No, I wasn’t offended. I was excited! Could it be that God was letting me off the hook after all?

With butterflies in my stomach, I flew to my computer with my typical nerd-research knuckle crack. Nervously, I pulled up a search engine online and typed in “purpose of the appendix to the body.” Here I was, having spent years praying about something I didn’t even understand—which usually goes against my nature because I’m always self-educating before I pretend to know about a subject—and I hadn’t even learned the purpose of the body part I had prayed to become. I felt incredibly silly in that moment, reading hundreds of articles with headlines similar to the following: “Appendix More Important than We Thought, Scientists Say”; “The Appendix: It’s Crucial Purpose”; “Your Appendix May Serve an Important Biological Function After All”; “New Research Shows the Human Appendix Essential for Optimum Body Health”; and so on.

At least I wasn’t alone in assuming its uselessness, as even scientists were only just learning the purpose of this organ. However, I still couldn’t shake the fact that I had been praying so very ignorantly for so very long, and it made me feel sheepish. The appendix may not be so vital that the human body can’t live without it, but the body can also survive without fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, ears, eyes, spleen, and teeth, as well as partial removal of the colon or liver, or living with only one kidney, and so on—and that’s not even an exhaustive list. But the “optimum body health” requires all these things together to run smoothly, or else the ideal functionality is stunted.

As it turns out:

The function of the appendix appears to be to expose white blood cells to the wide variety of antigens, or foreign substances, present in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, the appendix probably helps to suppress potentially destructive humoral (blood- and lymph-borne) antibody responses while promoting local immunity. The appendix…takes up antigens from the contents of the intestines and reacts to these contents. This local immune system plays a vital role [note this reference to the “vital role”] in the physiological immune response and in the control of food, drug, microbial or viral antigens.[i]

Put more simply, it’s a storage container for good bacteria, exposing white blood cells to foreign substances, so if a person comes down with a digestive illness or infection, good bacteria is repopulated by the appendix to fight off the illness and bring the individual back to superior health. Additionally, if a person has been placed on a steady flow of antibiotics (which will kill both good and bad bacteria), the appendix once again recolonizes the good bacteria, which reboots the digestive system after a hard reset.

The organ is, as the article above stated, “vital” to system immunity!

Without this organ, a person is four times more likely to develop “Clostridium difficile colitis—a bacterial infection that causes diarrhoea, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain.”[ii] Another article by Global Healing Center Online describes:

For the past few decades, conventional medicine believed the appendix was an unimportant organ and served very little function. Emerging evidence is painting a strikingly different picture, revealing the startling physiological role the appendix plays in health. It turns out that the appendix may play a vital function [there’s that word “vital” again] in the development of the immune system.… Based on current evidence…the appendix serves as a “reservoir” for beneficial gut flora. It’s also been shown that individuals without an appendix may be four times more likely to suffer from recurrent Clostridium difficile colitis, an irritation of the large intestine by spore-forming bacteria. This condition is often present when the body is running low on gut flora, potentially explaining the connection between the appendix and its role in maintaining probiotic levels. While the research is still a little bare, the conclusion is clear—the appendix is important for health.[iii]

For as many times as I had heard that the appendix could be removed with a quick surgery, after which the body would function perfectly fine without it, I learned that a rupture of the organ is commonly related to major health concerns, including up to three or four hundred deaths per year in America alone.[iv]

By the time I had read several recent reports proving the value of the appendix to the human body, there was no need to analyze how that related to my “appendix role” in Christ’s Body.

The Body of Christ is fed through the spiritual food of the Word. Without proper digestion of the Word (which requires proper exegetical interpretations of Scripture), illness and infection can occur, which affects the rest of the Body’s optimum functionality. The fastest cure for this is exposure to the Bible’s “white blood cells” and “gut flora immunity boosters” (correctly interpreted Scripture) to the “foreign substances” (incorrectly interpreted Scripture), alongside the radical repopulation/recolonization of fundamental truths that the Gospel message offers.

And it was this very brand of filtering that I had been writing about for decades: true context of Scripture versus the spread of “misconception bacteria.”

I was the appendix after all…and I always had been.

(By no means is this shared to illustrate that my role in the Body of Christ is more important than any other. It’s just the part I was assigned, and the part I had prayed for well before I knew what function it carried out. If I had left the fold for any reason, God is all-powerful, and could easily replace me with a new appendix. Our spiritual Body is not limited to complete removal or prosthetic replacements like our corporeal bodies. However, although the Body might continue to live without this organ, the chances of infection or illness [improper digestion of the Word] is greatly increased. If anything, the readers of this book should be encouraged that if the appendix—that seemingly useless and “vestigial” body part disregarded by evolutionists throughout history—has an important purpose within the body, then so do you in the Body of Christ! All parts make up the whole, and yours may be far more important than you know…)

I realized at this point that, just because I was the appendix, I couldn’t expect to stay comfortably silent. I just knew that I knew that I knew: God was going to ask me to speak up, and when He did, I would have to make a choice to either obey and assist in our spiritual immunity system or rupture and cause damage to the Body until God found my replacement. Rupturing and being replaced sounded like a far better plan each second I listened to my fleshly desires…but I had, in fact, asked for this, and I had already promised God that I would be obedient when my calling was revealed. God gave me precisely what I asked for. Additionally, I don’t hear many other voices out there begging to be the appendix. Contrarily, I see many preachers and teachers of the Word perpetuating stereotypical scriptural interpretations that don’t have anything to do with original context, so someone needs to be obedient to this role, regardless of how uncomfortable it might be.

As such, my own discomfort could not be allowed outweigh what God had told me to do. I could not hand God my official refusal because I was afraid.

And that’s a serious issue for all of us, isn’t it? Fear and discomfort. God wouldn’t call us to fulfill a role that causes us to stretch so far outside our own fleshly desires and comfort bubbles, would He?

Read the Bible from cover to cover. You will find that all those who were truly in the service of God went where they were supposed to go and did what they were supposed to do regardless of how they felt.

Look at the book of Jonah: God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach a message of repentance. Jonah doesn’t like the Ninevites, and he doesn’t think they deserve redemption, so he doesn’t feel like doing what God has told him to do. He gets on a boat headed to Tarshish instead. God brings a huge storm to the sea where the ship is sailing, and the waves are crashing all around. When lots are cast, Jonah owns up to the crew that it is he who has run from his God and angered Him, and their only chance for survival is to throw him overboard. The crew reluctantly agrees, and as soon as Jonah’s off the ship and submerged in the waters below, the storm stops. Jonah is swallowed by a great fish and spends three days in its belly. When he’s vomited back up by the fish days later, God does not say, “Well, okay, you’ve paid well enough for your disobedience, and I understand that what I asked you to do was terrifying or uncomfortable. Go home and scrape the digestive acids off your clothes, put your feet up, and drink a restorative cup of fig juice.”

Not a chance. God picks right back up where he left off. He says, “Go to Nineveh.”

Straight back to square one: God’s directive.

When my family and I were studying the book of Jonah together, I used the following example with my son, who was six years old at the time. “Joey, it’s like this,” I said. “If I tell you to go clean your room, and then you go off in another direction and piddle around because you don’t feel like obeying me, I might make you stand your nose in the corner for not doing what I said to do. But then, once you’ve stood in the corner, I’m not going to say, ‘Well, your punishment is over and you paid your price for disobedience, and I can understand that I made you feel uncomfortable by asking you to clean your room, so I guess you can go play.’ No, I’m going to say, ‘Now that you’ve stood in the corner and you’ve been punished, go to your room and clean it up!’” I went on to explain: “After we’re done suffering for not doing what God told us to do in the first place, God is going to say, ‘Okay Jonah, get up, go where I told you to go and do what I told you to do.’”

The message doesn’t change, and it’s simple enough that a six-year-old can understand it. The directive of God upon one’s life doesn’t change when that person is afraid. The commands given to followers of the Word don’t change when we disobey them because of our feelings.

No matter how many times you begin a sentence with “But God, I feel…” it’s always going to come back to the same command: “Get up. Go where I’ve told you to go. Do what I’ve told you to do.”

Following the Lord is a choice we have the free will to make, one way or another. But once we’ve committed to follow Him, we don’t get to choose how we will obey. I knew that very well, but I was still struggling internally with the repetitive “but I’m scared” response. It was debilitating to think that I was going to have to face the one thing I feared the most.

So, this time, when I prayed, I changed my tune and asked for the Lord to give me peace about my fear. That same night, I suddenly got the urge to look up that Joyce Meyer woman that I had heard of my whole life but never got around to listening to. I found out immediately that the urge had been sent from the Holy Spirit. Sermon after sermon, she continued to talk about people in my position: people who felt called but were afraid to respond to the calling. Her response was redundant in all the necessary ways. “I know you’re afraid,” she would say, “but do it afraid. You don’t have to make the fear go away completely before you follow God’s orders. If you’re uncomfortable, do it uncomfortable. If you’re afraid, do it afraid. But do what the Lord is telling you to do.”

I agreed with her summary.

And I am still in my season of do-it-afraid-ing. Will I ever reach a day when I’m no longer fearful or uncomfortable? Maybe, maybe not. But if the Body needs an appendix, I’m committed to being the best immunity-and-white-blood-cell-booster I can be until I’ve been given the green light to step down.

UP NEXT: You, Yes You, Are Called to Be a Minister; We All Are

[i] “What Is the Function of the Human Appendix?…” Scientific American, last accessed July 10, 2017,

[ii] BEC Crew, “Your Appendix Might Serve an Important Biological Function After All,” January 10, 2017, Science Alert, last accessed July 10, 2017,

[iii] Dr. Edward Group, “What Does the Appendix Do?” December 26, 2014, Global Healing Center, last accessed July 10, 2017,; emphasis added.

[iv] Ibid.

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