“I grew up in a situation where I was sexually abused by my dad [and there was] alcoholism, violence and dysfunction. My mom didn’t really know how to deal with it. So her way of dealing with it was just to not deal with it. She kind of just ignored it. I guess pretended like she didn’t believe what she knew was true.
“But, in 1976 I was in my second marriage, I was a Christian, loved God, went to church all the time. I was even involved in some different kinds of church work. You know, I actually did love God, I just didn’t know anything. So you really can’t make any progress if you don’t know anything.
“I had a lot of good, solid doctrine, but I didn’t really have any understanding about God’s power, or overcoming things. I just thought your best bet was to try to make it through and go to heaven.
“And in 1976 I was crying out to God, basically, “There’s got to be more than this. Something’s wrong. I’m doing everything I think I’m supposed to be doing. I’m still miserable all the time.’ Actually, as a result of that crying out to God in hunger, He filled me with the Holy Spirit.
“And very shortly after that, I would say within three weeks, God began to speak to me about teaching other people the Word.”
How do you know if you are called to ministry?
“I just think a lot of people, if they would just put their hand to what is in front of them and apply biblical principles where they live … then, if they are called to some kind of public ministry … [they] don’t have to go around kicking down doors. I mean, that becomes obvious. And, your gift makes room for you, and God makes that happen.
What do you think is the biggest remaining barrier to women in leadership?
“I think a lot of women just [can’t] even begin to comprehend how they could possibly do something like that, if they already have several children. You know, I tell people all the time: ‘Don’t tell me you can’t be used by God with kids, because I started a ministry with four. One of them was a baby.’
“So when you are gripped by God to do something, it’s very difficult to get away from it. And so, desire and passion always makes a way.”
Joyce Meyer is founder
of Joyce Meyer Ministries